McKee keeps watch on Melbourne form

Australia was never on the radar of the top-class filly O’Marilyn, but that hasn’t stopped trainer Stephen McKee wondering what might have been.

“We didn’t think of it and maybe I should have,” the Ardmore trainer said.

O’Marilyn is a dominant $3.50 pre-post favourite for next month’s Gr.1 NZB 1000 Guineas at Riccarton and McKee doesn’t believe she would have been out of place in the corresponding event at the Melbourne spring carnival.

“It didn’t look a strong field – you never know that when you first get them back into work, but it looked a winnable race for her,” he said.

Last season’s Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes winner O’Marilyn has returned in outstanding order, as showed by her dominant first-up victory in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes when she overcame an interrupted run.

The daughter of O’Reilly further impressed when she coasted to an easy win in an open sprint heat at last week’s Te Awamutu trials to further her preparation for Monday’s Gr.3 Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

“She went well and I hadn’t done a lot of fast work with her since Hastings so it was a good chance to give her a day out,” McKee said.

“The Sarten is a Group Three race and it’s going to be a stronger field than the Group Ones at Christchurch.

“She’s going to have to handle all the fillies and the colts and gelding together, but the timing for Riccarton is what’s most important.”

One of the quality males that will oppose O’Marilyn in the Te Rapa feature will be her stablemate and Gr.1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas contender Prince Mambo.

“It might be a little bit short for him as he’s ready for a mile now,” McKee said.

His other Guineas candidate is Passing Shot and the colt is likely to go in a different direction on Saturday for the three-year-old event at Trentham over 1400 metres.

“Hopefully, the track will be good and that will top him off nicely for Christchurch,” McKee said. – NZ Racing Desk.

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