Talented Matamata filly Force Of Will keeps raising the bar, so much so that another bold performance this weekend is likely to clinch her a start in a Group One race she hasn't even been nominated for.
The Power filly will chase her fourth consecutive win when she tackles Saturday's Gr.2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa, having progressed from a maiden win through to last-start success in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
Should she extend her winning sequence on Saturday, her reward will be a start in next month's Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.
"We've asked her to keep extending her distance range and she's still hitting the line strongly and that gives us confidence she can see out a strong 2000m this weekend," said Andrew Scott, who trains Force Of Will in partnership with Lance O'Sullivan.
"We were obviously pleased with her performance in the Desert Gold and she's progressed the right way since then too."
O'Sullivan and Scott had the choice of starting the Sir Owen Glenn-bred and raced Force Of Will in either the Waikato Guineas or against her own sex in the Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) on the same programme, opting to take on the boys.
"We looked at the two fields and A, there was Amarelinha and some strong fillies in that race and B, Craig Grylls could stick with her in the Waikato Guineas," Scott said.
"She's a good chance going on her form but you never really know if they are going to stay until you try, so it's a bit of a feeler race. She's going well and we don't think the distance will trip her up. On ability, she's a good chance."
Force Of Will wasn't nominated for the New Zealand Oaks but Scott said a late entry was likely if she performed up to their expectations at Te Rapa.
This week, Force Of Will was nominated for both the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 10 and the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick a week earlier.
"The way she's racing and the way she's continued to step up has brought those races into contention," Scott said.
"She's a filly we took quietly as a two-year-old she's become a real summer bloomer."
TAB bookmakers have Force Of Will as a $4.20 second favourite for the Waikato Guineas behind Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m)-placed Montre Moi at $3.
Stablemate Charles Road is a $34 outsider in the day's feature, the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) but O'Sullivan and Scott believe he deserves his place in the race.
"He's part of a very strong field and it won't be easy for us but he's got the ability to be competitive," Scott said.
"His first run back (for second in the Gr.3 Jarden Stakes over 2000m at Ellerslie in November) was superb and he ran well in the Zabeel Classic (2000m, Group One at Ellerslie on Boxing Day) but the quick backup into the City Of Auckland Cup (2400m, Group Three at Ellerslie on New Year's Day) didn't suit him.
“We're hoping he can put in another good performance. His work has been encouraging. He's just got to bring it to the table on raceday."
The stable's other runner on the day is Amano in the Allied Security 2100, Scott confident of a bold run from the Reliable Man gelding.
"He's probably the best winning chance of the three. He's going really well. He's stepping back from the Karaka Stayers Cup and he's done really well since that race." - Article by NZ Racing Desk