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Wedding bliss can be sealed with Kiss

Gotta Kiss has endured her share of bad luck over the past 12 months but the Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted stable are hoping the stars have finally aligned for her in Saturday’s Vo Rogue Plate. And there’s added incentive for the filly to win the feature, as Hoysted is set to marry fiancee Caitlin…

Gotta Kiss has endured her share of bad luck over the past 12 months but the Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted stable are hoping the stars have finally aligned for her in Saturday’s Vo Rogue Plate.

And there’s added incentive for the filly to win the feature, as Hoysted is set to marry fiancee Caitlin Lavin in a private ceremony on Sunday.

The couple was forced to delay wedding plans after 2020 Covid lockdowns. They are expecting their first child in April.

Hoysted joined O’Dea in a training partnership just over two months ago and the pair have made a flying start, striking at better than 20 per cent from their first 71 runners and Gotta Kiss will give them a breakthrough stakes success if she can win the Group 3 feature.

Twelve months ago Gotta Kiss was sent out a $12 chance in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, but was one of a number of horses to endure a horror float trip to the Coast that day and she then got stuck in the worst going come race time.

Through the winter she had little luck as the $2.20 favourite in a race won by eventual Coolmore Stud Stakes winner September Run, then staged a super effort when second to Rothfire in the J.J. Atkins after jumping from barrier 15.

Similarly, last time out she had to go right back in the Mode Plate off barrier 13 before steaming home for second to Isotope.

On Saturday, she is drawn to be much closer in the run as she rounds out preparations for her Magic Millions Guineas tilt in a fortnight.

“She should be able to settle much closer in the run this time, maybe midfield or thereabouts and get her chance,” Hoysted said.

“We really think she’s going super at the moment. She’s really done well since (the Mode) and hopefully this race pans out for her.”

Gotta Kiss is the $3.90 favourite with Ladbrokes to win the Vo Rogue, with Palladas second elect at $6.50 and Victorian raider Portland Sky a $7.50 chance.

Lord’s best can seize Millions wildcard

Which Desert Lord will turn up in The Buffering at Eagle Farm?

Jockey Ryan Maloney has no doubt if it’s the same one who trounced his rivals at his first run for the David Vandyke stable three starts back, he will take a power of beating.

Maloney teamed with Desert Lord at Eagle Farm on August 29, where he came from the back of the field in a Class 6 Plate and rounded his rivals up in a few strides to win as he liked.

Yet at his next start, Desert Lord was more one-paced under Maloney and wound up third to The Harrovian when sent out a $1.70 chance, meeting the North Queensland champ at level weights that day.

He has since turned in a tradesman-like win, albeit after racing wide, at Doomben where Steph Thornton did the steering in another set weights Class 6 Plate.

Maloney jumps back aboard Desert Lord, as Thornton switches to last year’s Buffering winner Deep Image.

“The way he picked them up that day (first up), if he brings that kind of form, he’s definitely a big chance in this race,” Maloney said.

“Second up he wanted to over-race a touch, whereas he didn’t touch the bridle at all in that first up win.

“Whether that big fresh win just took away some of his brilliance for the next run, I’m not sure, but he came out and won again after that.

“The key for me is that David seems very happy with him. He said he has jumped out really smart since that win and when David is prepared to spruik them like that, you really take notice.”

Desert Lord, like a number of Buffering runners, is trying to secure a wildcard into the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on January 16.

Vandyke also has Baccarat Baby, where he has added the blinkers in a bid to just spark a little bit extra from the mare, who hasn’t won since October 2019.

Maloney missed last Saturday’s Eagle Farm meeting after hurting a knee at trackwork, but rode a winner at Doomben on Wednesday after wearing a brace on the knee. He is counting down the days to the Magic Millions Guineas, where he rides the hotpot Isotope.

In her absence from tomorrow’s Vo Rogue Plate, Maloney has picked up the ride on her stablemate Starosa, which looks one of the chances in a very open race.

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