Freshened Campionessa tackles in the Sunline Stakes

The Mark Walker stable is banking on a freshen up between races as being pivotal for New Zealand mare Campionessa.

A last start winner against ‘the boys’ in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 24, Campionessa will have her first test at Moonee Valley on Saturday in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m).

The Sunline Stakes is restricted to fillies and mares and run at weight-for-age.

Campionessa is no stranger to weight-for-age racing having been successful in New Zealand at the highest level while also scoring last time out at Caulfield.

Ben Gleeson, Walker’s assistant trainer, based at Cranbourne, said Campionessa had freshened up well after a long campaign that commenced last September.

He said the plan after Campionessa’s win in the Peter Young was to restrict the mare to races of 1800m and less, despite winning the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2050m) in December.

Gleeson said Campionessa had run ‘just fair’ at 2000m in the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington last year which ruled her out of running in the race again this year.

“Long before the Peter Young, Mark said 1800 metres just sees her out at the finish,” Gleeson said.

“So back to a mile, a distance which arguably her wins have been most impressive, is much better for her, especially off the back of a freshen up.

“She’ll go into this with some freshness in her legs and a month between runs after a very long preparation.

“I’m sure it will have done her wonders.”

Gleeson does not know how much more racing Campionessa has in her this campaign.

He said the stable would await the result Saturday’s outing before plotting their next course.

The Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 13 is a possibility, but it won’t be discussed until after Saturday.

“If she can win, then it will open the door and show that she has freshened up, but we’ll leave that until after Saturday,” Gleeson said.

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