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Kiwi filly on Group One fast track

New Zealand filly La Bella Diosa makes her Australian Group One debut earlier than anticipated with her Surround Stakes win convincing trainers Matt and Mandy Brown to tackle the Coolmore Classic.

Mandy Brown cited La Bella Diosa’s 1-1/2 length victory at her first run on a heavy track in the Group Two Surround (1400m) on February 25 and an opportunity to familiarise the three-year-old with Rosehill as reasons for sidestepping Friday’s Kembla Grange Classic.

“To be honest we didn’t expect her to win the way she did in the Surround and after that we thought going to Kembla was a wee bit of a step back being a Group Three and with the top weight,” Brown said.

“We thought while we’re here why not have another go at a Group One?”

So La Bella Diosa has an extra day to prepare for her Rosehill debut and a rematch with the Chris Waller-trained Omei Sword, the early $3 favourite for Saturday’s Coolmore (1500m).

Although La Bella Diosa relegated Omei Sword to second in the Surround Stakes, she is at $11 on TAB fixed odds behind Guy Walter Stakes winner Dixie Blossoms ($7) and Global Glamour ($8), who ran third in the Surround Stakes.

Brown was unfazed by the market, or the fact Omei Sword carries 52.5kg, a 2kg advantage.

“It’s got a couple of kilos less than us, obviously the word’s out for it (Omei Sword),” she said.

Brown said the opportunity for La Bella Diosa to experience Rosehill before the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on March 25 also counted against a trip to Kembla Grange.

“It gives her an opportunity to go round the track prior to racing in the Vinery with a bit of less weight on her back,” she said.

Jay Ford has the ride in the Coolmore Classic because Jason Collett is suspended. Hugh Bowman was booked for La Bella Diosa had she raced at Kembla Grange with 58kg.

The Vinery is La Bella Diosa’s final hit-out before the major goal of her first trans-Tasman campaign, the Group One $1 million ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 8.

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