Green Luck reigns supreme in Canterbury Gold Cup

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  • April 22, 2024
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Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

The trend of big wins for lower-profile stables during Riccarton’s autumn carnival continued in the Gr.3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) on Saturday, where well-travelled veteran Green Luck delivered a career highlight for Timaru trainer Stephanie Faulkner.

The $120,000 weight-for-age feature followed hard on the heels of last Saturday’s inaugural $350,000 TAB Southern Alps Challenge (1600m), which was won by Matscot for local owner-trainer-breeder Sharon Robertson.

Green Luck ran an eye-catching seventh in that race last weekend, crossing the line three and a half lengths behind the winner, and he backed up seven days later and did something very special for Faulkner and his owners.

Ridden by Kylie Williams in Saturday’s Canterbury Gold Cup, Green Luck jumped from gate two and soon strode forward to take the lead. He was able to set a sedate pace down the back of the track, and then Williams began to up the ante coming down the side.

Green Luck’s race appeared to be coming to an end as Harlech and Dazzling Miss collared him in the straight, but the nine-year-old summoned another mighty effort to claw his way back into the lead and prevail by a half-neck.

“That was a good win,” Williams said. “Steph didn’t really want me in front, but he jumped so well. I thought that if we could dictate the race, he’d be pretty hard to roll after he produced such a good performance under 60kg last week.

“Down the back, I was thinking ‘Where are they?’ So I had a sneaky look back and they were a wee way behind me, but he was doing it easily and I got some pretty soft sectionals. From about the 800m and 700m, I quickened them and quickened them.

“He got headed in the straight, but he stuck to his guns and came back. I thought he’d battle away and end up about sixth, but then I was like, ‘Oh, he’s coming back again here. Come on, buddy!’ He dug deep and got the win.”

It was the first black-type victory for Green Luck, who began his career in Queensland with three starts for two wins at Ipswich in February of 2018.

The Street Cry gelding’s next 39 starts were in Hong Kong, where he recorded six wins and seven placings. He then joined the Canterbury stable of the late Paul Harris, for whom he made a winning New Zealand debut on Riccarton’s synthetic track in June 2022 and finished fourth in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) that October.

Saturday’s big win was Green Luck’s eighth start for Faulkner and capped a consistent run of form that featured a third at Riccarton last March, a fourth in the Listed Timaru Stakes (1400m) in January, a fourth at Ascot Park, a third and a fifth at Riccarton, and his close seventh in the Southern Alps Challenge.

The Canterbury Gold Cup was the second black-type success for Faulkner, who had previously won the Listed Timaru Stakes (1200m) with Petrify back in 1998.

“This is right up there,” Faulkner said. “It’s kind of unbelievable, really. I don’t know what to say.

“He’d been in Hong Kong and won a lot of money over there, and then he came to New Zealand. We had a bit of bad luck with him last year – he went amiss and was out for five months. It’s been a long, slow process to get him back. This is a great result and I’m very happy for his owners.

“I don’t really have any plans from here. I’ll probably chuck him out in the paddock for at least a month now, and then we’ll have a look at what we do after that.”

A half-brother to the multiple Group One-winning Western Australian gelding Luckygray, Green Luck has now had a total of 59 starts for 10 wins, 11 placings and more than $1.2 million in stakes.


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