GRATZ VELLA expects both his gallopers at Queanbeyan on Sunday to be in the finish of their respective races.
The first, debutant Queen Bee Ann, will contest the third race on the program and comes off a solid 900-metre barrier trial performance at Canberra on November 30.
On that occasion, the three-year-old finished second to the Matt Dale-trained Chelsea Hotel, who, on debut on December 9, blitzed a bumper field at Wagga by six lengths.
Chelsea Hotel's performance has made Vella optimistic of a strong showing by Queen Bee Ann on Sunday, who is making her debut at Queanbeyan.
"The owners are a bunch of young fellows, and they're all from Queanbeyan," the Canberra trainer said.
"It's going to make it good for them to watch their horse race at Queanbeyan.
"Based on her barrier trial, I think if she doesn't win, she'll run a place."
Given the Half Hennessy filly's hectic schedule in the lead-up to Sunday's race, Vella admitted that a spell in the paddock was likely after her debut run.
"She's had a couple of jump-outs, a barrier trial, and a couple of gallops so maybe [after] this one she'll go out for a spell," he said.
However, Vella admitted that the wide draw was a concern for Queen Bee Ann and is hoping jockey Carl Spry can get the filly out of the gates strongly.
Sunday's race is over the 1100-metre trip, and while Queen Bee Ann is unlikely to race further than that in the near future, the trainer said that could change as she further develops.
"Being by Half Hennessy, it's very hard to say what sort of trip she'll eventually run over," he said.
"Some can sprint and some can stay, but I'm thinking somewhere over those middle-distances - 1400 to 1600 [metres] will be her go down the track."
Vella's other runner at Queanbeyan, Zaritzie, will be attempting to shed his maiden status at his 10th career start.
While his form has disappointed Vella, Sunday will be the first time the Zariz gelding will race over the 1600 trip, having not previously run beyond 1400 metres.
Zaritzie is out of 2005 Queanbeyan Cup winner Winkurra, and Vella pointed out that the mare also started her career quite slowly.
"She was one of the slowest ones my brother [Sam] used to train, but once they got her over a bit of distance, she never stopped winning," Vella said.