Brisbane Cup tilt for Rondinella
Perennial bridesmaid Rondinella looks to have her best chance of nabbing a staying feature when she contests the Gr.2 Brisbane Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The John O'Shea-trained mare was prominent over the Sydney Carnival, finishing runner-up in both the Gr.2 Chairman's Quality (2600m) and Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
She subsequently finished fourth in the Gr.3 Premier's Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm late last month and O'Shea said she didn't appreciate the firm track.
"She felt the ground there the other day, no doubt, so we have just spent the first week getting her through that," O'Shea told Racing HQ.
"She has bounced back really well and had a lovely gallop on Tuesday morning. She is a genuine two-miler. She has had two goes at the Sydney Cup and ran fourth and second.
"It (Brisbane Cup) has been the target race for her all along.
"We got a bit bamboozled by the weights. She has ended up at the top of the weights, which may or may not be a reflection of the quality of the race.
"Saturday presents a good opportunity for her to get back in the winner's stall."
Rondinella will carry the silks of South Auckland stud farm, Haunui Farm.
Vale Twink Allen
New Zealand-born equine reproduction expert Professor William 'Twink' Allen has passed away aged 80 after a short illness.
Allen had been a well-known figure in England's thoroughbred hub, Newmarket, for many years and is the father of Catherine Dettori, wife of jockey Frankie.
A graduate of veterinary medicine from the University of Sydney, he was a director of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Equine Fertility Unit, a professor at the University of Cambridge and held numerous other research positions. He was awarded a CBE in 2002.
He was particularly known for his work in assisted reproductive technologies, carrying out pioneering methods of embryo recovery and transfer in mares and studies of hormones and ultrasonography.
Allen also regularly advised breeders, once suggesting to Watership Down Stud's Simon Marsh that he should have the fallopian tubes of broodmare Darara flushed out after she had been barren for four years. She went on to produce the outstanding pair Dar Re Mi and Rewilding.