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Image: Darren Winningham

Gypsy Goddess is being prepared by trainer David Vandyke for a crack at two of the Queensland Winter Carnival feature races for three-year-old fillies … The Roses, a Group 2 contest, and the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.

The smart daughter of Tarzino will return for The Roses having been allowed a six-week break from race action since her last start in the Group 1 AJC Oaks at Randwick where she finished in a highly creditable second place. That run came on the back of another Group 1 placing … a third placed finish in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes.

“Gypsy Goddess will be trialling next Tuesday at the Sunshine Coast as part of her lead-up to The Roses,” said Vandyke.

“We will be leaving the blinkers off for The Roses and we’ll just see how she goes. She has got a history of performing poorly at trackwork and in the trials with the blinkers off, but, in her last two starts I just thought she over-raced a little bit … so I’d like to see her under race pressure without the blinkers and see what she does.”

“What our particular race strategy will be … I will talk to Willie Pike about that closer to race time when we are armed with more knowledge. I mean, if we draw barrier one in The Roses, we’ll probably sit right behind the pace. If we draw barrier fourteen, we’ve got to work out how much pace is in the race and what we have got to do.”

The amount of thought that goes into the individual Vandyke race strategies can be gauged by Vandyke’s assessment of Gypsy Goddess’s two Group 1 runs in Sydney in which she appeared to adopt two different strategies … going back in the Vinery and racing handier in the AJC Oaks.

“It was difficult because of the weather,” explained Vandyke. “Gypsy Goddess went into that Newcastle run, with the transferring of the meeting from the Saturday at Randwick to the Monday at Newcastle, under-done and over-fresh … and, as such, I was very focussed on riding her quiet.

“She jumped out and wanted to charge a little bit because she was so fresh, so for her to stick on and run third was a massive effort. Willie (Pike) actually wanted to ride her further forward that day, but I said let’s stick to what worked. We wanted her to be in good shape for the AJC Oaks.

“Then, when we were going into that heavy track on Oaks Day … and I even doubted they were going to have the meeting at one point … I thought we don’t want to be behind a group of three-year-old fillies that can’t go the distance or who are not handling the track.

“So, we made the conscious decision to give her a dig out of the gates this time and see what happens. As it turned out she could have led, but she did race handy throughout and second place was a good result.

“I think, on both counts, Willie rode her as I would have liked and so I am very happy to stick with him as the jockey going into these Winter Carnival runs.

“It’s good to have Gypsy Goddess running in the carnival and it is good to have Willie up here,” concluded Vandyke.

For the record, those two Group 1 placings were the only defeats that Gypsy Goddess has suffered in her seven-race career. She won five on the trot in Queensland before heading south to the Sydney carnival which means she is still unbeaten outside of Group 1 company … a record she will be defending in the Group 2 The Roses while, of course, she will be shooting for the stars in Queensland Oaks looking to land her first Group 1 win which, if it happens, would have been achieved in only nine starts.

 
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