Classy filly Gypsy Goddess faces her biggest test to date when she contests Saturday’s Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, where the track is currently rated a Heavy 8.
Trainer David Vandyke is confident the daughter of Tarzino will run well but has cautioned that the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 9 at Randwick has long been the principal target for the staying filly.
William Pike will ride the unbeaten Gypsy Goddess, who extended her record to five wins when resuming from a short break over 1600m at Eagle Farm on March 12 with a thumping three-and-a-half length victory when eased down.
The winner of the Gr.3 Grand Prix Stakes (2100m) at Eagle Farm in mid-December, Gypsy Goddess has been installed a $4 favourite for Saturday’s contest.
“Everything has been geared up towards the Oaks and the Vinery is in a great position as a lead-up and I am sure she will run well, but the Oaks is our grand final and that is what everything has been aimed towards,” Vandyke told Bensley.
Vandyke is keen for the filly to maintain her pattern of getting back in the field and switching off early.
“She has got a brilliant turn of foot and she can really bring herself into her races from about the 600m on.
“If she gets back and has to give them a bit of a start, I don’t think there is too much of a problem with that providing she has got clear running up the straight.”
Gypsy Goddess has previously won on a Soft6 track, but is unknown on heavier ground, with Sydney’s wet autumn likely to continue this week.
“She performed well on a slow track and she is not a big, heavy horse. She is quite fine and she is looking for the 2400m of the Oaks, so if it is a hard 2000m on Saturday, I don’t think it will worry her too much if she can get through the ground okay,” Vandyke said.
The Sunshine Coast trainer said he didn’t originally have a high opinion of the filly and was surprised by how much she improved throughout her first campaign and said she is still quite immature physically.
“She doesn’t eat up straight away after her races and it normally takes her a few days to recover but she is in a good place now and providing she travels down well, she should be good for Saturday,” he said.
“The way she came back the other day at Eagle Farm, I was just hoping she would pick up and find the line. I thought if she runs top three and she is finishing off, we’ll book her a trip to Sydney.
“I wasn’t expecting to see what we saw and if it was 1800m the other day, she would have won by further. It was pretty impressive when you think it was Eagle Farm over a mile and she had only had a soft trial going in.”
Raised at Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore, Gypsy Goddess failed to meet her $20,000 reserve when offered as Lot 1145 in the Book 2 session of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale.
Co-bred by highly-regarded veterinarian Chris Lawler, who also purchased and raced her sire Tarzino, Gypsy Goddess is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Invisible Coin.
Lawler remains in the ownership of Gypsy Goddess, racing her with a syndicate that includes Bob Jones, one of Vandyke’s biggest stable clients.
Vandyke was very active at the recently completed Karaka Sales, purchasing 11 yearlings with the help of bloodstock agent Michael Hughes.
Amongst his purchases were three yearlings by Gypsy Goddess’ sire Tarzino, a promising young Westbury Stud stallion.
Vandyke also went to $115,000 to secure the Belardo half-brother to Gypsy Goddess from the draft of Haunui Farm. – NZ Racing Desk