Racing: Aussie stayer chasing Auckland Cup berth

Champion trainer Darren Weir.
Champion trainer Darren Weir.

A pass mark from champion trainer Darren Weir at Moonee Valley this week will book Lord Van Percy's flight to New Zealand.

The Victorian horseman and his group of owners, headed by OTI Racing, view the seven-year-old as the ideal type for a tilt at the group one Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on March 11.

"They are all pretty keen for the horse to go over," Weir's racing manager Jeremy Rogers said. "He's running over 2500 metres on Friday night and if he goes all right then it's on."

Lord Van Percy began his career in England with group one-winning trainer Andrew Balding and the son of the former New Zealand shuttle stallion Sir Percy put together a genuine staying record.

He won five races up to 2800 metres on tracks ranging from fast to heavy and he also placed a further eight times from 19 appearances.

Balding won the group one Mackinnon Stakes in 2013 with Side Glance and the following year he brought Lord Van Percy to Australia with Melbourne Cup hopes.

The gelding ran fifth in the Herbert Power at Caulfield, but he subsequently suffered a tendon strain and, following a lengthy spell, he joined Weir's stable.

Lord Van Percy has yet to win in Australia but he has placed in an open handicap and at his most recent appearance he finished fourth over 2400m. "He's going along okay and Darren and the owners are pretty keen to get him up to the two miles," Rogers said.

- NZ Racing Desk

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