Cup aim for Miss Alice

Her spring target brilliantly achieved, Miss Alice has a summer target looming large.

The John and Karen Parsons-trained five-year-old Pins mare claimed the most important win of her career when she ran out a narrow victor of last month’s Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton.

Freshened since finishing second to Gr.3 Stewards Handicap winner El Chico on the final day of the New Zealand Cup carnival, Miss Alice resumes at Ashburton on Friday in the RD Petroleum Open (1400m), a race the Parsons hope will help condition her for her Christmas racing target, the Listed Timaru Cup (1600m) on December 28.

“She had a bit of a let up after Riccarton, but we’re quite happy with her,” John Parsons said.

“We set her for the Breeders’ Stakes, but things didn’t go quite to plan before that. We took her to Dunedin and the race didn’t pan out for her. She didn’t cop the track, but we knew she was pretty close to the mark for Riccarton.”

Miss Alice defeated last year’s Timaru Cup winner Emerald Queen in the Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes and her strong spring form has the Parsons convinced she can improve on her record past 1500m, which has seen her yet to place in four starts at 1600m or further.

“She had a really good winter break and there’s no doubt she’s come back a stronger mare,” Parsons said.

“We gave her a start at 1600m a couple of times last year and she was just found wanting. At that point 1400m was more her go. But she’s considerably stronger this year and we’re going to have another crack at the mile in the Timaru Cup, so this race at Ashburton should be a good lead-in go for that.

“She’s not ideally suited for this one with her place in the ratings and the weights but she always seems to race better on the backup so it fits nicely with her plans.”

Regular rider Chris Johnson retains the Miss Alice ride on Friday.

The Parsons will assess Miss Alice’s Timaru Cup run before deciding on her programme for the rest of summer.

“The Timaru Cup is really the only option for her before the White Robe Lodge Handicap down here for her,” Parsons said.

“If her form justifies it, we could look at a late entry for the Thorndon Mile on the last day at Trentham or perhaps a race like the Anniversary Handicap on the first day. Timaru will give us a guide.”

The Parsons have seven runners engaged for the Ashburton meeting, with maiden fillies Alyth and Tickets On Her suggested as the couple’s best chances. – NZ Racing Desk

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