Bullbars filly Contessa Vanessa showed she was progressing well towards her main target of the New Zealand Oaks with a victory at Matamata on Saturday.
Back from a short break following a luckless run in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Contessa Vanessa ran in a 3YO Proisir 1,400m race which included the Group 1 winning colt Age of Fire.
First-time jockey Jason Waddell pounced 'The Contessa' out from her handy draw to settle behind the leader, Pop Star Princess. He shook her up approaching the home turn. Once balanced up, she ground down the leader to win by three-quarters of a length.
Post-race, her trainer Graeme Rogerson confirmed that Contessa Vanessa would continue on to the New Zealand Oaks via next Saturday's Group 3 McKee Family Sunline Vase over 2,100m - "She will be very competitive. She relaxes well and she will stay."
Contessa Vanessa, out of the Lohnro mare Di Lusso, has been a star performer for Bullbars this season - her best performance to date coming with victory in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (1,600m) at Ellerslie. She has also shown her versatility over a variety of distances with her most recent starts being at 1,600m, 2,000m, 1,600m and yesterday at 1,400m.