A pull in the weights and, hopefully, a little more luck have Kylie Williams thinking she might be able to turn the tables on the impressive Arietta today at Ashburton.
Williams and her mount, Irish Bay, finished second behind the John and Karen Parsons-trained mare at Cromwell back at the start of the month and the impression the leading hoop garnered from her first ride on the Tony and Lyn Prendergast-trained mare has given her some confidence for today's assignment.
"We just got held up by a tiring horse when we were looking to get into it last time," Williams said.
"And by the time we got clear, Arietta had kicked clear and it was too late to peg her back, but she really did find the line well."
A winner of five races from 39 starts, Irish Bay gains a five-kilogram advantage on Arietta today, a stark contrast to the 1kg on offer at Cromwell.
Williams believed having an on-speed horse like Dr Dee Bee in the race would play into her advantage also.
"He (Dr Dee Bee) likes to run along a bit, so hopefully the pace is strong and it opens things up for one of the back runners. We just need that little bit of luck and we should be right in the fight.
"Tony and Lyn's team is flying at the moment, too, which will help."
Williams also has an added bonus of knowledge, having ridden Arietta in the past.
She was on board when the speedy mare made her debut at Motukarara, with the performance also turning out to be a winning one - the first of six so far in her career. Three of those wins have come in her last four starts, with the only fail a second placing behind Go Go Dingo in the Couplands Bakeries Mile Trial leading up to Cup Week.
Arietta then went on to win the Canterbury Breeders Stakes before heading to Cromwell to win the Wanaka Cup.
The race doesn't look set to be just dominated by the two mares, however, with Riccarton trainer Terri Rae also holding a strong hand in the race through Go Go Dingo and Georgie's Girl.
Williams has three other promising rides at today's meeting, all of which come from the local stable of Jan Hay.
"Jan's team always goes well at Ashburton, and I really do think all three of them have enough upside about them to get some money.
"Revolutionary looks the best of them on the first-up run, while Vaporetto always has a chance, and he should be suited to the track conditions."
Williams had a sound warning for punters who have dropped Southern Pride after recent performances.
"She's not a bad horse. Once it all clicks together, I think she might win a few races."
The four-year-old mare has carried heavy support in all four of her runs, with a fourth from the last start her best performance.
- Fairfax Media