Our Alley Cat will be out to keep her stakes-winning momentum going when she heads to Pukekohe on Saturday for the Gr.2 Dunstan Horsefeeds Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m).
The daughter of Atlante was an impressive last start victor in the Gr.3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings last month and has continued to please trainer Vicki Prendergast in her work.
Our Alley Cat hasn’t raced or trialled since her Hastings assignment, which poses the only concern for Prendergast, but she believes her mare remains up to the mark.
“She has had six weeks between races, which is a tad long, but we missed out on a trial the other week because the ground dried out a bit too much,” Prendergast said.
“It is always a fitness question when she has sat around for six weeks, but I think we have done enough work with her and I am pretty confident she will be on task.”
While the six-week gap was longer than intended, Prendergast said she has tried to space the mare’s races as she ages.
“She is getting older, and she isn’t the soundest animal in the world, so we do space her out a bit now and take the pressure off a little bit and give her time to recover,” she said.
“But she is really well, I couldn’t ask for her to be any better. I am really happy with her.”
Our Alley Cat will jump from barrier eight in the 12-horse field with Michael McNab aboard.
“It is better out there than on the rail,” she said. “She is so fast out of the barriers she shouldn’t have any problems coming across and getting a nice position. If you are drawn too far inside, she always risks getting caught on the rail and having nowhere to go. She was drawn further out last time so I am happy with that.”
Further stakes assignments await the Group One performer over summer, and while she holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) on New Year’s Day, Prendergast said she will likely bypass the sprint feature in favour of following a similar path to what she did this year.
“I put the nom in to see how the field came up (for the Railway). I think 1200m will be a bit sharp for her now, 1400m is her sweet spot and there are a couple of good sprinters in there,” Prendergast said.
“We will probably carry on through the summer and go to the Westbury (Gr.2, 1400m) and maybe even the Te Aroha Breeders (Gr.1, 1600m) like we did last year over a mile.
“If we can get a couple more black-type wins or placings with her to really strengthen her broodmare pedigree we will be really happy.”
Our Alley Cat has been installed a $4.20 favourite for the Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes, with Wolverine (NZ) (Tivaci) and Flamebird (NZ) (Shooting To Win) the next fancied runners at $5.50.
Prendergast will also be represented by Amberite (NZ) (Proisir) in the HR Fisken & Sons 1600.
“Amberite is a very progressive horse. He is just so big and immature at the moment,” Prendergast said. “He has taken a long time but we have always thought highly of him. I think he should go a good race.”