Carnival great prospect in Riccarton sprint if track remains hard

Kevin Hughes
Kevin Hughes
All eyes will be on the sky before gun sprinter Carnival lines up on her home track at Riccarton today.

The Kevin and Pam Hughes-trained mare relishes hard ground and should get it as long forecast rain holds off.

Carnival opened the fixed-odds favourite for today’s open 1000m sprint.

She comes into the event  on the back of a tough run for sixth after drawing 15 in the group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham last month.

"We were very pleased. If  [jockey] Cameron Lammas had had a marble it would have made it so much easier for her because she was facing the breeze and had to work very hard . . . ," Kevin Hughes said.

"It gave us an idea of where we are at and if she is in the top 10 of sprinters in the country then that is pretty good."

Carnival had bounced back from the run quickly.

"After the race she was absolutely stuffed. It was a very hot day and she had given it her all. That night she ate her tucker and we came home, and really it does not seem to have worried her.

"Really, we don’t know until we get back to the races  . . .  but she seems to be quite happy in herself."

Carnival requires firm footing, the kind of conditions the Riccarton track has offered this week, to show her best. Some rain  is forecast in Christchurch this afternoon, which would  not help her chances.

"Even Wellington [rated  dead4] was too was too soft for her. It was a nice track, but it played to the horses that wanted give in the track," Hughes said.

Carnival clashes with former Telegraph winner Signify who failed in his attempt to defend his 2017 crown.

The Alex Cowan-trained sprinter bounced back from that defeat with a solid third behind Tomm Jones at Wingatui last weekend.

Mr Typhon looks one of the best lightweight prospects.

He was not comfortable in his last start at Gore and was found to have minor leg injuries after the race.

Last weekend’s Dunedin Gold Cup winner, Who Dares Wins, was installed an early fixed-odds favourite for the open 1800m.

The Tony and Lyn Prendergast-trained 5yr-old will clash with former Brisbane Cup winner, Benzini.

The 8yr-old, trained by Adrian and Harry Bull at Hunterville,  has won or placed in eight of his 10 starts at Riccarton.

Boots N All, a last-start winner of the Timaru Stakes for Riccarton trainer Lance Robinson and jockey Jacob Lowry,  also has serious winning claims. 

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