Riccarton features beckon Mr Intelligence

Owner-trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch and jockey Jacob Lowry celebrate with race 2 winner Mr...
Owner-trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch and jockey Jacob Lowry celebrate with race 2 winner Mr Intelligence at Wingatui yesterday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Has Mr Intelligence just loped into contention for the New Zealand Cup with a win at the Otago Racing Club’s meeting at Wingatui yesterday?

The 5yr-old bay gelding cruised past Splendior to win by almost a length in the $15,000 2200m open handicap.

Dr Velocious was another length or so back in third.

It was an impressively easy finish for Mr Intelligence and bodes well for the bigger races coming up.

Jockey Jacob Lowry did not have to do much cajoling at all and Tapanui owner-trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch were delighted with the performance.

They had modest expectations, especially with the weight he was carrying. He had the top weight of 62kg.

"We didn’t expect him to win it with that weight on. We were just happy for him to have a nice solid run, just for fitness more than anything," Nikki Blatch said.

"But we will just keep ticking along and not get too excited."

Blatch thought the track was probably firmer than it looked and "we just told Jake to let him cruise along and we’d be happy if he was just running home".

"We’d have been happy to just be in the first four.

"He definitely had more in the tank at the finish. He is a nice horse — a very nice horse."

Blatch said Mr Intelligence was a relaxed horse who "on a good track has a good turn of foot".

"You can just park him up in a race and when you hit the button, he goes."

The next race on the agenda is the $50,000 Spring Classic over 2000m at Riccarton Park a week today and then on to "the New Zealand Cup, hopefully".

"[Winning] that would be the ultimate and a dream come true. This [effort] does bode well and he’s certainly not without a chance.

"But there’ll be some nice North Island horses come down."

Lowry rode Heberite to a win in the next race to bank his second win of the day, while Kozzi Asano urged Rosie Glow home to win the first race.

It was a big finish down the outside and nice way to start the meeting for the rider.

Asano also won for his Riccarton employer Andrew Carston on Vardon Road in race 5, and for Wingatui trainers Steven Prince (Mint Julep in race 6) and Claire Anderton (Club Spirit in race 8) — a highly successful day for last season’s champion apprentice.


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