The race within the race in Rangiora Summer Cup
By Jonny Turner
Despite being training partners and husband and wife, Colin and Julie DeFilippi will go head to head in the Rangiora Summer Cup on Sunday.
The DeFilippi stable will have a big hand in the grass track feature when starting the favourite Here’s Herbie and the well-supported Heza Sport.
As well as training the pair, the DeFilippis also own their two starters, with Julie the owner of Here’s Herbie while Colin races Heza Sport.
Here’s Herbie was a runaway winner of the recent Geraldine Cup, and he looks hard to beat on Sunday when stepping back out on grass.
“He seems to have come through the run well,” Colin said.
“I have heard plenty of experts say they think their horse has come through its run well, but you don’t really know until you get to the race.”
“But he seems pretty good; his work has been good, and he likes the grass, so we are hopeful he will go another pretty good race.”
Heza Sport comes into the Rangiora Summer Cup after disappointing in the Group 3 Summer Cup at Addington on Grand Prix Day.
After taking on top-level horses, the pacer looks well placed to give his form a boost.
“He has only won seven races, but over the last 18 months, he has had to race the good ones just about every start,” DeFilippi said
“Sunday’s field doesn’t look as strong; it is certainly a drop in class for him.”
Though he couldn’t match it with Beach Ball, DeFilippi is hoping for better from the pacer he owns and trains on Sunday.
“He went ordinary last start; he pulled up, which is not like him, so I got him scoped.”
“He was a late nomination; I only put him in when I saw they weren’t going to have a full field.”
“But he has worked OK this week, and I have been happy enough with him.”
Though Heza Sport’s record on grass tracks is three starts for no placings, DeFilippi is certain the horse handles grass tracks.
“It is just the way it has worked out; early on he got a bit of a funny run, he was in and out, and I wasn’t sure whether he went bad or whether it was the grass.”
“But after that, he ran a really close sixth behind Here’s Herbie, and he made up good ground, so he definitely handles the grass.”
Sunday’s feature will be a tester for Heza Sport’s chances of starting in the Group 1 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill next week.
With a strong performance, the pacer is likely to head south.