Racing: Talented Natuzzi still learning

Natuzzi extends to win the rating 85 1100m at Omakau yesterday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Natuzzi extends to win the rating 85 1100m at Omakau yesterday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Natuzzi is still a work in progress despite his easy win at Omakau yesterday.

The 4yr-old Coats Choice gelding sat midfield in the rating 85 1100m before jockey Chris Johnson got him out and running at the top of the straight to score by 2 lengths.

The slow (7) track was not playing on the mind of Wingatui trainer Paul Richards prior to the race.

''He won the Southland Guineas on a slow track and the track's not that bad,'' Richards said.

What did concern Richards, even after the race, was Natuzzi's tendency to pull, which has plagued the gelding this campaign.

''The biggest thing with him is trying to get him to relax a bit,'' Richards said.

''Even when he won [at Riccarton] before the New Zealand Cup meeting, he pulled really hard, and in the middle day of the cup meeting, he beat himself a bit by over-racing.''

That said, Richards has no complaints with the progeny of Coats Choice, a Redoute's Choice horse.

''They're good animals. They've got good temperaments and we're having good luck with them.''

The sire has worked well for Natuzzi's owners, Bill and Sandra Duell, of Mosgiel, who also own the Coats Choice gelding Our Santana (one win) and Hernandez (two wins).

They also shared ownership in Lucrative (three wins) and Reconcile (two wins). Natuzzi's record is now five wins from 11 starts.

''We'll probably go to Gore for the open sprint there [on January 19], and then we'll just see.''

Johnson, Monachee prevail John and Karen Parsons may have scratched Alpine Heights from the Clare Memorial Gold Cup, but that did not matter in the wash-up.

Monachee, an O'Reilly mare, was left as the stable's sole representative and did not disappoint, coming from the back of the seven-horse field and poking up the inside to beat Pazejan by three-quarters of a length.

The 6yr-old got stuck wide at Kurow and tardiness from the barriers did not help at Ashburton, but a combination between Monachee and jockey Chris Johnson had worked at Timaru in late November and the trainers opted for the veteran jockey again, replacing Courtney Barnes.

''It was a bit of help having [Chris] Johnson on,'' John Parsons said.

''She has a tendency to lug in, too, and I think a left-hand rider is a help on her.''

The heavy downpour at Omakau on Wednesday, combined with a hard run at Waikouaiti, prompted the scratching of Alpine Heights.

The Parsonswon the race with Alpine Delight, the dam of Alpine Heights, in 2004.

Monachee is owned by Stan Jones of Mossburn, who enjoyed success with Audacious from the Parsons stable. Audacious, by Waikiki Star, won eight flat races including the 2002 Marlborough Cup. He also won two hurdle races.