Hopes and Dreams
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Richard Aubrey has come north with hopes and dreams of claiming a stakes race with his classy filly Wainui Creek.
It just probably won’t be this Friday night in the $65,000 Gr.2 Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park.
Last season’s champion filly Princess Tiffany was defeated last week, giving her opponents tomorrow night some hope that she might have come back to the pack this term.
But when the draws came out on Monday, Wainui Creek had drawn seven, one from the outside, tempering her trainer’s expectations.
“We’ve got to be realistic, when you get a draw like that, it makes things tough,” said Aubrey.
“The two best horses are drawn inside us and look like being lead and trail so I’d imagine it’s going to be very difficult for anybody else.”
He speaks of Princess Tiffany and last week’s runner-up in the comparable event, Cheesy Fingers, who has drawn the ace.
Aubrey can’t fault his filly though, and says she is ready to run a big race for stand-in drive Tim Williams, regular reinsman Ricky May currently suspended.
“She’s travelled up really good. Hasn’t left any feed and is jumping out of her skin.
“I couldn’t be happier with her.”
A trip to Auckland with the Bettor’s Delight filly has always been the plan, the get her used to travelling and to dip her toes in to stakes racing.
“With this race and the Sires Stakes Final on New Years’ Eve, it made sense to come up.
“I still think there is some improvement in her and she’ll be significantly better again by the 31st.”
Aubrey anticipates Wainui Creek having to sit parked, not seeing the logic in going back at the start.
“That’s the best place for her to be. Given the calibre of opposition, it’s unlikely she’ll be able to run past them all from back in the field.
“Outside the leader is actually probably her favoured position.”
Mark Purdon, co-trainer and driver of Princess Tiffany, noted after last week’s fresh-up defeat, where she sat three-wide with cover without the benefit of a lead-in trial, that he was thrilled with her performance.
That bodes ominously for her opponents this week with the money up and bookies have kept her tight at $1.30.
Cheesy Fingers came four-wide last week and ran past Princess Tiffany, so has to be respected from an in inside alley this week.
Co-trainer Brian Hughes is quietly confident.
“She seems good, and she’s got the right draw and I wouldn’t think she’d be far away on her run last week.
“We are going in with a wee bit of confidence and hoping for the best.”
Tony Herlihy takes the reins this week and Hughes says it will be up to him whether they park Princess Tiffany or take a sit on her back.
“I’ll leave that up to him, he’s the world’s best supposedly, so I couldn’t tell him how to drive.”