Blue Sky At Night will contest the ITM/GIB Whangarei Gold Cup Stayers’ Final (2100m) at Ruakaka on Saturday.  Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Hale seeking to plunder northern winter spoils

Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
10 July 2024

Cambridge trainer Shelley Hale will head north to Ruakaka on Saturday to try and plunder some of the lucrative prizemoney on offer in the Winter Championship Finals.

Leading her charge will be in-form mare Blue Sky At Night who will attempt to claim the lion’s share of the $60,000 purse on offer in the ITM/GIB Whangarei Gold Cup Stayers’ Final (2100m).

The six-year-old daughter of Shamexpress won her first two races this preparation before finishing runner-up behind Khan Hunter in the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga last month.

Hale has been pleased with her progress and is looking forward to testing her on better footing at Ruakaka, which was rated a Soft5 on Wednesday morning.

“She seems in pretty good order,” Hale said. “She is very bright and well, and a bit feisty. She is going very well and it will be interesting transitioning from Heavy tracks to a Good track up there by the look of things. I think over ground she is still well suited.”

Hale said Blue Sky At Night will likely head for a spell following her weekend test and will be prepared for some stakes targets later this year.

“We thought that we would head towards this series, and she will probably have a short spell after this and we will get her ready for something in late spring, early summer,” Hale said.

“I think she is going well enough at the moment to look at something like the Counties Cup (Gr.3, 2100m) and see how we go from there.”

Hale will also head north on Saturday with well-related three-year-old Talentoso, a Tarzino gelding out of a half-sister to multiple Group One winner and now sire Turn Me Loose, who will contest the $60,000 ITM/GIB Progressive Winter Championship Final (1600m).

“He has got a little bit of pedigree going for him,” Hale said. “He is doing a nice enough job, he didn’t have a lot of luck early on. He is going to be a better horse with another six months on him, he is still a little bit weak.”

Talentoso won two starts back before he was freshened and given one lead-in run last week ahead of this weekend’s lucrative target.

“We gave him a week in the paddock after his win (two starts back) and gave him the run over 1400m last Saturday just to clean the pipes to be ready for this Saturday,” Hale said.

“There is this nice prizemoney on offer and for a long time we have all grizzled about not enough prizemoney, so we thought we would have a look at this.

“He will probably have a month out after this and then we will get him a going a bit later in the spring too.”

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