Veteran wins cup
Amanood Lad might be in the twilight of his racing career, but the sprightly veteran is still more than a match for the best jumpers in the country.
The 13-year-old proved that again at Ellerslie yesterday when he lumped 71kg to claim The Tractor Centre Pakuranga Hunt Cup.
“He’s done it in style and with a lot of weight,” trainer Paul Nelson said. “He loves Ellerslie and he loves jumping, he’s a pleasure to have.”
A fourth start in the Irvines Great Northern Steeplechase in a fortnight’s time now beckons Amanood Lad, who reserves his best for the Auckland course.
The 2014 champion and two-time placegetter has also twice won the McGregor Grant Steeplechase at Ellerslie and two placings in the Hunt Cup preceded his brave victory on Saturday.
“I thought he may have been a bit underdone with five weeks between races and he still looked a bit fresh, I wondered if we had done enough work with him,” Nelson said.
However, last month’s Wellington Steeplechase winner revelled in his work in or near the lead throughout the 4900 metres.
“He was a bit keener than his previous races and he was going well on the top of the hill the last time,” rider Aaron Kuru said.
Amanood Lad took control of the race shortly after and he stayed on strongly to score by a length and a half from the favourite Wise Men Say and Tizza Secret completed an all central districts finish.
“He probably got to the front a bit early really,” Kuru said. “He’s got a big heart and he tries his hardest every time, that’s all you can ask for.”
Amanood Lad, left, clears the Kenny Brown brush in the lead.