There was a buzz when a bay filly, lot 76 entered the ring at Inglis' 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
Asian Bloodstock Services went to $800,000 to secure the daughter of Fastnet Rock, now racing as California Salto, and she's presented with a gilt edged opportunity to open her winning account over 1200 metres at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
The filly boasts an imposing pedigree with mum Comaneci a half sister to Group 1 winners Elvestrom and Haradasun while Highland Reel, the winner of $15.35m in stakes is from the same female family.
The $22,000 to-the-winner Maiden Plate will by no means be straight forward yet, at her two starts California Salto has endured torrid paths from wide gates and, this time, she draws much closer to the inside.
On debut, California Salto raced off the speed in limited room over 1000m at Kembla Grange on May 11. She closed late to finish just over 1 1/2 lengths away (sixth) before making ground late when second to Minted at Warwick Farm two weeks back over 1200m.
As yearlings, nine of the California Salto's twelve rivals were offered at auction last year for a grand total of $366,000 - an average of just over $40,000.
Mini Boom ($80,000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale) will attract punter's attention but a promising pointer is that Tommy Berry has elected to stay with California Salto after her most recent, late-closing effort.
Pedigree-wise, the best of California Salto may well come over more ground but a mid-week maiden is where she's at and win one looms large.
VONNIE EMBARKS ON STAYING CAREER
Trainer Mark Gatt has always considered youngster Ritza Vonnie a top class stayer in the making and the rising two year-old is to be tested for the first time over 720m at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Strength had been Ritza Vonnie's calling card from day one and Gatt's confidence in the daughter of SH Avatar has not wavered since the brindle bitch won the Graham Gibbons Memorial Maiden (472m) at Bulli in March and she boasts eight wins from 12 starts.
"She's very closely related to Sherbini and I think she's as strong as she was but Ritza Vonnie has the ability to race on speed," Gatt said.
"For no reason at all, Sherbini would drop out early on at Wentworth Park and power home ... this girl doesn't do that and we're hopeful she can make the grade in the staying ranks."
Ritza Vonnie has drawn nicely (box two) in the opening heat of a NSW Bred Stayers' series and clashes with the widely travelled Kanzan, White Sox Ethics, Cheeky Tunes and Eleanor Rascal.
Kanzan returned to best form with a sharp 30.50s win from box two over 535m at Richmond on Friday. She's drawn less favourably in box eight this time but has a personal best of 42.08s at Wentworth Park.
Cheeky Tunes returns to Wentworth Park on back of successive wins at Bathurst (618m) and Bulli (590m) in strong fashion but she's not raced at the Glebe circuit over 720m since mid-February. The $10,000 to-the-winner final is slated for June 22.