Coventina Bay basking in the Sunshine State

Photo: Grant Matthew (Race Images, Palmerston North)

Group One performer Coventina Bay (NZ) (Shamexpress) made the best possible start to her Queensland campaign on Tuesday.

Under regular rider Samantha Collett, she won her 1200m trial at the Sunshine Coast by 3-1/2 lengths.

Trainer Robbie Patterson was pleased with her hit-out ahead of her Group targets in the coming month.

“She trialled nicely,” Patterson told SENTrack. “I have got Sam Collett over here, she is riding her in track work and is going to ride raceday as well.”

Patterson had been eyeing a trip across the Tasman with the daughter of Shamexpress for some time, but said her runner-up effort behind Avantage in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) in April sealed the trip.

“It was in the back of my mind for the last three months,” he said. “When she came out and ran second to Avantage, and that was her first Group one, that was the turning point for the decision to come.”

Coventina Bay has now been in Brisbane for nearly two weeks and Patterson said she appreciated the direct flight.

“We got over Friday-week ago and we are staying at Barry Baldwin’s at Eagle Farm,” he said. 

“We got the only direct flight I could get to Queensland, all the other guys had to go through Sydney, and I wasn’t too keen on that.”

While nominated for the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next Saturday, Patterson is leaning towards two other Group targets with his mare.

“My gut feeling is that running her in the Stradbroke could be detrimental to carrying on in Queensland,” he said.

“I would prefer to run in the Dane Ripper (Gr.2, 1400m) and then two weeks into the Tatts Tiara (Gr.1 1400m). I think they are two really good races that she will be highly competitive in.”

Patterson isn’t concerned about track conditions, highlighting his mare performs on all surfaces, but he said she would prefer a strong pace in her races considering her usual racing pattern.

“She has got a really high cruising speed and can sprint off that as well,” he said. “She will get back, she is a natural back-runner, and hopefully they go hard and she can pick them up.”