Da Vinci big chance to recapture winning form

By Jonny Turner

Punters shouldn't put much stock into Da Vinci's winning run over summer ending ahead of the Gore Summer Cup on Sunday.

A last-start seventh might not look like the typical form reference of a next-up winner but trainer-driver Craig Ferguson thinks it can be.

Da Vinci ended an outstanding four-race winning spree with a last-start seventh in the Amberley Cup at Rangiora.

Though beaten, getting back on the tight-turning and leader-dominated Rangiora grass surface means Da Vinci's last-start run is best forgotten.

"He seems to be in a really good space at the moment," Ferguson said.

"All his last few runs have been really good, there's a bit of a gap in his form, he ran seventh."

“But he had four wins prior to that and he went a really good race up at Rangiora.”

"He just got too far back, so I couldn't be happier with him, really."

Da Vinci shares the 40m back mark in Sunday's Gore Summer Cup with One Change, who was second in the recent Waikouaiti Cup, also on grass.

10m marker Hacksaw Ridge and front marker Brookies Player look the main threats to the two back markers.

Brookies Player will defend his Gore Summer Cup title from 2023 following an excellent last-start fourth in the Wairio Cup.

Craig Ferguson starts one other runner on the Gore grass in Netherton Franco while he also combines with a handy book of outside drives on Sunday.

Among them is Foxfire Easton, who is among a strong team entered by trainer Brett Gray.

Gray is hopeful Foxfire Easton can improve on his form when debuting for his stable in race 6.

"I think he could be a smoky in this field."

"He has trialled well and he has worked well, it is up to the gods, I don't know a lot more about him."

Gray also starts Takeitout, who produced a stirring trial effort following a freshener after taking on top-line fillies at Group 1 level in December.

The mare resumes in race 1, Sunday's Southern Belle Speed Series heat.

"Since that trip to Christchurch and a bit of hard racing I have been really happy with her," Gray said.

Pounamu ran to an eight-length victory in his last-start victory on grass in the Gray colours.

Though the pacer steps up in grade, he does so at a time when he seems to be on an upward trajectory.

"This horse seems really well, he seems to have grown a leg and his work has gone up a notch."

"It is going to be interesting how he measures up."

Gray also has Julie Jaccka returning to racing in Sunday's trotting feature after Group One tilts at Addington.

The mare has the advantage of starting from the front line in the Gore Summer Trotting Cup.

"We are really happy with her work."

"She has been working a treat, I think she might need this run, she takes a few runs to come up but she will be close enough."

Maui is set to start favourite in the trotting feature after producing an excellent run of form in grass track features this summer.

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