Spiro (far side) is a long head from beating Shez Sinsational in the Auckland Cup in March. Spiro heads the field for the New Zealand Cup tomorrow. Photo by NZ Herald.
Spiro looks set to give Sylvia Kay, the Levin trainer, her
third New Zealand Cup at Riccarton tomorrow.
Kay won the New Zealand Cup in 1995 and 1998 with Sapio.
Brian Hibberd rode the horse in 1995 and Darryl Bradley in
Hibberd won a record five New Zealand Cups.
His other victories were on Payco (1982), Exocet (1993),
Karaoke (1993) and Waltermitty (2004).
Spiro stormed home late for a close third to the deadheaters
Savvy Dancer and Jeu de Cartes over 2100m at Awapuni 13 days
Spiro showed he would find no problem with the 3200m after
finishing a long head second behind Shez Sinsational in the
Auckland Cup in March.
The Pyrus 7yr-old has to carry top weight of 60kg. Sapio
carried 59kg in 1998, the heaviest weight carried to success
since metrics were introduced in 1973.
Chapinta has fashioned a tidy record with four wins from
The 6yr-old High Chaparral mare had won three races on end
before being outfinished by New Zealand Cup rival Sou'east
over 2400m at Trentham on October 27.
Leith Innes has the mount.
Innes won the Cup in 2009 on Myscotsgrey, trained by Shaune
Ritchie. Innes was also successful in the group three race on
Trebla in 2005.
Miss Isle was finishing on as well as any runner behind Kullu
The diminutive 5yr-old is trained by Frank Ritchie (Shaune's
father), who won the New Zealand Cup with Showcause two years
Dancing Embers caught the eye when second, albeit eight
lengths from Kullu, last Saturday. Dancing Embers is the
mount of Kylie Williams, who is looking to uphold the fine
record of female riders in the race. Maree Lyndon was
successful aboard Sirtain in 1982, Jan Cameron (Old Thymer,
1996), Lee Rutherford (Laud Peregrine, 1997), and Kelly Myers
Kullu spreadeagled the field in the Metropolitan Handicap and
it will be interesting if David Walsh can employ those
tactics over 3200m.
Marea Alta won an open 2200m at Ellerslie two starts back in
a manner which suggests the Montjeu mare is a grand chance to
give rider Noel Harris his fifth New Zealand Cup victory.
Harris rode Wake Forest, Mika, Pentathon and Everswindell to
win the race.
The winner last year, Blood Brotha, fought determinedly for
fourth in the Metropolitan.
He carried 53.5kg last year and has 53kg tomorrow.
Another proven group performer, Single Minded, could also
feature in the New Zealand Cup, The New Zealand Herald
He won two group two 2400m features last campaign.
Single Minded has not raced since a thwarted Melbourne Cup
campaign but Matamata trainer Graham Richardson was thrilled
with his final hit-out before flying to Christchurch late
"He galloped over 2000m and come home over the last three
[furlongs] in 38 and pulled up not even blowing," Richardson
"He's a very fit horse - he's just got to be good enough."
Single Minded had four starts in Victoria, the most promising
of which was a sixth in the listed Bart Cummings Stakes
(2500m) at Flemington on October 6.
The Bachelor Duke gelding finished an inexplicable eighth of
eight next up over 3000m with James McDonald aboard at Moonee
Valley on October 26.
"Vets reckon he was sore behind and you could just see that.
He might have twinged something in the race but whatever it
was he's fine now."
Single Minded has only tried 3200m once before when 11th as
second-fancy in the $500,000 Auckland Cup on March 7.
Richardson said bettors should read nothing into that miss
when assessing his chances tomorrow.
"He pulled very hard to get to the front and was three, four
and five wide and still in front half-way up the straight.
Single Minded will carry 54.5kg with Craig Grylls back on.
Highlights for the pair last campaign were winning the group
two City of Auckland Cup, carrying 54.5kg, and the Avondale
Cup with 1kg more.