Opunake Cup and beyond

Opunake Cup and beyond

Horses named from all corners of the globe will be competing in the $65,000 Listed Opunake Cup on Saturday in New Plymouth.

Go Racing’s veteran winter stalwart North and South will try to go one better than last year against 2016 winner, Longchamp and up and comer New York Minute.

However, with a heavy 11 track predicted Racing Manager Matt Allnutt is confident that North and South will handle the conditions better than most.

“The heavier the better for North and South and she also likes it loose, which it promises to be with rain forecast for Friday and Saturday. She had a very strong gallop on Saturday morning and that was repeated on Tuesday. Both times she worked in company on extremely wet tracks and just thrived on it. She is fit and ready to go.”

Samantha Wynne will ride from barrier 8.

Stable mate Thorn Pass will compete at the same meeting in the rating 75 1800 metres worth $25,000. Trainer Lisa Latta was much happier with his second placing at Awapuni last start, “It was the Thorn Pass of old and a very welcome return.” Lisa credits a change in riding tactics to his turn around in form which places him well for Saturday. Hayden Tinsley will be back in the saddle and the step up to 1800 metres suits as he has performed with distinction over ground previously.

Last, but certainly not least for a horse with this much attitude, Black Pearl debuts on Friday in a maiden three-year-old 1200 metres at Te Aroha. A feisty customer, she has taken a while to iron out and still isn’t the finished product.

Stable Foreman at Marsh Racing, Rhys Middleton, says she’s feeling extremely well and, while she will get up over more ground, he is expecting a bold race from her fresh up. “She’s an absolute handful to work with and we trust she will bring that fierceness to the track.”

Alysha Collett, who is currently second on the jockey premiership, will ride.