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Ratings hike the downside of Lasarla's Group Two win
09 Dec 2016 | By NZ Racing Desk

Trainer Moira Murdoch accepts that the drawback of Lasarla's (Rip Van Winkle) upset win in last month's Gr. 2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes is that she has an inexperienced galloper quickly thrust into the top grades.

But the Waiuku trainer also believes that Lasarla's weight-for-age fillies and mares' feature win won't be her last in good company and she's giving the four-year-old Rip Van Winkle mare her chance in Saturday's Listed J Swap Contractors 1400 at Te Rapa.

"She's really trained on well since her win and we're very pleased with her," said Murdoch, who trains in partnership with her daughter Kieran.

"It's a bit of an average draw (barrier 10 in a field of 11) in a strong field, but I wanted her to have another 1400-metre race in this grade before we stepped her up in trip.

"Her rating has rocketed up. She’s gone from 65 to open class (she's now rated 88). We took a gamble by starting her in the Auckland Breeders' and it paid off because for a mare, getting a black-type win is the best thing you can do, but now we have to deal with an inexperienced horse in open grade."

Lasarla will be having just her seventh start on Saturday, having only won a midweek fillies and mares' maiden at Avondale before her Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes win at Pukekohe.

Murdoch hopes Saturday's race can provide Lasarla with a springboard towards summer riches at 1600 metres, though the mare doesn't hold a nomination for next month's Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham.

"Another 1400-metre race suits her and she likes Te Rapa, so we're hoping she can go well again," Murdoch said.

"There are plenty of nice miles around for her, though I can't see her going past a mile. There's the Rich Hill Mile at Ellerslie on New Year's Day and we can assess her run in that and see where we go from there."

The Murdochs will chase another Group Two fillies and mares' feature when Promise To Reign tackles Saturday's Cal Isuzu Stakes from the outside barrier of 12.