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Trainers ponder Group One options with smart fillies

22 November 2017, 1:30 p.m.

The Lustre and The Sparkle have proven themselves competitive against the best fillies in the country and their connections are now weighing up northern targets for the pair.

They passed the biggest tests of their fledgling careers when third and fourth respectively in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), a race their owner-breeder-trainers Joe, Martin, Ray and Tony Dennis won in 2002 with the fillies’ relative The Jewel.

The Lustre Photo: Wild Range Photography

“I was rapt with them, over the moon and to be fair it wasn’t a surprise as we knew they had the ability,” said Robert Dennis, who is now part of the family’s Southland training operation.

“They are having a couple of weeks in the paddock and we’ve nominated them for the Levin Classic, but whether we go down that path has yet to be decided.”

The Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks (2400m) is another serious option for the daughters of Darci Brahma.

“We don’t see any reason why they won’t run the distance,” Dennis said.

Meanwhile, their Woodlands stable will have a number of runners at Wednesday’s Ascot Park meeting and The Style is considered one of their leading chances.

The Thorn Park mare will make the second appearance of her current preparation in the McCallums Group Maiden (1600m).

“We think a bit of her, but her barrier manners have let her down,” Dennis said.

“We’ve got Chris Johnson on her, the first time he’s ridden her, and hopefully he can get her out of the barrier. She should be a very good chance if he can.”

The Style lost several lengths at the start when resuming earlier this month at Gore and made up ground to finish sixth. – NZ Racing Desk.