Turner looking to plunder Canterbury spoils

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  • April 11, 2024
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Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Riverton trainer Ebony Turner had intended on having a two-pronged attack in Saturday’s Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton, but she is happy to just have the sole representative in Caffeinated following the recent sale of her stable star Drakaina.

Turner purchased the daughter of Ace High as an untried two-year-old off breeder The Oaks Stud on gavelhouse.com for just $3,000, and the now bargain buy has put her former owner-trainer on the map.

Drakaina won two of her five starts for Turner, including the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui last month after finishing runner-up in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m) at the same track a month prior.

Turner fielded plenty of calls from prospective buyers following the victory and a deal was brokered, with the filly set to continue her racing career in Western Australia.

“It was incredible the win she had at Dunedin and then to be approached by the bloodstock agents and get it over the line to send her over to Bob Peters in Perth was pretty exciting stuff,” Turner said.

“It was sad at the same time because she is part of the family, but at the end of the day it is a business and you can’t turn down that sort of money when you have got a horse of that calibre that people are wanting to have a go with.

“She holds a special place in my heart forever.”

While her stable is now down one exciting filly, Turner is looking forward to giving another in Caffeinated her opportunity to shine this weekend.

“I have always rated Caffeinated pretty highly so I thought I would give her a chance at getting some black-type,” Turner said.

Caffeinated put in a pleasing performance to break through for her maiden victory two starts back before she put in a sub-par unplaced run on an unsuitable Heavy10 track at Riverton.

“Her win was incredible, she just got the perfect trip and flew home. I was really pleased with that,” Turner said.

“Unfortunately, at Riverton she didn’t handle the track conditions at all, so we have just put a line through that race.

“She has come through the run really well, her work at home has been exceptional, and she looks incredible – she is thriving and she is eating everything.

“It will be quite interesting to see how she fronts up against those classy fillies and it will give us a good gauge on how she will go in her four-year-old season.”

This week will be Caffeinated’s longest trip from home, however, it doesn’t pose any concern for Turner.

“She is a good traveller. She is a wee professional and not a lot worries her,” she said. “I am not too concerned about that (travel) and we are heading up tomorrow (Thursday) so she can have a nice, easy day on Friday before she races on Saturday. It is good to see that she is later on in the afternoon too, so I am sure she will bounce back from the travel no worries.”

Caffeinated has drawn barrier seven and will be ridden by Krishna Mudhoo.

“I am really happy with the draw,” Turner said. “I was a bit concerned if she were to draw wide, what we would do from there. From seven she can hopefully get a nice, soft run three or four off the leader and get some clean air down the straight, and hopefully it all works out for her.”

Caffeinated joined Turner’s care at the same time as Drakaina, and she is hoping she too can become a stakes winner this weekend.

“She is on lease from Haunui Farm,” Turner said. “I got her on lease and then I ended up buying Drakaina on the next Gavelhouse auction so they could come down together and have a travel buddy. It worked out very well.”

Saturday will likely be Caffeinated’s last of the season and Turner is excited about her prospects as a four-year-old.

“I think she will go out for a spell after Saturday,” she said. “She has had a pretty big prep and she hasn’t done anything wrong, so I think she deserves a wee freshen and we will go from there.”

Stablemate The Advisor will join Caffeinated on the float trip north following her pleasing runner-up result at Ascot Park on Sunday, and will contest the Angus “Schawsey” Schaw 30th Fizzer Rating 65.

“The Advisor raced so well at Invercargill the other day that she got herself a ticket to come as a travel buddy and have a crack at some bigger money up at Riccarton,” Turner said.

“She has drawn very wide (21), which is unfortunate, she is going to need a lot of luck from there.

“There is about 40ml of rain forecast for Thursday and Friday up there. I am hoping that comes as I see the track is a Good3 at the moment (Wednesday morning), which I don’t think she will appreciate that much.

“If the rain comes and she gets a nice, soft run I think she will be competitive. But it is going to be a big task for her on Saturday.”

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