Jumping giants to clash at Trentham

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  • July 18, 2023
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One of the most anticipated match-ups in New Zealand racing will occur at Trentham on Saturday when top jumpers The Cossack and West Coast clash in the Grant Plumbing Wellington Steeplechase (5500m).

The Cossack has carried the mantle of Champion New Zealand Jumper over the last couple of seasons, however, West Coast has quickly risen through the ranks and is ready to try and usurp his older competitor.

West Coast has been a revelation over the fences, winning four and placing in two of his six steeplechase starts, including last year’s Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) at Riccarton when The Cossack was campaigning across The Tasman.

West Coast continued his dominance in the Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) at Hastings earlier this month, winning by 16 lengths, laying a path toward a match race with The Cossack at Trentham.

West Coast’s trainer Mark Oulaghan isn’t sure what to expect from the race, but he is confident in his charge’s ability and is hopeful the pair can live up to their billing.

“It is going to be a test for him down there, but we are looking forward to it,” Oulaghan said.

“We think our horse is pretty good. It is going to be interesting to see how he matches up against The Cossack, but if he does everything right, I think he is right up to it.”

The Cossack has already tested his talent in Australia and Oulaghan hasn’t ruled out a campaign across the Tasman for his own charge, however, their primary goal is to defend his crown in the Grand National next month.

“That (Australia) is always on the horizon, but he is owned by some South Island people and they are keen to race him in New Zealand, so at this stage we are just going to jump our fences as they come,” he said.

Oulaghan will also line-up Kentucky Boy in the Welcome Wellington Bowlers Maiden Hurdle (2500m) and he believes the five-year-old gelding has a bright future ahead of him.

“He is quite a nice horse in the making,” he said.

“His niche will be Steeplechasing, so he will probably have a couple more hurdles races and then we will get him steeplechasing at the end of the season.”

The Awapuni horseman will also be represented by Super Spirit in the Cody Singer Memorial Maiden Hurdle (2500m), Berry The Cash in the Hydra-cell Pumps LTD Wellington Hurdle (3400m), and Semper Magico in the Dick Hunt “The Judge” Happy Retirement (1400m).

“I think Super Spirit will go alright, he will like the (heavy) ground. He is quite a tough horse in that sort of going, so that could be a bit of a plus for him,” Oulaghan said.

“Berry the Cash likes bad ground and he is pretty fit at the moment, so he is a definite show, but it is a pretty strong field, even though there are only seven in it.

“Semper Magico is just running on the flat. He has won down there at this meeting in the past, so we know he will handle the ground. I think he will be a show.”

Meanwhile, a day prior at Otaki, Oulaghan will be represented by Swanee Lass in The Tele Otaki Maiden (1400m).

“I just have the maidener in at Otaki and we will see what she can do and if she can handle the ground,” he said.

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