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Oaks an appetizer for NZ staying filly

The 2000m of Saturday’s Australasian Oaks might be a mere appetizer for New Zealand staying prospect Llanacord.

The Group 1 event at Morphettville is likely to be the first of two Adelaide starts for trainer Stephen Nickalls’ three-year-old, who finished an outstanding third in the Group 1 NZ Oaks over 2400m last month.

“She’s nominated for the SA Derby and also the Fillies Classic the week after that,” Nickalls said in Adelaide this week.

“I believe she’s a proper mile-and-a-half horse, so it’ll be either one of those, depending on how she goes on Saturday.

“If she knocked the Oaks off we’d probably have a go at the Derby, but the Fillies Classic looks like a nice race for her too.”

Llanacord has won two of her 10 career starts, including a Group 2 race over 2100, and finished fourth over 1600m last start. However, it was her effort in the NZ Oaks – when she had to switch over heels inside the final 400m, losing momentum before charging home to finish just 1.4 lengths behind the winner, Amarelinha – that stamped her as a live Australasian Oaks prospect.

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While in SA, the horse has been staying with local trainer Ryan Balfour and has pleased Nickalls.

“She’s settled in well – Ryan and the team have been brilliant,” Nickalls said.

“She had a nice gallop (Tuesday) morning. Todd Pannell rode her for us and he was happy enough.

“She’d bounced out of her last run good. She a fit and healthy horse, ready to go on Saturday.”

Nickalls, who trains at Rangiotu, on the country’s north island, has a special connection with Llanacord.

The horse’s former trainer, Glynn Brick, was tragically killed in a car accident. Nickalls’ stepfather Kevin was a part-owner in the horse and offered him to the trainer following the tragedy.

“Glynn had trained Kevin’s horses for 10 years and the intention was always that he would train this filly,” Nickalls told racingnews.co.nz

“What that happened my stepfather called and asked if I could take her and we were only too happy to.”

Llanacord has what Nickalls tongue-in-cheek described as “the visitor’s draw” of barrier 16 in Saturday’s event and is currently marked a $21 chance in early TAB markets. She will be ridden by Brett Prebble.

 

IMAGE: Llanacord charges to victory in New Zealand. PHOTO: racingnews.co.nz

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