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McQuade optimistic with double Opunake Cup hand
19 Jul 2016

Karyn McQuade will saddle a double hand for Saturday’s Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup feeling optimistic on all counts.

The Matamata trainer has the two best horses in her small team, Kindaleica and Underthemoonlight, entered for the $65,000 feature safe in the knowledge of their proven records on the New Plymouth track and confident they will be at concert pitch for their weekend assignments.

McQuade signed off on the pair’s fitness after they had galloped stylishly this morning. With their respective raceday jockeys Craig Grylls and Cameron Lammas on board, Kindaleica and Underthemoonlight cut out 1200 metres in a slick 1:15.8 and broke 36 seconds for their final 600 metres.

“That was lovely work, just right for where they’re both at,” she said. “Underthemoonlight is thriving and the freshen-up we gave Kindaleica has done him the world of good.”

Lightly raced Underthemoonlight has been in sparkling form this campaign, with a narrow second placing in an open sprint at Ellerslie followed by a win over 1400 metres at Te Rapa and a last-start fourth in the Listed Tauranga Classic.

Kindaleica hasn’t been to the races for two months but has proven class as the winner of the Listed Karaka Classic at Avondale in September.

What the stablemates have in common with special significance for Saturday’s big race is proven form at New Plymouth. Kindaleica won a special conditions 1400-metre race there in August 2014 and finished second in the ITM New Plymouth Interprovincial last September.

Underthemoonlight’s two starts on the track are a near replication of her stablemate’s record, having finished second in a special conditions race there last August and winning a Rating 65 1400 metres on Interprovincial day in September.

The one difference is that the pair’s regular rider, Anna Jones, will be on neither this weekend due to being absent on holiday in England. That leaves the way open for Craig Grylls, Kindaleica’s jockey in his career-first New Plymouth win, to resume duties, while Cameron Lammas will become just the second jockey to ride Underthemoonlight on raceday, Jones having handled her in all nine of her starts.

“We’ve always known Anna was going to be away but it’s worked out well to get Cameron and Craig for Saturday,” McQuade said. “I promised Cameron a long time ago that if ever Anna was unable to ride Underthemoonlight he would have the mount.

“He was the regular jockey of this mare’s close relation Midnight Kiss and has always ridden well for us.”

Midnight Kiss had a brief career with McQuade, winning two of her four starts and finishing third in the last of them, the 2014 New Zealand Oaks, after which she was sold to the United States.

Dennis Ryan 

The Informant