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Triple Crown Goal for Rip Van Winkle Mare
27 Aug 2016 | By NZ Racing Desk
Should Capella defy her eight to one odds and win Saturday's Group I Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings, Matamata trainer Danica Guy believes the daughter of rip Van Winkle (IRE) would be a "great chance" of winning the next two legs and becoming Hastings' first Triple Crown winner.

No horse has ever won all three legs of the Hawke's Bay weight-for-age spring treble of the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m), Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m), though several star gallopers have come close, among them Starcraft, Seachange, Jimmy Choux, The Message and Xcellent.

"The fields are pretty strong this year. But if she was able to win the Makfi tomorrow, she'd have be a good chance of winning the other legs," Guy said.

The Gary Harding-bred and raced Capella has won three of her nine starts, claiming last season's Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie before finishing third in the Gr.2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa and fourth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie.

She trialled in splendid fashion at Te Teko earlier this month and topped off her preparation for the Hastings spring carnival with a rousing exhibition gallop at Te Rapa on Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate day.

"It was a lovely trial and just what I wanted to see," Guy said.

"And she galloped well in the exhibition gallop at Te Rapa the other day too. She actually ran a faster last 600m than the Foxbridge Plate and that was under a hold on an off track that she doesn't really like.

"She pulled up blowing a bit too. She never blows but it shows how much she didn't like the ground. She's very well. I'm very happy with her."

Guy's comments on Capella's dislike of rain-affected tracks must serve as a warning for punters, but she was optimistic that there would be some drying in the last 24 hours before race time and the track would come back from the slow eight reading on Friday morning.

"The draw [barrier one] is going to be the biggest problem for her. A wider draw would have kept her out of trouble but it is what it is," said Guy, who has engaged Danielle Johnson to partner Capella.

"If she'd drawn a wider gate, I'd have been confident she could have won, even at 1400m, the way she's working. But there should be a torrent of speed in it and it will all depend on how things pan out. She's in the right condition to win if things go her way."