Racing: McKee saddles up two runners in bid for double

By NZ Racing Desk

Hasahalo (No 8) is one of two Stephen McKee runners. Photo / Trish Dunell
Hasahalo (No 8) is one of two Stephen McKee runners. Photo / Trish Dunell

Ardmore trainer Stephen McKee is treading a familiar path to the Karaka Million.

He was successful 12 months ago with Xiong Feng and he will be represented tomorrow by Star Treasure, who is from the same family as last year's winner and who races in similar ownership, and Hasahalo.

Both youngsters will go into the Ellerslie feature at the top of their games as last-start winners on the course.

"Neither of them have done too much since their last races, just easy run-alongs," said McKee, who topped off their preparations with a Wednesday gallop at Ellerslie as he had also done last year with Xiong Feng.

Star Treasure qualified for the Karaka Million with a strong performance to win decisively on Boxing Day, after an encouraging debut placing before an under-par effort.

"We rode him handy at Pukekohe where he drew one and he's a very long-legged horse and it probably wasn't the right thing to do," McKee said. "He's a smart colt."

Hasahalo has also won once from three outings and she followed up her narrow defeat by Gift Of Power in the Wakefield Challenge Stakes with a revenge victory in the Eclipse Stakes on New Year's Day.

McKee said he found it difficult to split his pair ahead of the Karaka Million. "Both my horses are pretty similar in their racing patterns, although Hasahalo has raced in the stronger company," he said.

"They both have powerful finishes and they look suited to a pressure race like the Karaka Million."

-NZ Racing Desk.

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