Winter in the ‘gym’ transforms Spring Cup winner
By Garrick Knight
An inspired plan delivered immediate on-track results when Triple Eight took out the $30,000 Franklin Long Roofing Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Always regarded as a brilliant talent with impressive speed, the big son of American Ideal just had a couple of flaws that he needed to overcome if connections wanted to tackle the best races going forward.
“He’s always had a roughness in his gait and, while it will never be perfect, we felt that part of it was because he just wasn’t strong enough,” trainer Steve Telfer told HRNZ post-race.
“So, after he ran third in the Uncut Gems at Addington back in June, rather than spell him, we gave him six weeks on the water walker instead.
“The result is he came back much bigger and stronger.”
It took a canny David Butcher drive to get the win after the horse was four back on the markers with a lap to go.
Butcher is the master of the legal push-out shortly after the winning post with a lap to go and he once again pulled it off at the expense of outsider Red Reactor, who was then forced to race three-wide the last lap.
Butcher let Triple Eight down over the final two furlongs and he nailed a very brave Mach Shard, who sat parked throughout, in the shadows of the post.
So, are we about to see the horse scale the heights of the open class ranks and become a serious threat to the All Stars army?
Telfer isn’t getting carried away yet, but he does have ambitious plans.
“We’ve mapped out a plan for him and that will include the Inter Dominions, Auckland Cup and then a trip to Aussie in the new year.
“I don’t think I’ll be tempted to late nominate for the New Zealand Cup – you just can’t do it all.
“To prepare for a big race like that, then return to Auckland for three races in a week, then possibly a final and the Auckland Cup, it’s just too much.
“We’ll keep him at home and prepare for a big summer up here – that’s the best option for us.”
After only one “soft” trial in the lead up, Telfer expects firm improvement heading forward, with the Holmes D G in a fortnight’s time the next logical aim.
“He looked to be getting tired 100 out so I expect he will get a lot of benefit out of it.”
Last night’s win was also the first start for a bunch of new Australian owners that purchased a quarter share in Triple Eight over the winter.
The group, headed by Victorian commercial breeder Shannon Nixon, now race Triple Eight with his breed, Scott Plant, and Jill and Steve Stockman’s Stonewall Stud.
While only finishing sixth, Star Galleria put up a superb performance off his 20-metre handicap to get as close as he did.
Trainer/driver Steven Reid was ecstatic post-race.
“I’m rapt with that; when they slowed to a 32 quarter that took us out of it, otherwise we might have been a chance of winning.
“He’ll come back here in two weeks, over the 2700, a lot fitter horse, and be very hard to beat.”
Reid also reported that a scope earlier in the work had cleared the horse of any recurrence of a throat issue that required minor surgery in November of last year.