Oaks winner to resume

NZ HARNESS NEWS 

He’s resigned himself to the fact that he probably can’t win unless something remarkable happens, but that’s not stopping Andrew Stuart from getting a little excited about having one of his star prospects back on the track this week at Addington.

Last season’s Queensland Oaks winner, Sociable, will make her first appearance since July of last year and her first appearance on New Zealand soil for more than a year when she tackles a strong intermediate grade event at Friday night’s premier meeting.

But coming back as a rating 80 winner of five of her 11 career starts, she’s been lumped with the outside of the front-line draw in the race and Stuart said that pretty much puts an end to her chances of success in a fresh state.

“You look at that field and from that draw and it looks pretty tough for her,” he said.

“Which is a shame, because she’s come back super – she’s stronger and bigger, just about as big as me,” he laughed.

The now four-year-old mare did show at last week’s Rangiora trials that she hasn’t lost any of her ability during her time away from the track with a dashing victory to beat smart types Mongolian Cavalry, Chiller Bay and Born To Run.

“I thought she was pretty smart that day and it indicated she was right back to where we know she can be, that’s for sure.”

With such a high rating, placing the daughter of Buy Kiwi Made is going to prove a difficult task for her North Canterbury trainer and while the optimum goal for the season would be to qualify for the Harness Jewels at Addington, even that might be asking too much.

“There’s this race for her this week and then another next week and we’ll have to take it from there.

“She’s got no money in the bank for the Jewels and with that rating it’s going to be pretty hard to earn enough to get in.

“I have been told I should take her to Auckland, but she’s done a lot of travelling in her life and I’m kind of thinking that I shouldn’t really have to ask her to leave Canterbury and go to Auckland to qualify for a Jewels meeting that is here anyway.”

The current cut off for the top 12 in the Four-Year-Old Diamond is around the $20,000 mark meaning that even with success over the next two weeks, she would still be struggling to earn her way in.

“We’ll just see what happens, who knows she might really surprise us, but it’s going to be hard.”

Friday night’s assignment sees her taking on some smart types in the unbeaten Delightful Major, northern raider Mr Yips, Nandolo, Smokin By and Cullenburn.

Sam Ottley has been booked to take the drive.

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