Racing: High Kin one to beat in Caloundra Cup

By Mike Dillon

Before that we have 10 races at Ruakaka and a wonderful jumping programme at Hastings.

Rosetown Joe is a big chance in the Hawkes Bay Steeplechase today.
Rosetown Joe is a big chance in the Hawkes Bay Steeplechase today.

If you watched the final stages of the recent Ipswich Cup in Queensland you'll be having one bet today.

That will be New Zealand mare High Kin in this afternoon's A$200,000 ($237,000) Caloundra Cup on the Sunshine Coast.

Timewise and in every other way the Ipswich Cup was the perfect race for High Kin to make her Australian debut, except for one factor - the tight circumference of the Ipswich Cup.

There was always a chance it would bring High Kin undone, and it did.

But only just.

Kiwi jock Leith Innes did his best to overcome the handicap and High Kin flew home into second, beaten less than a neck by Anagold.

Innes was married in Fiji yesterday and the job this time falls to highly talented local rider Michael Cahill.

And what a different scenario Cahill faces. Caloundra does not have Australia's longest home straight, but it's one of them and every horse gets its chance. The final grind is often so tough placings change in the closing 100m.

That's High Kin's style of racing and with just 54kg on her back the Te Rapa mare will take plenty of beating.

The one hurdle is the wide barrier, but Cahill will ride Caloundra as well as anyone.

But before that we have 10 races at Ruakaka and a wonderful jumping programme at Hastings.

Among an even line-up of stayers in the big go, the $25,000 Whangarei Bus Services Open, Dancing Chief (No5, R7) should be very competitive.

His form on paper looks just so-so, but he has been facing fields a bit better than this one and his luck has been only fair. From the No 2 barrier he should settle down just behind the speed and be tough to hold out late.

Much of the Ruakaka programme sees competitive events, set up for good betting.

Plenty of chances in Race 1 and the value might be Sumotori (No10). He's won just one from 22 starts, but his luck this campaign has often been missing. He copped a shocking run three wide on this track last start after drawing wide and fought very bravely to be just beaten. He is right in the mix.

Our Kismet (No9, R2) ran into a fired up Airman when resuming on this track last start and finished a gallant second. The Zabeel filly gets her chance this time. Brahma Queen (No8) will get a win shortly.

For a horse that has scored in a stakes race, Oak Park (No3, R3) doesn't win them out of turn. She hasn't been too far away in good fields lately though and if Alex Forbes can hold her up for the last run at them in the closing stages today, she could get the result. She fought very strongly at Te Rapa last start after going for home a long way out.

The Rich Lister (No2, R6) is better than he showed when beaten favourite here last start, although it wasn't entirely his own fault. He is worthy of another chance here.

Difficult to fathom what went wrong when Memory (No6, R9) was beaten favourite at Te Rapa last start. His earlier form had been very good and he rates highly, despite a wide barrier. There is a long run down the back straight to the first corner from the 1600m Ruakaka start and Memory might get away with it.

Memory's stablemate Sophie's Gem (No12, R10) was fabulous winning at Te Rapa, sitting three wide and proving relentless in the closing stages. A repeat of that would take her close here. Bob Valdez (No2) has had things made tough for him lately and his form should look a lot better.

Whatever happens later, Calgacus (No1, R1) should kick off Hastings' jumping programme with victory.

He has been second on both his jumping races so far and will be very fit after his fourth on the flat at Tauranga last Saturday.

Sea King (No4, R3) will take a lot of beating in the big hurdles. He didn't get the best of runs in the Manawatu Hurdles and his second place was exceptional.

Local No Quota (No3, R6) should make it four steeplechase wins from five starts in the Hawkes Bay Steeples. He will love this track and has everything going for him.

What a race is being set up between him and in-form Rosetown Joe (No1).

•Te Awamutu hurdler Evathreestep (No5, R3) will be reunited with come-back jumps jockey Craig Thornton in the Te Whangai Romney's Hawkes Bay Hurdles (3100m) at Hastings today. The Keith and Brendon Hawtin-trained gelding provided Thornton with his first win after an eight-year hiatus at Te Rapa in early May. The pair could not reproduce the win in the Dunstan Feeds Waikato Hurdle, finishing fifth behind Sea King. But Evathreestep has since had a run on the flat and connections believe he is back to his best.

"He is in very good order and we expect him to run well at Hastings provided the track is not too bad," Keith Hawtin said.

Borrack (No6, R6) will take an unusual but necessary path into his first prestige jumping race assignment of the winter.

The freegoing chestnut had a run on the flat at Thursday's Stratford meeting and will back up in the Animal Health Direct Hawkes Bay Steeplechase today. "He was just getting a bit fresh and we don't want him pulling (at Hastings) or else he wouldn't get halfway around," trainer Adrian Bull said.

Bull said he had a few future options with Borrack, but would delay making any firm decisions until after the weekend.

- Additional reporting, NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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