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New Zealand Oaks winner Jennifer Eccles has been ruled out of the Sydney spring but connections have left the door open for a Melbourne preparation.

Co-trainer Shaun Ritchie confirmed the mare would target Group One races closer to home in the short-term ahead of a possible 2020 Cox Plate bid.

“We have elected not to campaign Jennifer Eccles in Sydney,” Ritchie told the NZ Racing Desk.

“We would need to get into Victoria, which is not open anyway.

“We have got a lot of options in front of us with the likes of the Cox Plate or the Mackinnon Stakes and felt that a hit-and-run with the mare in Australia might be better than just campaigning.”

Jennifer Eccles is by Rip Van Winkle, who died earlier this month following a short illness.

The ill-fated stallion is also the sire of star New Zealander Te Akau Shark, who recently underwent successful eye surgery and will be given time to recuperate ahead of an autumn return.

Jennifer Eccles has won four of her 11 starts, culminating in her Oaks triumph in March.

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