Cousins hold key to Wingatui features

Alysha Collett
Alysha Collett
Samantha Collett
Samantha Collett

Back Collett and get the cash.

That could be the lead that steers punters into a winner in the two listed Champions Day features at Wingatui today.

Cousins Samantha and Alysha Collett look to have both the Dunedin Gold Cup and the Dunedin Guineas at their mercy.

Samantha has been recruited to handle the Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong-trained favourite, Excelleration, in the Dunedin Guineas.

Alysha will ride Excelleration’s main rival, The Sparkle, for Woodlands trainers the Dennis brothers and Robert Dennis.

Excelleration was a powerful winner of the listed Gore Guineas last month, coming from a long way off the pace to down Kiwi Ida, Pipiana and The Sparkle.

Excelleration was prepared by Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley for her Gore run and officially joined the Kennedy-Furlong stable at Riccarton after the race.

The filly will also have a new rider, with Collett taking over from Kylie Williams.

Going by the way she hit the line in the 1355m Gore Guineas the 1600m of today’s race should not hold any fears for her.

‘‘She is good. She has come through the Gore Guineas without any issues and she has been quite happy here at Riccarton,’’ Furlong said.

‘‘We do not know the horse all that well — we have only had her since she came from Gore — but she seems right on track and there is no reason to expect a differing run.’’

The Wingatui track was pelted with rain on Thursday, but Furlong does not think a rain-affected surface will affect Excelleration.

The Sparkle will also have a change of jockey, as Alysha Collett takes over from Shankar Muniandy.

The Darci Brahma filly went a big race in the Gore Guineas when fighting on for fourth. She and Pipiana went to war before the home turn and were run down by Excelleration who had a cold shot at them.

The John and Karen Parsons-trained filly Kiwi Ida is another strong contender. Should track conditions deteriorate badly it would only bring the proven wet-tracker further into contention.

Alysha Collett looks to have the edge over Samantha in the 2400m Dunedin Gold Cup.

Alysha will reunite with the Terri Rae-trained Aspen Lass, hoping to replicate their effortless win in the 2500m Metropolitan Trophy at Riccarton in November.

Since her win, Aspen Lass had a luckless run in the Timaru Cup and hit the line with purpose in the group 3 Trentham Stakes behind Von Tunzelman last month.

Samantha Collett’s ride, Pendleton, does not boast those kind of quality formlines but she was also a winner during New Zealand Cup week.

That win has been the starting point for the Kennedy and Furlong-trained galloper to rocket through the grades to race in open company today.

‘‘She has just stepped up. Once she has got over a bit more ground she is just finding her stride,’’ Furlong said.

‘‘For a 4yr-old mare to be winning like she did last start [at Timaru on December 28] we would like to think she is a nice lightweight chance.’’

‘‘We don’t think the trip is going to bother her at all and Sam knows her really well.’’

The horse would also relish a rain-affected track, Furlong said.

Other leading prospects for the Dunedin Gold Cup include Gore Cup winner Who Dares Wins, topweight and mudlark The Gordonian, and Son Of Zac.

Add a Comment