High hopes for flying filly Italia Bella
RACING: The Sunshine Coast's leading trainer Stuart Kendrick has one eye on the Australian Oaks in Sydney, with Italia Bella making strides towards the $1million race.
She won by three lengths at Corbould Park on Sunday, with Luke Tarrant aboard, to claim her first win but fifth placing in six starts.
It was an impressive showing from Italia Bella, from a wide alley in a big field.
With a smart jump, Tarrant took her to the front before settling in the box seat and then charging down the straight.
The $1.40 favourite finished ahead of Pabulum.
"She's a horse that's got a lot of promise," Kendrick said.
"She's always shown a lot of ability and she's very well bred (by Fastnet Rock out of Pear Tart) so hopefully she can go on."
Italia Bella has already placed in a Group 2 race over 1200m and in two Listed races over 1200m and 1350m but she's now being taken over longer trips.
The 1600m in the Tatiana Porter Appreciation Maiden Plate proved relatively easy so she's set to take a significant step up soon.
"She'll probably have her next run over 2000m and step up and hopefully she's going to be a nice staying filly for us," Kendrick said.
"Ultimately, the race we'd like to target is the Oaks. She's got to keep improving and she's good enough to do that and she's got the breeding to do it.
"And what she's shown us so far we think is, as she furthers (in distance) she'll keep improving."
So a tilt at the prestigious Group 1 Oaks, for three-year-old fillies, over 2400m, is an option.
"She went from 1200 to 1600 and won that nicely so we'll step her up again after that now and if she keeps improving," he said.
Kendrick also had a winner in the last at Caloundra, with Lips 'n Hips in a Class 1 Handicap.
Meanwhile, I Am the General won the main race of the day, the Workplace Central Open Handicap (1000m).
The Michael Nolan-trained six-year-old gelding claimed a seventh win in 50 starts and third in his last six outings, with a length win over Bullpit.
Skye Bogenhuber steered the $11 chance to the line.