Caution around Artatac's prospects in Timaru feature

By Jonny Turner

Mark Jones is taking a cautious approach to Artatac’s Timaru Winter Cup defence.

The rugged five-year-old won the Phar Lap Raceway feature last year, proving too hard to catch from the front line.

But the pacer faces a different challenge on Sunday, when he will line up as one of the two 20m back markers.

Artatac charged home from the rear at Rangiora last weekend, running a nice second behind Champagneandwine, who also looks a key hope in the Timaru Winter Cup.

While he had next start written all over him, Jones thinks Artatac will need a slice of luck given the tight turning nature of the Timaru track.

“It is not going to be easy for him from 20m around Timaru,” the trainer said.

“With it being a bigger field, he is going to be giving them a head-start so he is going to need a bit of luck.”

Artatac’s last start second placing saw the pacer bounce back to form after he took on two stellar line ups in his previous two starts.

Prior to those runs, the five-year-old won the Mount Hutt Cup and the Cheviot Cup for his owners Grant and Kathy Hatton.

“He is the perfect horse for Grant really because he can line up every week and he is usually pretty competitive.”

“We were thinking about giving him a spell but the race at Rangiora came up and he went good so we will carry on.”

“This sort of grade suits him, it is a bit easier than the Country Championship and those races.”

Jones rates Jimmyray as the hardest horse Artatac has to beat.

The John Morrison trained pacer worked hard in his last start at Addington before fighting on strongly to run a good third placing.

Jimmyray gets a 10m head-start on Artatac from his 10m handicap.

Morrison also starts front-marker Kingstown Atom in Sunday’s feature.

The Jones stable also lines up Louie Vista in race 3 on Sunday.

The pacer has disappointed in his recent outings but he produced a trial win at Rangiora recently.


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