Princess caps Ka­vanagh year

The Sportsman Special Issue - - 2 - By MATHEW TOOGOOD

BY his own ad­mis­sion Mark Ka­vanagh has had a year to re­mem­ber.

The like­able trainer, who boasts Group One per­form­ers Di­vine Madonna, Mal­di­vian and Devil Moon as his stable stars, has gone from strength to strength in 2007 with five vic­to­ries at Group One level.

Toput that into per­spec­tive, Ka­vanagh sits along­side Lee Freed­man and David Hayes for Group One win­ners in 2007, sec­ond only to Gai Waterhouse who trained eight Group One win­ners in the cal­en­dar year.

On Box­ing Day at Caulfield Ka­vanagh will aim to end the year on a great note with vic­tory in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield with Princess Marizza.

If Princess Marizza is suc­cess­ful on Wed­nes­day it will be Ka­vanagh’s 15th stakes win­ner for 2007.

It’s been out­stand­ing,’’ Ka­vanagh said in ref­er­ence to the year he has had.

It’s been by far and away my best year as a trainer.’’

Princess Marizza re­turned to form last week­end at Flem­ing­ton when win­ning a 1600m Mares Hand­i­cap by three lengths with Stephen Baster in the sad­dle.

The win co­in­cided with a re­turn to her most ef­fec­tive racing style af­ter she sat near the speed at Moonee Val­ley the start be­fore and was well beaten.

I was pleased with her win last week,’’ Ka­vanagh said.

She’s got to be rid­den back like that and come around them. She just has to swoop,’’ he said.

So from bar­rier 12 on Wed­nes­day ex­pect Baster to drop the mare back in the field and wait for the last crack at them in the straight.

She’s come through (her last run) very well,’’ the trainer said.

There’s a few horses in the race go­ing well. It’s a pretty even field and I would say Shark­bite would prob­a­bly be the favourite. But I feel she’s right around them as one of the chances.’’

Shark­bite was an im­pres­sive win­ner of a 1700m Open Hand­i­cap at Flem­ing­ton last week­end, de­feat­ing Poised To Win.

Mean­while, Ka­vanagh said Group One win­ners Mal­di­vian and Devil Moon were back in the stable at Flem­ing­ton while his other Group One win­ner Di­vine Madonna will be back in the stable in mid-Jan­uary.

Tipung­wuti, the Group Two Tul­loch Stakes win­ner whose spring was cut short through in­jury is also back in the stable get­ting ready for 2008.

With that, Ka­vanagh hopes to con­tinue on his win­ning ways next year— a year which could see the trainer tak­ing Di­vine Madonna to Eng­land’s Royal As­cot.

I’m par­tic­u­larly look­ing for­ward to do­ing well again (in 2008) like last year,’’ Ka­vanagh said.

Hope­fully we can con­tinue go­ing like we have this year.’’

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