Punters have warmed to the form line around the Bart Cummings-trained Norzita ahead of the filly’s biggest test in Saturday’s Tea Rose Stakes.
Norzita finished second to Proisir at her most recent start and that form was enhanced on Wednesday at Newcastle when the Gai Waterhouse-trained colt won the Group Three Spring Stakes by almost six lengths.
Norzita quickly firmed from $6.50 to $4.60 for the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes (1500m).
“It makes that form line read very well and we’re very happy with her,” James Cummings, stable foreman for his grandfather, said.
“Saturday can’t come soon enough.”
Norzita will take the step up to stakes company for the first time in the third leg of the four-race Princess Series for fillies, and will meet Dear Demi, Meidung and Jade Marauder who fought out the finish of the Furious Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago.
“She has continued to improve all the time and that’s the best thing about her,” Cummings said.
“When she kept improving we spaced her runs so she had the appropriate program to slot into the Princess Series here. I think she’s coming in at the right time.”
Dear Demi, winner of the Furious (1400m) is favourite at $3.40 with TAB fixed odds ahead of Meidung ($3.80), Jade Marauder ($4.20) and Norzita.
Cummings believes Norzita has improved since her 2-1/4-length second to Proisir over 1400m on September 1.
“I think she just needs to run up to that to be an excellent chance,” he said.
The stable is also hoping another three-year-old, Lunar Rise, can make the leap to stakes company in the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) on the back of a maiden win over 1400m at Kembla and an easy Class One success over 1500m at Newcastle.
“Hopefully he laps up the extra ground on Saturday,” Cummings said.
“He’s a lovely gelding with a beautiful pedigree.”
By international Group One winner Starcraft out of Sadler’s Wells mare Spirited Dancer, Lunar Rise will take on a field that includes unbeaten New Zealand colt It’s A Dundeel and the Anthony Cummings-trained Ninth Legion who is backing up after his fourth in the Golden Rose.
“I know it’s a Group Three but nothing in the race is a Group winner and I think it’s going to come down to the horse on the rise,” James Cummings said.
“Hopefully that’s Lunar Rise.”