A plan to chase black type with Sasso Corbaro is now coming together nicely for the former Australian mare.
The daughter of All Too Hard was originally set to contest the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie last month for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, but the mission was abandoned because of a setback.
However, her owners, China Horse Club Racing, decided to press ahead with a bid to boost her value with black type in New Zealand and sent her to Matamata trainer Jamie Richards, who produced her for an impressive successful New Zealand debut at Otaki last Saturday.
"She came over two or three weeks ago with the idea of chasing black type and on Saturday's run she showed she should be up to it,'' Richards said.
''We're still getting to know her. She's a big mare but she's certainly got a lot of ability."
Richards plans to start Sasso Corbaro next in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on March 16.
Sasso Corbaro won four races and was three times placed in 12 starts for Lees with her most recent Australian win being over 1200m at Caloundra on Boxing Day. She had been taken to Queensland in pursuit of the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m), in which she finished among the tailenders on January 12.
Her earlier performances included a decisive win at Randwick and two unsuccessful attempts at black type in New South Wales.
''She's the first horse we've had in the stable for China Horse Club and it's a great start with them,'' Richards said.
''It was a really good win, to miss the kick like she did and come right down the outside and beat them hands down. We're not often sent horses like her to try and gain some black type."
Sasso Corbaro was one of three winners for Richards and led into the fifth Group One win for stable star Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki, while at Matamata the stable provided the quinella in the Gr.3 Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) with Yourdeel and Aotea Lad.
Richards reports that Melody Belle, who could be in line for a wildcard berth in the A$5 million All Star Mile, has come through her massive effort at Otaki in good order.
"We're working on a couple of options for her,'' he said. ''More than likely she will go out for a spell, but we'll finalise everything in the next few days.''
Yourdeel and Aotea Lad will press on for the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 9 and Richards hasn't discounted stablemate Equinox, a debut winner at Trentham, also starting in the feature, despite finishing fifth of six in the Waikato Stud Slipper.
"Equinox is a lot better on good ground and he was tripped up by the ground on Saturday,'' Richards said.
''We'll work him up and see how he goes. He'll need to work really well to press on for the Sistema, but he's still in contention at this stage.''- NZ Racing Desk