Otaki Cup win for Alta Leonie


He may not have been able to drive her, but Kyle Marshall was still thrilled with Alta Leonie’s Otaki Cup win on Sunday.

The sizeable daughter of Big Jim worked to the lead a lap out and was never head in the hands of catch driver, Todd Mitchell.

“I was rapt with the win and her efforts on both days,” said Marshall.

Alta Leonie was narrowly beaten by Bill Haley in the Wellington Cup on Friday, in what was her second run back from a spell.

“She had that break and with no workouts beforehand, the run at Rotorua was a good start for her.

“She needed that run and then the run on Friday brought her on again.

“I thought she was the kind of mare that would see out the 3000 metres and it proved to be the case.

“Todd was very happy with her and said she did it quite easy.”

Bill Haley, the race second favourite behind Alta Leonie, took no part after botching the start and being pulled up.

The injury-plagued mare has now won five of her 15 starts and Marshall just hopes he can keep her sound enough to add to that record.

“She’s had problems everywhere really, but mostly with arthritis in her shoulder.

“We’ll just see how she pulls up from this. We might go to New Plymouth, on the grass again.”

Marshall couldn’t take the drive either day at Otaki after being suspended for whip use at Cambridge last week, but will be back in the cart next week, when he will link up with the promising Eastanbull.

“I’ll probably look to Auckland with him.

“And I’ll have two racing at Cambridge – Live Reactor in the boys’ race and a maiden trotter I got from Bryce Espin, which Alicia Harrison will drive.

“I’m happy with the team and hopefully we can get a few more wins in the coming weeks.”

Marshall also has one eye on the upcoming yearling sales.

“I’ll go for a look at Karaka; there are a couple there that I quite like.

“If I can get a syndicate together, I’ll definitely look at it.”

Canterbury visitors, Sheree Tomlinson and Michael House, combined to win two races in the six-horse card, Jackhammer Joe and Von Richthofen getting the job done.

Sailesh Abernethy won two races as a driver, including a 13th for his grand trotting mare Majestic One, who came off an 80-metre handicap to win the day’s trot.

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