Cup form converges at Geraldine
By Jonny Turner
Form-lines from the New Zealand Cup Carnival will converge when a quality field contests the Geraldine Cup at Orari on Saturday.
New Zealand Cup starters Nandolo and Smokin By will clash with undercard performers Tango Tara and Heisenberg in the 2850m grass track staying test.
Nandolo produced a respectable effort to run seventh in the New Zealand Cup, beating home Smokin By, who finished 12th.
Nandolo went on to produce a big performance for third after botching the start of a handicap event on Show Day at Addington, three days later
The John Howe trained 5yr-old’s scratchy start had driver Jonny Cox concerned at the time, but it is not something he is worried about ahead of Saturday’s race.
“He didn’t miss it too bad, he bobbled away and then he over reacted a bit when I tried to get him to come back down – so it was probably more my fault than anything,” Cox said.
“He was very safe away in the cup, so I don’t think the start is going to be a big worry.”
Nandolo made up ground following his tardy getaway at Addington and produced strong closing sectionals to run third behind Wild Excuse.
“He went a great race afterwards, later on I looked at his sectional times and he run his last mile (1609m) in 1.53.8,” Cox said.
“So, you couldn’t have asked much more of him.”
Nandolo will step in to the unknown on Saturday, when racing on grass for the first time.
Cox anticipates it is not likely to cause a problem for the horse.
“He is a pretty clean pacer, so I can’t imagine it would be too much of a problem for him.”
“But, there is always that possibility that it could trip him up.”
Smokin By also comes in to the Geraldine Cup after producing a poor beginning in his previous run.
The Mitchell Kerr trained 5yr-old was not a factor in the New Zealand Cup after a lengthy early gallop made his task to win nearly impossible.
Smokin By began safely in both of his previous runs in the Methven Cup and the Ashburton Flying Stakes.
Stepping on to grass should be no problem for the pacer, judging by his good effort for third behind Chase Auckland at Methven.
Nandolo and Smokin By share the 20m back mark in today’s feature.
They start alongside returning pacer, My Wee Man, who is a five time winner on grass.
Heisenberg is the only runner starting from the 10m mark.
The Robert Dunn trained pacer comes in to Saturday’s race after producing two second placings during New Zealand Cup week.
Heisenberg produced strong efforts after having to sit parked in both races.
Tango Tara is another to bring New Zealand Cup Carnival form to Saturday’s feature.
The Jim Curtin trained pacer faces his biggest career test after winning a minor event on New Zealand Cup day.
Tango Tara will start from the front line in today’s standing start alongside Nearis Green, The Kaik and Go Davey.