Cup Day performers ready to strike

By Jonny Turner

New Zealand Cup Day performers Evangalist and Cheezel are again ready to make their mark when they return to Addington on Friday night.

Evangalist will be out to secure a her first career win in race 1 after putting up a big performance to run second to Castelo De Vide in last month’s Cup Day maiden.

The Jason and Ian Thomas trained filly was hampered before the start and then held up on the home turn before she hit the line strongly behind the runaway winner.

“It was a pretty good run, it was a bit unlucky she got crossed early,” Jason Thomas said.

“She hit the line pretty well considering she burnt pretty hard early.”

“Even before the start we got a bit tangled up with the one inside us and she had to chase the gate.”

“So, it was a pretty good run.”

Evangalist will be out to make up for a little lost time when she steps out over 1980m on Friday night.

The three-year-old has not been sighted since Cup Day after she was found to be suffering from a virus.

“I had her nominated two weeks ago at Addington and she had a couple of coughs,” Thomas said.

“I had some bloods done and she had a bit of a virus, but she is good to go now.”

Evangalist’s viral issue have not put her fitness levels too far back and she is expected to strip fit enough to win on Friday night.

“We are pretty happy with her fitness levels.”

“Her work has been good and she seems to race pretty grouse, it doesn’t worry her too much.”

“She will probably need the run a little bit, but the way she has improved since Cup Day she should go pretty good.”

The way Evangalist motored to the line on Cup Day, combined with her good prior efforts, suggest she could be good enough to be considered for age group feature racing later this season.

The way the pacer keeps improving suggests to her trainers she can measure up.

“I think she has shown that she has a bit of potential and she seems to keep improving all the time.”

“She trialled up as against What’s Your Secret who has gone alright against some of the better fillies.”

“She has definitely got a bit of potential there.”

Evangalist was rated the $2.50 fixed odds favourite for race 1 on market opening.

Cheezel went one better than Evangalist on Cup Day, gaining a deserved win for trainer Regan Todd.

The six-year-old has remained in good form with a sound sixth in the Southern Mares Classic, fifth in the Geraldine Cup and second in Fabrizio’s Timaru Cup since.

“She is going really well,” Todd said.

“Of course we were pretty happy winning on Cup Day, it was a bit of a thrill for some first-time owners who are in her.”

“So, they loved it,”

“And she went another good race in the Timaru Cup, too.”

A busy past few weeks has not knocked Cheezel and she goes into race 7 in excellent order.

“We don’t do a hell of a lot with her between runs.”

“She has obviously been pretty busy, so she does a bit of galloping work.”

“But she looks really good and she is full of beans.”

“We just need a bit of luck from the draw.”

Cheezel steps back to 1980m after her last two cup runs over longer trips for driver Ricky May.

Todd does not think the mare prefers sprinting over staying or vice versa.

“It doesn’t really matter, but she is pretty one-dimensional.”

“Every time we have tried to change things with her she is not as good.”

“Ricky tends to drive her for luck and that is the best way to drive her.”

Cheezel starts from barrier 7 in race 7, inside her main rivals Plutonium Lady and Spellbound.

The Todd trained mare opened at $5.50 in the fixed odds win market for the event.

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