Manawatu Cup gets McKay’s attention

Racing Desk
22 December 2017


A change of tack has Awapuni the immediate focus for the in-form stayer Clarify.

Matamata trainer Peter McKay had originally targeted Ellerslie as the Savabeel gelding’s next port of call until the focus switched to Saturday’s Gr.3 Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup (2100m).

Clarify Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

“His work has been exceptional and we were going straight to the Dunstan Feeds Final on New Year’s Day, but I said to (owner) Joe Smithies that we’d have a crack at this race,” McKay said.

“He’s down in the weights and the field isn’t that strong.”

The Dunstan Feeds Championship Final (2200m) on the last day of the Auckland carnival is still on Clarify’s radar, although victory on Saturday would change that.

“He’s raced a week apart before so we can still go to Ellerslie,” McKay said.

“If we win though, we’ll take him out of the Dunstan and I wouldn’t be disappointed to be doing that.”

Clarify won for the fourth time in his career when successful last time out over 2100m at Ellerslie.

McKay will also be represented at Awapuni by Karaka Million (1200m) hope Cassius Clay in the NZ Bakels 2YO Premier (1100m) and the black type performer Barcelo in the Property Brokers Premier (1200m).

The latter showed encouraging form as a three-year-old with a second placing in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) and a close fifth in the Gr.2 Sarten Memorial (1400m) behind the subsequent Group One winner Ugo Foscolo.

However, Barcelo failed to fire when he returned earlier this season and was turned out after an unplaced effort at Ruakaka in July.

“He went off the boil so we gave him a spell,” McKay said. “He’s come back well and he normally goes well fresh, he’s quite forward.” – NZ Racing Desk.

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