Cork ready to break bridesmaid run in Group Three

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  • September 20, 2023
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By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Talented mare Cork will return to stakes company on Saturday in the Gr.3 Hunterville Vet Club Metric Mile (1600m) at Awapuni, following her successful southern mission last month when recording another stakes placing.

Trained in partnership by Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard, Cork has been relatively lightly raced for a six-year-old, and in just 15 starts the mare demonstrated her affinity with heavy tracks, recording four wins and two stakes placings and amassing more than $100,000 in stakes.

Following a tidy win over 1400m at Tauranga in July, the mare ventured south to Riccarton Park for the Grand National Carnival, almost pulling off her first stakes victory in the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) when storming home from well back to finish second behind Belardo Boy.

“She’s a really honest mare and hopefully there’s a bit of cut in the track, there’s a bit of rain around and it’s a really good race for her, so that’s why we’ve targeted it,” Gerard said.

“She was huge down in Christchurch and had a bit of a let-up after that, she’s come back pretty willing in her work, so she’s pretty spot on for something like this.”

The daughter of Complacent will contest the Awapuni feature as a potential lead into the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) three weeks later at Hastings.

“She’ll head to Awapuni this weekend so she’s unlikely to run in the mile (Gr.1 Arrowfield Plate, 1600m) on the second day at Hastings, but depending on the track we’re keeping our options for the 2000m (Livamol Classic) on the last day.”

Ballymore Stables will be represented in healthy numbers across the other three North Island venues through the week, with six runners heading to Matamata on Wednesday, including promising gelding Mineshaft in the RBC Racing 1600m.

The Merchant Navy four-year-old has had just the three raceday appearances for three minor placings, coming from behind last start to close well behind Strathtay, who subsequently scored again when stepping up in class last Sunday.

“Mineshaft was probably a bit unlucky last start, he’s going super and given the right trip he’d be very hard to beat,” Gerard said.

Also contesting the opening event is three-year-old stablemate Juwala, who faced a hot field last-start on debut at Te Rapa when finishing back in the field, Gerard seeing the step up in distance on Wednesday a positive for the gelding.

“He was chucked in the deep end with some pretty good three-year-old’s last time, it probably looked worse than what it was and he’s a horse I’ve got a bit of time for,” she said.

“Stepping up to the mile will be right up his alley.”

Also among the stable’s chances will be lightly-tried Redwood four-year-old Fancy Like, contesting the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m).

“She was very good last start, obviously she’d had a wee way between runs then but she’ll be fitter this time and won’t be too far from them,” Gerard said.

Also appearing at Matamata will be Candy Flip in the Waharoa Industrial Park 1400m, Onlywords To Trade in the Robert Bruce Clothier Memorial 2000m, and Contributor mare Claimed Gift, who will make her raceday debut in the Christmas At The Races 22nd Dec 2023 1200m.

“Claimed Gift is a mare that’s taken a bit of time, she’s looking to get over a bit further ground but she’s got a nice draw and she’ll put herself there in the race,” Gerard said.

“We’ve been a bit held up trying to get trials into these older horses with the trials consistently being deleted, so unfortunately for her she’s a mare that’s got some ability but probably needs the run for education.”

Elsewhere, the Moroney/Gerard combination will have runners at both Tauranga on Saturday and Rotorua on Sunday, the latter meeting including last-start victor Chancellor and promising maidener Bubalina. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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