Cup day stable highlights
As it is every year, Cup Day was a fantastic occasion. From a stable point of view the highlights included Group One placings to both Woodstone and Heisenberg, while Kensington Kate was a good winner on the support card.
Woodstone was taking a major step up in company in the Trotters Free-For-All and did not disappoint. Caught wide early from his wide draw, John was forced to press forward and sit parked outside the favourite Speeding Spur. He appeared to settle perfectly once on the speed and matched motors with the hot favourite as they trotted down the back in a comfortable 62.3 half. At the 400m, Woodstone momentarily put his head in front before the leader rallied back as the pace really started to be applied. After cornering poorly, Woodstone conceded Speeding Spur three lengths at the 200m, before again knuckling down with his charge. In a get off the canvas performance he charged home late, only missing victory by a head in a courageous effort.
John was delighted with the horse's performance, but was left lamenting what could have been, had he handled the last bend better.
"He's lost a fair bit of momentum around that last bend and to get going again like he did, well it suggests he's a pretty good horse doesn't it."
Owner Colin Hair was also over the moon with the run.
"I'm pretty sure that is the best placing I have ever had in a Group One, so I've got to be happy."
"He doesn't look like he should be tough, but he sure is."
Woodstone will again have his chance against Speeding Spur and newcomers to the meet in Marcoola, Great Things Happen and Harriet Of Mot on Friday. After yesterday's run, it would be foolish to not consider him a big chance.
Heisenberg was drawn to lead in the Sires Stakes and lead he did after charging the gate from barrier two. He then proceeded to dominate the race from the front for John, with stablemate Stars Tonight three back on the inside after going rough early and missing the trail on the stablemate's back.
While facing pressure from a string of All Stars runners early Heisenberg was able to get away with a comfortable lead time as they passed the mile peg. After a comfortable first quarter in 29.9, the pressure started to be stepped up as hotpot Ultimate Sniper arrived to occupy the parked position. A 28.7 quarter down the back broke the hearts of most as Heisenberg, Ultimate Sniper and Jesse Duke cleared away from the others. A 26.8 second last quarter saw Ultimate Sniper and then Jesse Duke run past Heisenberg at the 100m with the former taking victory after a producing a massive run.
Heisenberg had given his all and had produced a mighty run for his connections. Ultimately his keenness to get going down the back proved costly late in the race.
"He got real keen on me and I knew that would hurt us at the business end," said John.
"Absolutely thrilled with him though as he's given everything he had."
Stars Tonight run on strongly to finish 5th after losing valuable ground down the backstraight.
Driver Ross Houghton was stoked with his horse's run.
"It was just a shame that he went a bit rough early and we missed the trail. Then he went rough on me at the 600m after I pulled the pins."
"He's still got home really good though hasn't he. He's going to be a really nice horse."
Yesterday's New Zealand Cup saw a significant milestone for the stable with five of the 15 starters. Unfortunately it was too big of a challenge for our guys with a combination of the bad draws and frenetic pace set by pacemaker Dream About Me not allowing any to get into the race.
"Tiger Tara's run was just phenomenal," said John.
"He had no right to do what he did."
"None of the rest of us could get into it as the pace never relaxed."
The two best performed runners from the stable - Letspendanitetogetha and Alta Orlando will back up in Friday's NZ Free-For-All.
The sole winner for the day was the mare Kensington Kate in Race Five. Beaten for early speed, she pozzied up early outside the leader, before running to the lead at the 1800m. Happy to hand up to favourite Miss You for the last 1400m, she received a beautiful run the trip, getting up in the shadows of the post to claim the win, over a very game Miss You. Feel The Money was a huge run for 5th after missing away early.
"She got quite fired up beforehand," said driver Matt Anderson.
"She broke before we even got to the start point and put in a big run after that for 5th."
Probably the "what should have been" run for the day yesterday was that of Sundees Son in Race Three. After racing parked the trip outside Missandei, he cruised to the lead at the 400m. He seemed to be doing all he needed to when he broke for seemingly no reason at the 150m.
"That was a real bugger," said John.
"I did feel that he was going to hold on, but he can do that sort of thing from time to time."
He will back up against a very similar lot on Friday and will no doubt go out a very short priced favourite.
Henry Hubert was beaten out of the gate early on in the junior free-for-all, made a run to park from the 800m, but then peaked on his effort over the last 100m to run 6th, beaten three lengths.
"I was happy with him too," said John.
"They've gone 3.08 for the 2600m and he kept sticking on so I'm not disappointed."
Henry Hubert will also back up against a similar field on Friday.
Posted: Wed 14 Nov 2018