Chase Auckland likely to miss Cup
By Michael Guerin
Chase Auckland’s New Zealand Cup campaign may be over before it really got started.
The champion three-year-old pacer is almost certainly out of contention for November’s $800,000 Addington classic as he is taking longer than expected to recover from a pulled muscle in his hind quarters.
“It is not a major thing but it is costing him valuable work from a Cup point of view,” says co-trainer Mark Purdon. “He has been sidelined for 10-12 days now and I don’t see him coming back into work for at least another 10 days.
“And even then it could be longer. We will let him tell us when he is ready.”
While the Cup is still over three months away the setback could cost Chase Auckland a full month of ground work and means at best he would be trialing by mid October, which makes the New Zealand Cup almost impossible.
“I am not totally writing it off but I would say it is very unlikely he will be there,” says Purdon. “He is going to be a long away behind our other horses as well as the other open class horses from other stables.
“For his first season in open class and his first Cup you would want a perfect build-up and a chance for him to get used to that grade.
“So I think he might miss the Cup carnival and while that would be disappointing it was never set in stone for him.
“Being a four-year-old he has a lot of other options this season and will get his chance at the Cup next year.”
Chase Auckland was clearly New Zealand’s best three-year-old pacer in the season just finished, emerging from maidens to win the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series Pace and the Northern Derby.\
He is listed as the $10 fourth favourite for the NZ Cupt, alongside last season’s runner-up Jacks Legend and Interdom runner-up Chicago Bull.
The latter is looking more and more likely to became a rare West Australian-trained New Zealand Cup starter for a variety of reasons.
Not only is Chicago Bull back racing and winning effortless, admittedly in moderate fields, in Perth but the New Zealand Cup has already lost another big name in the injured Soho Tribeca and it looking a more attractive target by the day.
But perhaps most importantly Chicago Bull is being aimed at the Victoria Cup in Melbourne on October 13 and will therefore be halfway to Christchurch and trainer Gary Hall is planning to send him to New Zealand soon after before heading back for the Inter Dominion, which starts at Melton on December 1.
While Chase Auckland is sidelined, a smaller than usual All Stars team left for Australia on Tuesday to contest the Breeders Crown on August 25.
Both Harness Jewels-winning juveniles Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece have been flown to Sydney where they will race at Menangle next Tuesday before heading south to Melbourne.
They have been joined by open class stablemate Cash N Flow, who faces a wide draw on his A$20,000 Menangle debut on Saturday night while the Regan Todd-trained Show Gait will travel with the All Stars team and also race next Tuesday before heading to Melton for the three-year-old Breeders Crown Trot.