The Timaru Cup is not the solitary goal for The Solitaire
The O'Reilly mare has the Trentham Stakes on January 19 as
her target race, and Wingatui trainer Steve Anderton is
worried she enjoyed her time off after her spring campaign a
little too much.
She ran a meritorious fourth to Nashville in the group 2
Coupland's Bakeries Mile in November, although her staying
credentials did not quite suit in the end.
''I just felt she was really ready to step to more ground,''
''She's more a staying type of horse and while she can get
away with the mile fresh up, I thought probably that third
run up, she lacked that sprint those other three had on
Anderton gave the 5yr-old 10 days off after the mile on
November 14 and he is conscious of her fitness.
''I'm picking she won't be too far from them, but she's just
done a wee bit too well [during her time off] and she'll
benefit from the run,'' he said.
''Whether she's a winning chance... she's probably more a
place chance, I think.
Her draw of 11 will also force the hand of jockey Chris
Johnson, especially as Anderton does not want the mare to
work too hard.
The Solitaire may need the run in the listed Timaru Cup
today, trainer Steve Anderton says. Photo by Tayler Strong.
''I don't want to be caught three wide, so she'll
probably have to slot in somewhere and [Johnson will] give her
the opportunity in the straight. I'm looking for a forward
showing from her and we'll just go from there.''
El Chico backs up from his big Wingatui run for second,
stepping up another 400m in distance. He carries 59kg, while
The Solitaire will carry 57kg.
The Steven Prince-trained Chaparella is another Otago
contender in the $50,000 feature, although she only drops 1kg
from the 54kg she carried to third in the easier Queenstown
Cup at Cromwell on December 2. Prince has added side winkers
to the mare while he has also switched the bit on Ric O'Shea,
taking a tongue control bit off and putting a lugging bit on.
The Riccarton pair of Keep The Conflict and Essential shape
as fine chances.