A late change of plans paid dividends for trainer Peter McKay when
the classy Amarula won handsomely over 1400 metres at Ruakaka yesterday.
Last season’s Hawke's Bay Guineas winner was coming in fresh off the
back of an impressive trial win over 1000 metres at Taupo eight days
earlier, although McKay had his doubts about his readiness for a tough
1400 metres first-up.
“Our original plan was to run him at Ruakaka in a fortnight, but he
was so full of himself after Taupo I was worried he might injure himself
if we left him that long,” he explained.
“When I saw the nominations still open on Tuesday, I thought it might
be best to give him a run, although I half expected he would find it a
little far over that distance first-up.”
McKay needn’t have worried, as the four-year-old entire made a good
beginning from a wide barrier before dictating the speed throughout the
contest. Challenged at the 200-metre mark, he found a powerful kick to
put a winning break on his rivals. He cruised to the line in a
Whilst pleased with the win, McKay was also relieved to see his
charge back in winning form after a muddling early winter campaign.
“He probably got a pass mark for the three runs he had at the start
of the winter although he never won one,” he said. “Those were his first
runs after having the bone chip removed and he needed them to get some
of the weight off that he had put on when spelling.
“He came through them well and had a nice few weeks in the paddock before we brought him back for this preparation.”
McKay may again have to change plans for his charge after yesterday’s victory with an early return to Hastings now on the cards.
“Originally the plan was to go to Ruakaka at the start of next month
and then on to Hastings for the Group Three sprint on the last day,” he
“Now he’s had this run, we might take a look at the Windsor Park
Plate on the middle day at Hastings provided he comes through it well.
“It will all depend on his recovery, but it is nice to have a few options with him at this stage.”
The Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate over 1600 metres is the feature event on
the second day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival on 17 September.
NZ Racing Desk