Grass track specialist nabs Geraldine Cup
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Corravally Star continued his outstanding grass track record when taking out the Placemakers-Timaru/Twizel/Oamaru Geraldine Cup (2850m) on Saturday on a rain-affected track.
The Washington VC colt now has four victories to his name on the surface from just six starts after beating a formidable line-up, which included Group One performer Laver, stakes winner Samhara, and Group Two performer Shan Noble.
Corravally Star’s chances were aided at the start when All Stars runners Samhara, Shan Noble and Pace N Pride were stuck in a skirmish at the start after locking wheels.
Driver Sam Thornley found the lead early with Corravally Star before handing up to race favourite Laver, and they enjoyed an economical trip in the trail.
Corravally Star was able to take the shortest way home up the straight to take the lead and hold off the late challenge of Samhara to win by three-quarters of a length, with a further 1-1/2 lengths back to Laver in third.
“I thought he would go well and I was confident that he would handle a wet track. He had been working really well and he got the perfect run,” trainer Bruce Negus said.
“There is no way I would have thought we would beat all three (All Stars runners), but they were all virtually put out of it and they did very well to finish second and fourth (Shan Noble).
“You can’t give horses a 40m start in any race and expect to beat them, so we were lucky there, but he went a really good race and is obviously a really good grass tracker.
“He got a good drive. I put Sam on because he won a junior drivers race with him at Oamaru and did nothing wrong, so we gave him the opportunity when Jonny (Cox) had to drive one of Mark Purdon’s.”
The Country Cups circuit remains the immediate goal for Corravally Star, but Negus believes he could end up featuring at the highest level in years to come.
“The idea it to qualify for the Country Cups Final,” Negus said. “I don’t see any reason why he can’t keep going around in the Country Cups, he is good from a stand and loves the grass.
“We will just pick and choose a wee bit because there are no other bigger races at Addington for him.
“I think he will end up in top company, he has got that breeding. Washington VC’s are never really natural two and three-year-olds, and I think he is getting better.
“We hope we can develop him into a Cup-class horse because he loves two miles. He hasn’t got the blistering speed that some of them have got but he toughs it out a bit.”