Donna Logan has her eyes firmly on the prize that eluded her a year ago but the New Zealand trainer is also cautious about the Sydney carnival prospects of Rising Romance.
The Logan-trained Habibi ran third in the 2013 Vinery Stud Stakes before finishing fourth as favourite in the Australian Oaks in which she suffered an injury to a hindquarter muscle early in the race.
Habibi arrived in Australia as the New Zealand Derby winner and Rising Romance comes to Sydney for Saturday’s Vinery (2000m) at Rosehill as the second placegetter to Puccini in this year’s Classic.
Logan hoped to get a guide on the Australian three-year-old form through Puccini in the Rosehill Guineas but his performance was inconclusive.
Puccini was caught in a speed battle with Shamus Award on Saturday’s wet track and both were overrun in the straight.
“It’s hard to tell on what happened in the Guineas,” Logan said.
“It wasn’t the best ride and Puccini had things stacked against him.
“And Rising Romance has never travelled on a plane before. I think she will handle it because she is a very relaxed filly but you never know.
“We had a shocker last year and we are sticking our head in a very big bucket.”
Rising Romance was deposed as favourite for the $1 million Oaks (2400m) on April 19 by Zanbagh when the Guy Walter-trained filly won the Keith Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange.
The two are among 27 entries for Saturday’s 2000m Group One which includes New Zealanders Miss Mossman and Lucia Valentina.
Miss Mossman, the New Zealand Oaks winner, is from the stable of trans-Tasman trainer John Sargent while Lucia Valentina has had two Australian starts for Kris Lees.
“Rising Romance has beaten Lucia Valentina in New Zealand but we have never raced Miss Mossman,” Logan said.
Sydney based Kiwi jockey James McDonald will ride Rising Romance who has been kept up to the mark since the Derby on March 1.
“She is fit enough and ready enough to run well over 2000 metres but she will be much better at 2400 in the Oaks,” Logan said.