Casino Princess earns Tauranga Classic shot

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  • May 13, 2024
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Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
12 May 2024

A black-type assignment is looming on the horizon for Casino Princess after she capped a consistent formline with victory in Saturday’s Macmillan Accountants (1560m) at Rotorua.

The five-year-old daughter of Casino Prince went into Saturday’s race as the winner of three of her nine career starts. She had placed in another four, including all of her three previous appearances in her current preparation.

Casino Princess resumed with a third behind Freeze Frame at Matamata in late February, then was runner-up at Tauranga to the subsequent Gr.3 Easter Handicap (1600m) placegetter Chatahoochee. In her last start at Te Rapa on April 14, Casino Princess had a tough three-wide run and rider Tayla Mitchell dropped her whip, but she still finished a close second behind Zantabulous.

Saturday’s $35,000 Rating 75 race marked a deserved breakthrough for Casino Princess. She jumped well from the inside gate and was given an economical run by jockey Michael McNab, settling in fourth behind Madame Le Fay, Extortion and Nigella Lane.

McNab moved across heels coming up to the home turn and brought Casino Princess cruising up on the outside of Extortion at the top of the straight. McNab released the brakes and Casino Princess quickly opened up a clear lead.

Resuming stayer Pacheco stormed home in the last 150m to provide a late scare, but Casino Princess was far enough in front and held on by a long head.

“There was a good speed and I just sat behind that, then tracked up,” McNab said. “She got out at the right time and won well.

“She’s in solid form. I’ve been annoying the connections for a little while to get on her, and I finally got on her today. I was a little bit surprised by how big she is, but she’s got a good winning attitude.”

From 10 starts, Casino Princess has now recorded four wins, two seconds and two thirds. She has earned $64,610 for her Tauranga owner-trainer Cliff Goss and co-owner Darryl Heaphy.

Goss has now set his sights on a home-track feature on June 22 – the Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m).

“I’m very pleased with that,” the remarkable 92-year-old trainer said. “When she galloped at home the other day, I thought she went good enough that day to win a Railway (Gr.1, 1200m), and here we are at Rotorua in May.

“There’s a fillies and mares’ race at Tauranga coming up next month, and that’s going to be her next target. She has to go up into open company now. You don’t know how they’ll cope with that until you try them, but I think she can take the step up into that level.”

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