Kimochi set for G1 Vinery Stud Stakes clash

Star New Zealand filly Orchestral and VRC Oaks winner Zardozi dominate the early markets for the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes but trainer Gary Portelli is convinced Kimochi can give the race a shake.

Portelli is planning to run Kimochi in Saturday’s 2000m feature for three-year-old fillies at Rosehill and is adamant the last-start Coolmore Classic placegetter, who is around $11 with betting apps in an early pre-nominations market, should at least be closer in the market to Orchestral ($2.25) and Zardozi ($3.50).

“I think they’ve got it wrong,” Portelli said.

“Zougotcha, what price would she be in a race like that? We’ve stretched Zougotcha in a Coolmore. She’s done nothing wrong, my filly.

“I know you’ve got two Group One winners there, my filly hasn’t won one yet but she has raced the best of them. I don’t think she should be that far out of the market, that’s for sure.”

Nominations for the Vinery Stud Stakes are taken on Monday and the race is poised to be Kimochi’s latest chance to chase a Group One win, having been placed at the elite level three times this season.

Kimochi was runner-up in both the Flight Stakes (1600m) and Thousand Guineas (1600m) last spring and then resumed from a spell and landed her first stakes win in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last month.

After the only unplaced run of her career in the Surround Stakes, Kimochi bounced back to finish a close third in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) last start behind mares Zougotcha and Semana.

Portelli is thrilled with the way the filly has come through her most recent start and he believes she will handle the rise to 2000m.

“She’s in great order,” he said.

“She’s going to the right race for her, I believe, over the 2000 metres. I’m pretty happy with her.

“After the Thousand Guineas, Craig Williams said, ‘mate, she feels like a 2000-metre horse all day long’. She wants to settle, she wants to please you, she hasn’t got that zip that she does fresh.

“So I think we’re going to the right race at the right time.”

Orchestral, trained by Roger James and Robert Wellwood, is slated to make her Australian debut in the Vinery having won five of her eight starts including a dominant last-start Group 1 New Zealand Derby win.

The stable won the Vinery last year with Prowess while James also won in 2002 with Sixty Seconds.

Zardozi showed she is in fine form with her victory in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 16 on the same program as the Coolmore Classic.

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