Racing: Mr Luigi rewards believers

By Mike Dillon

Wee Biskit defends her title in Saturday's Wellington Hurdles at Trentham. Photo / Royden Williams
Wee Biskit defends her title in Saturday's Wellington Hurdles at Trentham. Photo / Royden Williams

Ask a silly question ...

We asked trainer Peter Lock yesterday how his coming star Mr Luigi paid $3.60 at Te Rapa on Saturday and you get: "Well, the public looked at the racebook, saw who trained the horse and said 'he's an idiot so it can't win'."

Umm, almost certainly not. Mr Luigi's talent is such he would probably win even if that was close to the truth.

And Lock is now so convinced of his star's talent he will almost certainly send him to Sydney for a couple of races under the care of daughter Casey, fiancee of NSW trainer Con Karakatsanis.

"This has been on the radar for a while and after yesterday's win I believe he's good enough to take that on." That is a widely held opinion.

"Why I would like him over there is he can go around in some nice races without 60kg on his back.

"He can have a couple of races in Sydney and come back and tackle the Hastings carnival where the track is usually a little bit rain-affected without being winter deep."

Mr Luigi's form is 211 and should be 111. He has talent to spare and determination to match - something that came in handy on Saturday.

When he ranged up to the leaders wide early in the run home he looked to hit a flat spot, but when rider Sam Spratt seriously asked him he knuckled down.

"Sam said he was never handling the conditions at any stage. I know Te Rapa is a good winter track, but it's well documented that certain horses don't handle it well and I've had horses that I thought would win and disappointed. It can be too shifty for some horses.

"The Sydney experience will be a learning curve for the horse. It will be interesting to see how the Australian handicapper rates the horse." Lock copped a special thrill over this win because the owner, Te Awamutu-based property developer Trevor Sargent, saw Mr Luigi for the first time on raceday. "He's had seven starts for three wins, two seconds and two thirds and Trevor hasn't seem him before at the races. Trevor and I have raced horses for close to 30 years and we've probably won close to 50 races, but this is by far the best we've had together.

"This is an exceptional animal." Lock has an equal opinion of another stable star Hiflyer, by Tavistock.

"Imagine both of them in open class with 54kg. It's exciting."

Both horses underscore the point that New Zealand horses in the last two years have stepped up to the best in Australia.

• Matthew Cropp's confidence in the fearless fencer Wee Biskit was justified at Trentham in emphatic style.

The Waverley rider and the Ken Duncan-trained mare successfully defended their title in Saturday's Wellington Hurdles with a commanding performance.

"Ken told me to let her move when she felt comfortable about it and she's blitzed them again," Cropp said.

Seven lengths back at the line was Mahanadi, who has now placed in the event three years in a row, ahead of the 2014 winner Just Got Home.

- Additional reporting NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 08 Dec 2016 12:09:12 Processing Time: 1041ms