AWAPUNI A STEPPING STONE FOR XPRESSION

Group One performer Xpression will contest the Hyslop Plumbing 3YO Premier (1400m) at Awapuni on Saturday ahead of a tilt at Group One glory next month.

The Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen-trained filly ran third last-start in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and while disappointed with that run, her connections are looking for redemption in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 12.

“Her run in the 1000 Guineas was disappointing,” Lowry said. “It was okay, she learnt a lot, but you always like to win.

“She’s been good (since then), she’s had a ten-day break in the paddock. She had a gallop on Tuesday and seems to be in the right fitness to go towards Saturday with the intention of running in the Levin Classic.”

Xpression will once again team up with premiership-winning jockey Samantha Collett on Saturday and will jump from the ace barrier in the six horse field.

“I’m happy with her going into Saturday with the thought that it will further her fitness for January 12,” Lowry said.

“She isn’t screwed down at the moment, it’s really just a lead-in race for the Group One.”

Lowry said he thinks the Levin Classic is his filly’s best chance of the season to add a Group One scalp to her record as he doesn’t believe she is suited over more ground.

“I don’t believe she is a stayer and it’s the last crack at her own age group at Group One company at a mile or below in this country,” he said.

“I’d like to think she was a Group One winner by the end of the season and I see the Levin Classic as the last really good chance of doing that.

“We’ll probably give her another ten day spell after the Levin Classic and reassess (our options) after that.”

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