Race: New Zealand contingent in Australia unlikely to produce their best
Coventina Bay will be watching for rain on the Gold Coast today. Photo / Provided
Trainer Robbie Patterson looks resigned to defeat for his standout mare Coventina Bay on the Gold Coast tomorrow, but it’s still better than most of his Kiwi counterparts can expect.
Coventina Bay not only faces superstar galloper Zaaki in the A$500,000 Hollindale Stakes, but also the prospect of a heavy track with heavy rain predicted to hit the area today.
Taranaki’s coach Patterson says it won’t ruin Coventina Bay’s chances but even if they had perfect conditions they would struggle to beat Zaaki or Ayrton.
“I’m pretty realistic about what we’re up against,” Patterson said.
“She’s doing really well, but maybe too well because they can get a bit away from you here once the sun goes down on them.
“So I think she will improve with the race and even at her best she probably wouldn’t beat Zaaki, so third place would be a good result for us.”
Patterson says while a heavy track isn’t ideal for Coventina Bay, she will handle it better than some of her rivals and she looks set to enjoy it far more than most other New Zealand-trained horses at the meeting .
The biggest name of these is three-year-old Sword Of State, who at first glance seems perfectly suited for the Guineas of the Gold Coast, but can’t even start on a heavy track.
Coach Mark Walker flies to Queensland this morning and will hit the Gold Coast track this afternoon, likely needing his wellies as 20ml of rain is forecast.
“I’ll see how the track sounds to the owners next and we’ll decide if it starts,” Walker said.
“Heavy won’t really suit him but the weather is the same for next week there so I’m not sure it will improve.”
His Kiwi trainer Andrew Forsman feels the same way with race rival Meritable, but he is likely to start regardless.
“We’re getting him ready for the Fred Best Sprint in a few weeks and he needs a prep race because he hasn’t raced in so long,” Forsman said.
“So it could do the trick even though it’s heavy.”
New Zealand’s two Gold Coast Cup representatives (race three) are expected to handle the wet better than most, with Swords Drawn (1) and Soprano Supreme (10) both in the market for the 2400m event which did not succeed.
“This whole trip is a bit of a rant with Soprano Supreme,” admits Walker. “We thought about the Rotorua Cup here with her, but we thought it would be on a too wet track. It’s dry here and wet in Queensland, but I don’t think that will end her chances.”
Promising juvenile Slipper Island also begins his Queensland campaign in race four tomorrow for Tony Pike.