Southern triple crown tilt for Orepuki Lad
Orepuki Lad could add a third cups win to his tally on Saturday. Photo: Wild Range Photography
The Graham and Michael Eade-trained Orepuki Lad has taken out two southern cups this season and the Riverton galloper is being set to add another to the mantle when he contests his home cup on Saturday.
The son of Raise The Flag has won four of his 14 starts, including the Listed Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m) and Invercargill Gold Cup (2600m) and Graham Eade said it would be a great thrill to take out the Listed Carriers Arms Hotel Riverton Cup (2147m) this weekend.
“It would be great to win our home cup. I don’t think it has ever been done before, one horse winning the three cups in a year, it would be great to do it.”
Orepuki Lad is coming off a last start fifth-placing to ill-fated galloper Boots ‘N’ All in the Hororata Gold Cup (1800m) and Eade believes his charge will appreciate the step up in distance on Saturday.
“It was a very good run last start,” he said. “It was only 1800m and there were some very good horses in there and he still ran fifth and wasn’t far off the winner.
“The longer it gets, the better for him.”
The five-year-old gelding will jump from barrier one with regular rider Leah Hemi aboard and the only concern Eade has heading into Saturday is the month between runs.
“He is very good and very well in himself,” he said. “The only problem I have got is that he hasn’t had a run for a month. But I did give him a trial, so hopefully that was enough.
“There are some good horses in there, like Tommy Tucker. He won’t get everything his own way. There are two or three leaders there and it’s going to be tough enough.”
Eade hasn’t made any set plans with Orepuki Lad after Saturday’s assignment, but is contemplating taking his gelding north to Riccarton in a fortnight.
“We’ll see how he goes and we’ll just take it step-by-step,” he said. “There is a race for him at Christchurch in a fortnight, but we will just see how he goes on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the father and son training partnership will line-up two other runners at their home meeting on Saturday.
Consistent galloper Sentient will step up to open company for the first time when he contests the Waiau Hotel Aparima Handicap (1200m), while stablemate Ruakiwi Blaze will tackle the Speight’s & Pankhurst Sawmilling Porakino Handicap (1600m).
“Sentient, he’s a bit of a bridesmaid,” Eade said. “He’s had about five seconds and he has been carrying a lot of weight.
“We couldn’t get into the (rating) 72, so we have put him in the open handicap, which is a big call.
“He’s down in weight to 54kg, where he was carrying 59.5kg. He’s a good bread and butter horse.
“Ruakiwi Blaze, she’s a small wee thing, just like a pony, but she is another one that does her best and will be right there.”