Excelsior to get true test of sprinting talent
TROY Corstens is confident True Excelsior's recent placing in the Group 3 Standish Handicap will be good enough for her to go close in New Zealand's premier sprint, the Group 1 Telegraph Stakes (1200m), at Wellington on Saturday.
True Excelsior has drawn barrier 13 in the field of 18 and Corstens believes that will suit the mare.
"It's basically a straight-six scenario with a dogleg in it," Corstens said. "She's got a good bit of speed to take up a spot and she's strong at the finish."
At her last start, True Excelsior finished third in the Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year's Day behind the in-form Darren Weir-trained mare Whispering Brook.
"It's hard to assess the New Zealand form but I'm hoping the Standish run will be good enough, but I won't really know until after the race," Corsten said.
True Excelsior was accompanied to New Zealand by Troy's father and co-trainer Leon Corstens.
"He knows a fair bit about travelling horses and he's really happy with the way she has settled in," Troy Corstens said, adding that a Group 1 win would be invaluable for True Excelsior's pedigree.
"She's a Group 3 place-getter but if she could get a Group 1 against her name for her owners, Nigel Austin and Anthony Mithen, she would be a valuable mare as she'd be regarded as a blue hen mare," he said.
"That's the main reason why she's here."
Stephen Baster will fly to New Zealand to ride the mare.
It will be the first time the Corstens stable has had a runner in New Zealand.
It's a homecoming for True Excelsior as she was bought by Rosemont Stud for $450,000 at the 2016 New Zealand Yearling Sales.