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NZ Stayer Zurella To Prepare For Caulfield Cup In Melb
The Gr1 Caulfield Cup "has been confirmed as the prime Spring target" for Gr2-winning & Gr1-placed leading New Zealand 3YO filly Zurella (Zabeel-Doneze Girl, by Volksraad) & "she will race exclusively in Melbourne in her lead-up to the $2.65 million feature scheduled for October 20" reported theinformant.co.nz. Connections "have been forced to forego a NZ domestic programme in a bid to earn a start for Zurella in the world's richest 2400m handicap" & trainer Shaune Ritchie noted: "We're hoping to sneak into the Caulfield Cup with the right weight, but Keep The Peace who won the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks & at Hastings (Gr1 Mudgway Partsworld Stakes) only got the minimum weight. Zurella clearly runs out the 2400m & being a Zabeel mare she has been a bit fragile mentally, but there is a lot of improvement in her physically. I've spoken to the VRC handicapper & he's told me which races she could get a rehandicap for, so her preparation doesn't include a public performance in New Zealand & she'll almost certainly go straight to Melbourne. A race like the Gr2 Let's Elope Stakes in the 1st week of September at Flemington is where she's likely to kick off." Zurella currently boasts 4 wins (including February's Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic over 2000m at Te Rapa & 2011's Gr3 Eulogy Stakes over 1600m at Awapuni) & 2 runners-up (including March's Gr1 New Zealand Oaks over 2400m at Trentham) from 8 starts for NZ$192,375 earnings.