Cup hope in fine fettle

Racing Desk
27 December 2017

Michael Pitman has sounded words of warning to Son Of Maher’s rivals on Thursday.

The Riccarton horseman, who trains with his son Matthew, said the five-year-old would strip in better order for The Craigmore Timaru Cup (1600m).

Son of Maher Photo: Race Images

“He’s improved since Trentham and he looks fantastic.”

Son Of Maher dead-heated for first with Shadows Cast in the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) before he finished seventh, but only two and a-half lengths off Kawi in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m).

“He got shuffled back across the top, the plan had been to ride him reasonably forward,” Pitman said.

A return to Trentham is on Son Of Maher’s programme with at least one appearance during the Wellington Cup carnival.

“He’s certainly going to run in the Anniversary and then there is the option of the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile or bring him back here,” Pitman said.

“I was pretty keen on the White Robe Lodge, but that’s been changed to weight-for-age. It doesn’t have the same appeal now, I think it’s ridiculous.

“There’s probably only a couple of horses in the South Island that weight-for-age suits.”

Meanwhile, Pitman confirmed the stable is keen on running the Dream Ahead three-year-old Sensei in the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) rather than the Gr.1 Grants Plumbing Levin Classic (1600m).

“At this stage we think he’s better off at the shorter distance,” he said.

Sensei was an effortless winner at Wingatui on Boxing Day in his first appearance since finishing fifth in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) after being forced over extra ground by a wayward runner.

“He lost 15 lengths and got beaten by seven,” Pitman said. “He was very impressive yesterday and Chris (Johnson) will have to make a decision whether he rides Starvoia or him in the Telegraph.” – NZ Racing Desk.

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