News In Brief
Trainer happy to have missed Guineas
Andrew Campbell is comfortable with his decision to pass up a Group One spring opportunity with his promising three-year-old Athletica.
The Cambridge trainer opted to give the Tavistock colt a rest instead of pressing on to Christchurch for the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
“I’m glad, it was the right call,” Campbell said. “It’s a tough, three-day trip that can knock them around too much. He’s come back well from a break and strengthened up.
“He’s nominated for the Derby and first we’ll try to get him to the Karaka Million race.”
Athletica beat the stakes performers Satin Belt and Scott Base on debut before he was unplaced in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m). He then had a chequered run when out of the money in the Gr.2 Sarten Memorial (1400m).
Allpress facing lengthy spell away
Injured jockey Lisa Allpress has received news she didn’t want to hear and will be out of action for considerably longer than initially hoped for.
The leading rider suffered severe shoulder injuries in a fall at the Hawera jump-outs in October and progress since has been unfortunately slow.
“I went to the surgeon today and I’m going to be another six weeks in a sling on my right side and I’ll know more about the left side in three months and whether it heals or I’ll need an operation,” Allpress said.
“I definitely won’t be back before March, but I’m positive and there are an awful lot more people worse off than me. It could have been so much worse.”
Bright future predicted for green 3YO
Trainer Tony Pike believes Merlini will make his mark in better company as his racing manners improve.
The Cambridge trainer produced the I Am Invincible three-year-old to win at his second start in the Ssangyong Maiden (1100m) at Pukekohe on Wednesday.
“He’s always had a lot of natural ability, but he’s still very much a work in progress,” Pike said.
“When the penny drops and he puts it all together, he’ll be going through the grades pretty quickly.”
Sandrine off to flying start
Highly-regarded filly Sandrine made the perfect start to her career at Pukekohe on Wednesday.
The three-year-old daughter of Savabeel had two trials to prepare her for a winning debut under jockey Leith Innes in the Lone Star Pukekohe Maiden (1200m).
“Her trials were very good and she’s always showed a lot of promise and I think she can go right through the grades,” said Debbie Rogerson, who trains the Joan Egan-bred and raced filly with husband Graeme.
“Leith rode her at the trials and wanted to get on when I lined her up. I rang Joan and asked her if I could nominate her for the New Zealand Oaks, which I’ve done.
“It’s a dream and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet.”