Aquacade kicking off spring mission in Matamata Cup

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  • October 06, 2023
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By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Classy mare Aquacade was dominant in staying company last season and commences an exciting spring campaign in a competitive Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup (1600m) on Saturday.

The daughter of Dundeel had a stellar four-year-old season, winning four of her eight starts including victories in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) and the Dunstan Stayer’s Championship Final (2400m) for owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud.

“She’s good, she’s fresh-up over a mile which is a bit of a task for her, but we’ve got to kick her off somewhere and it fits in nicely,” trainer Lance Noble said.

“She’s had two nice trials that we were happy with, but with the wet weather last week the Cup has come up really strong, so she’ll improve with whatever she does and we’re pretty happy with her at this stage.”

A quality feature field has assembled following wet weather plaguing tracks across the North Island in recent weeks, resulting in Noble’s mare contesting the likes of Group One-winning mares Legarto and La Crique, alongside quality geldings in White Noise and last year’s victor Paisley Park.

“I think she’ll run a nice race, both of those two mares have had a run under their belt and are top-class so we’re up against it with them at this point in her campaign, but we have to get her going so it’s a nice race to kick-off,” Noble said.

Aquacade will use Saturday’s race as a stepping stone in what could be a lucrative campaign, Noble initially targeting next month’s Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m), before freshening her for the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2050m) on Boxing Day.

Aquacade is a $9 third favourite for the Matamata Cup, behind Legarto at $1.70 and La Crique at $7.

Noble will also line-up Luberon, who is an $8 joint second favourite for next month’s Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, in the Matamata Veterinary Services – Equine 3YO (1400m) on Saturday.

Luberon was stakes-placed as a two-year-old in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) and opened her three-year-old campaign with a bold win at Te Rapa under Warren Kennedy, who is aboard again at Matamata.

“She’s come through her first-up win really well, I thought that win was very strong, and she’s come on from then and is really thriving at the moment,” Noble said.

“She’s back against her own age group so there are two or three really nice three-year-olds in that field that will give us a good guide of where we go with her, but I think she’s up to it.”

A strong showing on Saturday will see Luberon head to the Gr.2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) on October 28, a key lead-up event for Northern-based fillies before making the journey to Riccarton Park for the Guineas on the final day of New Zealand Cup Week.

Noble’s final runner at the Matamata meeting will be Iffin Doubt Dance, the consistent daughter of Iffraaj contesting the Comag Ltd Rating 65 (1400m).

“She’s fresh-up this campaign and 1400m is probably short of her best distance, I think she needs to get out to 1500m or further but she’s trialled up really well so I expect her to go a pretty bold race fresh,” he said.

“It’s probably a bit short but I wouldn’t be surprised if she put a good run in.”

Noble’s Karaka stable already produced a stunning victory this week, lightly-raced four-year-old Dazzled storming home wide from near last to take out the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) at Tauranga on Wednesday. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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