Improved track does the trick for Carnival
A classy first-up performance on the improved track conditions at Riccarton on Saturday has set progressive mare Carnival on a path to the major sprint features at the venue during New Zealand Cup Week.
Co-trainer Kevin Hughes believes the Showcasing four-year-old is capable of footing it at a higher level and will attempt to pick a path to the Gr. 3 Lindauer Stewards Stakes in November with her.
|Carnival Photo: Race Images South|
“She has always appealed as a handy type but she has come back so much stronger this time in,” he said.
“When she was walking out of the birdcage on Saturday I had a good look at her and she was just a ball of muscle whereas last season she seemed a little bit soft and pudgy.
“We thought enough of her to take her to Awapuni for a nice three-year-old race in her last campaign but she struck a very wet track which she just hates.
“That just confirmed we had to keep her to the better tracks so I was pleased to see it come up a Dead6 on Saturday which suited her perfectly.”
Hughes was also pleased to see the mare’s improved racing manners pay dividends after apprentice Tanya Jonker settled her in the trail throughout the 1000 metre contest.
“Last year she wanted to take off and race pretty fiercely so it was good to see her settle when she took a trail this time,” he said.
“If she is going to get through the grades that will be an important part of her development so I’m pleased to see that first-up.
“There are plenty of options coming up for her so we can pick and choose a path to Cup Week but if she can continue to get better then she could sneak into a race like the Stewards on a very handy weight.”
The win was also a milestone for Hughes and wife Pam as it was the 100th victory for their partnership. - NZ Racing Desk