Ruakaka agreeing with Phelan’s travelling party

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  • July 18, 2023
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Shaun Phelan is hoping an extended stay at Ruakaka will be further rewarded at Saturday’s Whangarei meeting where he has a number of strong contenders.

In particular, the Cambridge trainer will mount a three-strong attack on the ITM/GIB Winter Championship Final (2100m) with Hit The Road Jack, his younger sister Enchanted Elle and Pacheco.

“I came up here a couple of weeks ago with a team of 12 and it’s been really good for them,” Phelan said.

“It still rains but it gets them out of the Waikato mud and they’ve been doing a fair bit of beach work.

“I’ve got a few young ones here as well to educate them and they will be trialling in the new season.”

His trio of entries in the Championship Final all boast recent winning form with Hit The Road Jack already a two-time winner and last-start runner-up at Ruakaka off the back of an Avondale victory.

“I’m looking at the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m) with Hit The Road Jack and was contemplating running him in the Opunake Cup (Listed, 1400m), but this is his favourite track,” Phelan said.

The son of Jakkalberry will be partnered by Elen Nicholas, who has ridden the six-year-old in all six of his career wins.

“She’s the only one who can win on him, even I got beaten on him in a highweight paying $1.80 one day,” Phelan said.

He believes next month’s Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup at Riccarton is an ideal target for Hit The Road Jack.

“Horses like Justaskme will push his weight down and a mile on a wet track will be fine,” Phelan said.

Enchanted Elle finished third at Ruakaka two runs back before she was successful over 2200m at Awapuni.

“I don’t think she likes really wet tracks and we might look at the Taumarunui Cup (2200m) for her, but looking at Te Rapa the other day it was a worry how heavy it was,” Phelan said.

“I probably can’t split the two of them and the other horse Pacheco has had a freshen up and he is a natural stayer.

“He’s not a bad horse and looking forward to trying him on a better track, I don’t think he’s a real mudder.”

The son of Makfi won over ground at Pukekohe Park before a most recent third at Awapuni earlier last month.

Phelan also has Hill Of Kings and Notabadbar in the ITM/GIB Winter Championship 3YO Final (1600m) and believes the former is his best chances of Claiming the prize.

“He had a couple of weeks off after his last run so he might need it, but again I’m looking forward to running him on a better track as well,” he said.

The son of Time Test broke his maiden at Te Rapa before a last-start third behind stakes performer Accident Tourist at Wanganui.

“He’s a pretty fair animal and tries pretty hard. I bought him off Gavelhouse for $600 and he hasn’t finished out of the first three for us, he’s pretty genuine,” Phelan said.

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