Oaks dress rehearsal for Cambridge filly
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Cambridge filly Con Grazia Love will have one final hit-out on her home track on Friday before heading south to tackle the Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Oaks (1980m) at Addington Raceway later this month.
The daughter of Love You has won her last two starts and will face stiff opposition in the Thames Trotters Cup (2700m), which has been more by chance than design.
“She is a nice filly. I wanted to run her in a mobile three-year-old race but that didn’t get off the ground,” trainer Sean McCaffrey said.
“We were one point over for the other race so found ourselves in a 2700m, which I wasn’t that happy with.
“We are looking at heading to the Oaks in a fortnight so we needed to run her somewhere, and I didn’t see any races in the South Island that would suit her, so we are just going to have to bite the bullet.”
She will be met be some seasoned campaigners, with 14-win mare She Reigns off the 45m mark, and Sacred Mountain and Aflying Spur off 35m.
“Those horses off the back are hardened campaigners and she is still an immature horse,” McCaffrey said.
“She is still slightly built and a bit weaker, but mentally and race-wise she is tough.
“She won a maiden race over 2700m, so I don’t think the distance will worry her. She steps well, which helps.”
McCaffrey will also contest the pacing feature of the night, the Thames Pacers Cup (2200m) with Betterzippit.
“He has been a little bit unlucky,” he said. “He is a horse that has been caught between the extremes of the handicapping up here.
“He has only won a few races and not a lot of money, but he gets caught on the wrong side of the draft.
“He has been racing Copy That and Hot And Treacherous. Even though they are off marks, Copy That goes down and cleans them up in the Cup, so it has been tough.
“In saying that, he was a bit unlucky last week. He flew the start and ended up in the trail, but the horse in front stopped at the 400m and spat him out the back. He got going again and ran past horses, so I was really happy with his run.
“This week we will be going forward and will be at the pointy end of the field.”