Wingatui stables have a fine chance of winning their first
group two Coupland's Mile at Riccarton today with The
Solitaire and Ric O'Shea engaged.
The Solitaire is trained by Steve Anderton and Ric O'Shea by
Steven Prince, who also has Chaparella engaged in the
$230,000 feature, which was first held in 2005.
The Solitaire will be ridden by Chris Johnson, who has won
the race on Delbrae (2006) and Final Reality (2007).
Johnson rode The Solitaire for the first time when she won
the Couplands Mile Trial at Riccarton 17 days ago, beating
race rival Flash Hapi.
Jamie Bullard is back on Ric O'Shea today.
Ric O'Shea was a last-start winner at Wingatui eight days ago
when ridden by apprentice Alex Forbes.
Bullard has won twice from three rides on the 5yr-old,
including back-to-back wins at Riccarton and Ascot Park in
November and December last year.
Platinum Princess warrants respect. She won the race last
year with 53.5kg and has 55kg this time, 4kg below the top
She was a close-up third to Pero and Zennista at her last
start in the group three 1600m at Trentham on October 27.
Undisclosed has his work cut out carrying the top weight from
barrier 15 but his recent form is first-rate.
Undisclosed has won open 1400m races at Te Rapa and Ellerslie
at his last two starts. He carried 57.5kg at his last start.
Robert Hannam has taken the ride on Princess Katie, winner of
the Pegasus Stakes (1000m) fresh-up last Saturday, in the
$100,000 Stewards Handicap.
Princess Katie is on a quick back-up and Hannam feels that
may be against her. Trainer Kevin Gray would not be backing
the mare up if he had concerns about her progress.
Lisa Allpress, who rode Princess Katie on the first day, had
a previous engagement for El Chico, the Stewards winner last
year. He was a strong-finishing third to Ric O'Shea and
Chaparella at Wingatui on Melbourne Cup Day.
El Chico was ridden that day by Johnson, who rides the
Michael Pitman-trained stablemate, So Elusive.
Pitman has trained the last three Stewards winners, including
a double with Coup Align in 2009-10. All were ridden by
Ginner Hart won his fresh-up start well over 1200m at
Hastings in 1.09.56 with 55kg and has 57kg today.
He has won five of his 12 starts. He was unplaced in the Two
Thousand Guineas last year. His rider today, Noel Harris,
rode O'Cartier who won the 2007 Stewards in a dead heat with
Durham Town, the winner of six of his 14 starts including the
Concorde, is coming in fresh after a trial win at Te Aroha on
The Donna and Dean Logan 5yr-old has not raced since failing
in a Brisbane campaign in May and June.
• The stake for the Tapanui Cup has increased $6000 to
$16,000 for the rating 75 1200m feature at Gore on December