Foes become allies at Ashburton

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  • July 07, 2023
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Northern apprentice Kelsey Hannan and Canterbury mare Athene have been rivals in their last two meetings, but the pair will unite at Ashburton on Thursday in the Dunstan Horsefeeds 2200.

Hannan has ridden the Ken Rae and Krystal Williams-trained Zelenski to defeat Athene in both the Waimate and Amberley Cups, and trainer Terri Rae is pleased to now have the 20-year-old hoop on her side.

Rae said her mare will appreciate the step up from a mile to 2200m and is hoping she can shed her bridesmaid tag on the Heavy8 surface.

“She has been going great races. She is a really genuine, honest mare,” Rae said.

“Kelsey Hannan has beaten her in both of her last starts. We have got her on tomorrow, giving two kilos off, so hopefully that will help us.

“Being by Raise The Flag, she likes a bit of ground, so the distance will suit her as well.”

While she holds a nomination for the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton next month, Rae said she will wait to see how her mare performs on Thursday before making any concrete plans.

“It is just a little up in the air what she will do,” she said. “Whether she freshens up and goes to the Winter Cup, we will just see what happens tomorrow. The weather will also play a factor.”

If Athene continues on her current trajectory, Rae said they may look at stakes targets in the spring with the rising eight-year-old.

“We might look at something like the Spring Classic (Listed, 2000m) if it looked like she warrants going there. The distance suits her there as well,” Rae said.

Rae has also secured Hannan’s services for her other runner on Thursday, Facetime in the Agraforum Growing Innovation (1600m).

The broodmare paddock is beckoning the Ocean Park mare, however, her connections would love to add another win to her record before her retirement from racing.

“The two kilos off will be good. Kelsey is riding well and it is nice to have her on,” Rae said.

“She (Facetime) has been waiting for those wet tracks. She had a couple (of starts) on the poly, which she was okay in, but she really does like rain-affected tracks.

“She is only here for another start or two and then she will be bred from next season.”

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