Riccarton in mix for promising Val Di Zoldo

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  • August 16, 2023
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By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

A trip to the New Zealand Cup carnival may be on the cards for Group winner Val Di Zoldo.

The Tony Pike-trained daughter of War Decree advanced to a good level last season and showed she was making good progress toward a return to competition with a 1000m open trial win in trying conditions at Avondale on Tuesday.

In the hands of Kozzi Asano, the four-year-old bounced out well to sit on the leader’s quarters before taking control 200m from home.

“It was quite testing there and she trialled up really nicely so she seems to have come back in good order,” Pike said. “She travelled well throughout and under a hands and heels ride won her heat.”

Val Di Zoldo is likely to resume in a lower grade event and, depending on her form, could then travel further afield.

“She’ll probably kick off in a Rating 75 over 1400m at either Te Rapa or Hawke’s Bay, depending on what the tracks are looking like,” Pike said.

“If she comes up really well and hits her straps pretty quickly then something like the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (Gr.3, 1600m) with a light weight could be a short-term target.”

Runner-up in the Gr.3 Platinum Homes Classic (1200m) as a juvenile, Val Di Zoldo broke her maiden last term before she triumphed in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m).

She had earlier also finished fourth at Group Two level in the Royal Stakes (2000m) and the Eight Carat Classic (1600m).

“She has been solid all the way through and has probably been a bit on the immature side as well,” Pike said.

“Four-year-old mares can find it pretty tough in the spring taking on the older horses, but she has come back well.

“There’s probably a nice race in her, whether it’s this preparation or later on in the season we’ll see, and she should measure up in Group Two or Three type of races.”

Another pair of promising four-year-olds coming to hand well for the stable are Churchillian and Matter Of Honour.

Churchillian has won three of her six starts and was put aside after she ended her autumn preparation when fourth at Pukekohe.

“She has trialled up well and will possibly kick off at Taupo next Wednesday in a Rating 75 over 1200m and then probably head down for the first day at Hawke’s Bay,” Pike said.

“She’s in the same boat as Val Di Zoldo, coming back at four can be tough but I think with a bit more time on her side could get up to the lighter black-type races in the autumn.”

Matter Of Honour has won three times from seven appearances and was stakes placed when third in last season’s Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m).

“He will have a quiet run at Cambridge trials on Thursday and probably one more trial and kick off on the first day at Hawke’s Bay,” Pike said. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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