ART UNION AND ALPHA ROCK TO TARGET CUP DAY FREE-FOR-ALL
Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has withdrawn 16th-ranked Art Union, and his 23rd-ranked half-brother Alpha Rock from the $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup on Tuesday, November 14.
Both were not realistic cup hopes. They will target the fast class junior free-for-all on NZ Cup day instead.
Cran said Art Union had shown no sign of soreness this week, despite a post-race vet examination after last Saturday’s Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup, suggesting the horse had hip pain.
The vet examination was ordered by stewards after Art Union broke stride following the finish last Saturday.
He is set to take his place in Sunday’s PGG Wrightson Hannon Memorial at Oamaru.
“Art Union raced against the best of his age in his three-year-old racing but after having 20 months away from racing he’s returned straight into free-for-all racing,” Cran said.
“Its basically been a big shock for him. To race in the cup he would have to find 10 lengths and then find another 10 lengths.”
The Art Major entire will be looking to improve on a sixth and a seventh in two Addington starts since returning as a six-year-old this month.
He is to be tried with the addition of sliding blinds this week.
Half-brother Alpha Rock is shaping well after after a brief freshener.
A last-start Addington winner over Lovetodream on July 28, the eight-win Rock N Roll Heaven gelding resumed at the Rangiora trials last week (September 13), leading up to hold stablemate Bonnie Joan by a length in 2:30.6 (2000m).
He returned to the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday, September 20, and again led up for catch-driver John Dunn, from Bonnie Joan (Cameron Jones).
This time he was swamped late by other useful intermediate grade pacers in Sparkling Delight (three back) and Whittaker (five back) in the rating 68 and faster free-for-all trial with little between the first four.
Sparkling Delight, trained and driven by Gerard O’Reilly, won by a neck in 2:30.2 (mobile 2000m), the leaders running their last 800m in 56.4s in the cool conditions.
Alpha Rock was a head away third, with Bonnie Joan, a close-up fourth, a further half-head away.
Kentuckiana Lodge new season 3YO Pat’s Delight had another conditioning run with a run in behind in the Rating 59-62 mobile 2000m pace.
A winner at last week’s trials in 2:34.1 (mobile 2000m) after mixing his gait on the home turn, he went to the line keen to do more this week without a clear run in the straight.
Pat’s Delight, who last raced in May, won three of six two-year-old starts and is gearing up for a return to Sires Stakes racing.
Front-running The Brooklyn Brawler (John Dunn) held trailer All U Need Is Faith in this heat by half a length in 2:32.1, with the leaders running their last 800m in 56.6s and final 400m in 28.1s.
Donegal Davy Boyd, who last raced at Auckland in May, led up in a non-win pace for Cameron Jones but was outfinished late by trailer Awayovernight.
The Grant Payne-trained Awayovernight, driven by Matt Anderson, won by a neck in 2:32.5 for the mobile 2000m, the leaders picking up the pace over the last 800m in 56.3s and closing 400m in 28.3s.
Linton Shard, who last raced in March, is another for the Kentuckiana Lodge team on the way up again.
Unplaced at last week’s trials, the two-win pacer trailed three and four back and held his spot in the run home in the rating 52-57 mobile 2000m pace, won by Enchantee in 2:33.7, the last 800m in 57.9s.