Two Illicit tackle Hollindale Stakes

Filly to clash with Melody Belle and Tiptronic.

TWO ILLICIT. Picture: Trish Dunell

New Zealand raider Two Illicit (Jimmy Choux) will have her first run in Queensland on Saturday when the Roger James-trained filly tackles the A.D. Hollindale Stakes (Gr 2, 1800m) at the Gold Coast, where she will clash with fellow New Zealand raiders Melody Belle (Commands) and Tiptronic (O'Reilly).

Two Illicit returned with a first-up third placing over 1400 metres at Te Rapa last month and James believes she is back in the same vein of form that led her winning the Royal Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m) and Waikato Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m), before finishing second in the New Zealand Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) as a three-year-old.

"I don't think she was at her best in the spring. We had a couple of little issues, but I believe she is where we want her to be and issue free," James said.

"She hadn't had a jumpout or trial (ahead of her first-up run last month) and she carried 61.5kg over 1400 metres, an unsuitable distance, and ranged right into it to win at the furlong and understandably blew out, as I expected. She ran third and has come on enormously with the run, I believe.

"I think she is more in the order that she was in the autumn of her three-year-old year."

James said she will appreciate the step-up in distance on Saturday but will favour even more ground in her subsequent Queensland targets.

"I think the three weight-for-age races - the Hollindale, Doomben Cup, and the Q22 - look ideal races for her," he said.

"We are getting to a distance she is more known for, and I think 2000m and 2200m will suit her even better."

The Gold Coast track is currently rated a Heavy 8 and James is hoping for improvement ahead of the weekend.

"I wouldn't like to see it remain Heavy," he said. "She can operate on a Soft track, but Heavy I am not certain."

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