Our Cup Day - in review

Our Cup Day - in review

Our Cup Day 2019 was a memorable one for the New Zealand Cup placing of Classie Brigade. We also had the two winners early in the programme with Sugar Loaf on debut and Bonnie Highlander back after a long break. There were also good placings for Heisenberg and Nakuru.

Race Two - Sugar Loaf 

A three year old daughter of Sue Dreamer, by Bettor's Delight, Sugar Loaf comes from a great family. A full sister to the well-performed Lovetodream and the recently sold Grand Chico, Sugar Loaf had a big private reputation before debuting today. Parked early, outside the well-favoured Deny Everything, Sugar Loaf receievd cover down the back, before pulling out with her run at the 400m. She quickly swept to the lead at the 200m and while the challenges came hard over closing stages, she was much too strong in holding on for a neck victory. 

Owned by her breeders and great people in Martin and Shirley Cummings, Sugar Loaf impressed John enough with her win to tackle an upcoming Sires Stakes heat.

"I really don't know how good this filly is," said John.

"All I know is that she keeps getting better and better and it would be nice if that continued."

"To race parked like that today was a good effort as that track was very testing."

Sugar Loaf is named after after the birthplace of Hambletonian (Sugar Loaf, New Jersey), a founding sire of the standardbred horse breed. 

Race Three - Bonnie Highlander 1st and Pres Da Belle 6th.

Bonnie Highlander was one of our heavily supported runners today and duly obliged after a six month break in Race Three for owners the Neumanns and Brent Clarke. 

"There's an amazing backstory to this horse," said trainer Robert Dunn after the race.

"First she needed a wind operation, we got that done. Then she had problems with ovarian cysts and she took a long time to get over that. Next she has had to overcome severe seasonal issues. It's only in the last couple of weeks that we have got that sorted and I can't say enough about the huge job that our vet Sam Taylor has done in terms of getting her back for today."

Driver John Dunn also acknowldeged a great group of owners who have been loyal to the stable over many years.

"Great clients and great people," said John.

Robert has always felt that Bonnie Highlander is an open class trotter in waiting and after today's win, she would not look out of place against the better class of trotters. 

Pres Da Belle ran a good race after looping the field to lead over the last lap from her 20m handicap. She peaked on her run turning for home to finish six lengths in receipt of Bonnie Highlander at the line, her time was ironically faster than the winner's in running 6th. 

Race Five - Nakuru - 2nd

While John had been disappointed with Nakuru's first up run, she had already proven herself as a nice filly last season, so the hope was that she could turn around that run. 

From barrier five off, she was quickly off the gate and led until the 2200m where she handed up to favourite Better Fly and was soon three back as that runner was in turn crossed by Wild Excuse inside the 1900m. With a strong pace maintained throughout, the first three runners always looked likely to sort it out for the major spoils. Wild Excuse found three lengths in turning in and held strongly to the line for a two and three quarter length victory. Nakuru finished strongly once clear for second at good odds.

"That was much better today," said John.

"That's more her go, to cross over, take a sit on the markers and then finish stongly.

Race Five - Sundees Son - 11th and Woodstone 12th

There were high hopes for both of the Colin and Nancy Hair trained trotters today, but it was not to be their day. 

Sundees Son galloped mid-race losing all chance, again frustrating John with the mental side of his game. He is looking more and more unlikely to take his place in Friday's Dominion handicap in his current form.

Woodstone was caught wide early at the back and on a hot pace, it was always going to be a tough ask. Driver Bob Butt felt that this was an undoubted factor in his poor performace.

"We were caught out doing work, so I thought it was worth pressing forward to see if we could get into it."

" We were flat getting around them though and he was all done a long way out to be fair."

There will no doubt be some serious discussions to see if either runner take their place on Friday. Both are so much better than what they showed today, but would need to be with both Oscar Bonavena and Marcoola in superb form. 

The Group One trot was won by Australian visitor Tough Monarch which dug in too well for another Aussie McLovin which flew late.

Race Seven - Above N Beyond 11th, Down To The Bone 13th and Mighty Looee 10th.

A race that offered so much hope for the stable, was probably the disappointment of the day.

Above N Beyond (John) lacked speed off the gate early being crossed first by winner One Change and then by Line Up. 

"He got too keen and choked down," said John.

"He's still got plenty to learn."

Mighty Looee (Ross Houghton) was always up against up from the draw, but pleased Ross with his run. After getting around parked early he then ended up three back the outer on the back of Aqua Sancta. When that runner started to stop as far out as the 550m, Mighty Looee got dragged right out the back. After clearing traffic he ran home resolutely in a gap.

"He is a really nice horse," said Ross. 

"He just had no luck after having to work early and then getting stopped in his tracks by Mark's one."

The third of our runners was Down The Bone which followed Above N Beyond but was similarly stopped in his tracks when Above N Beyond stopped.

"He had no hope after Johnny began to stop and eventually broke after a pylon went flying."

All three runners will keep until another occasion.

Race Eight - Heisenberg - 2nd, Jay Tee Tyron 7th

Heisenberg was one of John's favoured runners of the day, but was beaten convincingly after a stunning performance by the All Stars three year old filly Amazing Dream.  

Content to sit parked outside Bettathanfast, Heisenberg always looked to travel well. Off the back he looked the one to beat, but after having to improve wide with her run, Amazing Dream swept up on the turn quickly running to the lead on turning in. While Heisenberg came home strongly again over the last 100m, to cut the margin to a length, the day belonged to the filly.

"I was really diappointed with hin today," said John.

"He is a much better horse than that and was too relaxed if anything.

Jay Tee Tyron got well back, gained a three wide drag into it down the back, but lacked the finishing punch.

"He was only fair today I thought," said Tim Williams.

"We got pushed pretty wide on the turn but he was probably entitled to finish it off a bit better."

Race Twelve - Carlos Bromac - 10th

From the wide draw he settled well back early over the 1980m. He attempted to improve wide with his run from the 1000m, but skipped, losing his gait momentarily. He ran past some beaten ones in the straight and is another that will keep for another occasion. 

The race was won by Tango Tara that proved too good for an unlucky Taxman.

Article by Mike Drury

Posted: Tue 12 Nov 2019