Southern Icon got the all-clear for a
Makfi Challenge Stakes start after his trainer Alan Tait rode him in his
final gallop at Matamata this morning.
With fog across the track no time could
be taken, but from his vantage point Tait was satisfied that whatever
led to the gelding’s below-par performance in the Foxbridge Plate was in
“He was definitely not himself that day, his heart-rate after the race was 120 and one race later it was down to 80,” Tait told www.theinformant.co.nz
this morning. “I had the vet waiting when we arrived home and he had an
elevated temperature, but after three days’ treatment his blood was
back to normal.
“I would describe his work this morning
as satisfactory, not as good as his final gallop before the Foxbridge,
but after what happened there you could hardly take a line through that!
“The main thing is he felt happy this
morning and as usual it took me until right to the end of the straight
to pull him up. That’s him though, he likes to try and take charge.”
Southern Icon raced twice at Hastings
last April and both times he led all the way for easy wins over the same
1400-metre distance as Saturday’s big event.
“A good draw would be ideal but it’s like the weather, what will be will be,” said Tait.
When the TAB’s fixed odds market for the Makfi Challenge Stakes closed last night, Southern Icon was at $18.
A big push for last year’s winner Kawi
had brought him into favouritism at $4.20, displacing Valley Girl at
$4.80. Stolen Dance was third favourite at $6, followed by Hasselhoof on
$7, No More Tears $9 and Capella $10.