Imported Mare Breaks the Ice In Australia
Mark Smith - Sunday October 8

Winner of the Group III Irish Thousand Guineas Prelude at Leopardstown last year and a distant third in the Group I Irish Thousand Guineas at The Curragh, Qatar Bloodstock's Now Or Never (IRE) earned her first victory in Australia in Saturday's Group II Blazer stakes at Flemington.

In a race with a number of hard luck stories, Now Or Never (IRE) was given a patient ride by Ryan Maloney. When he was in dire need of a run in the straight, Maloney found the back of Merriest and the two fought out the finish,

Now Or Never closed strongly in the final 100 metres to defeat Merriest by a long neck with Payroll three-quarters of a length away in third.

The 4yo Irish-bred daughter of Bushranger was making her fourth start in Australia.

Maloney said there was room for plenty of improvement.

"She's still got her winter coat," he said.

"Her first-up performance was really good, she just peaked late, she's got a good second-up record, off natural improvement we always thought she'd be right in this sought of a race.

Trainer Robert Smerdon said the Myer Classic is now on the table but she will likely make her next start in the Tristrarc Stakes.

"She's got good upside so hopefully we can just progress onto the Myer, that would be the holy grail for her," Smerdon said.

It was the plan, to go again in two weeks' time (in the Tristarc Stakes)

"She's really is a gross mare, a month between runs wouldn't have her where we want her."

"She had really good form in Ireland.

"She was the winner of the Thousand Guineas Prelude over this distance and was third in the Guineas itself.

"She disappointed in the autumn but I reckon acclimatisation was a bit of it and coming back off a break she was good first-up and better again today.

"She's now a Group winner in two hemispheres so that gives her a lot of value."

Now Or Later's dual Group I winning sire Bushranger (IRE) shuttled to Australia for five seasons (2010-14) where le left this year's Group III Zeditave Stakes winner Benz as well as the triple Listed stakes winner Jerilderie Letter.

Now Or Later is out of the unraced Pivotal mare Queenofthefairies a half-sister to Aquis Farm's 5-time Group I winner and promising young sire Dream Ahead (USA) as well as the dual Listed stakes winner Into The Dark (Rainbow Quest).