Big suc­cess all round for McKays

Puc­cini was true to form

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

Cushla Smithies is whether to take ad­van­tage of Puc­cini’s light hand­i­cap weight – 52.5 kilo­grams – al­lot­ted for the Caulfield Cup or take on a starstud­ded Cox Plate field car­ry­ing five ki­los more un­der the weight-for-age con­di­tions.

‘‘ The Cox Plate is a race I’ve al­ways of dreamed of hav­ing a starter in,’’ says Peter. ‘‘I’ve said to Paul that we’ve got to put our faith in the horse and keep head­ing to­wards the race we’re tar­get­ing.

‘‘If we’re not good enough, we’re not good enough and we can then look at some­thing else, but at this stage that’s where we’re head­ing.’’ Satur­day for the McKays wasn’t only about Puc­cini.

He was their only run­ner at Awa­puni and went south in the care of Ja­cob, while Peter and his wife Kim headed north to Ruakaka with five starters. Sec­ond son Shaun was also in the pay­load and as the sta­ble ap­pren­tice he was booked to ride four of them.

The day couldn’t have started bet­ter when Shaun brought up the fifth win of his brief ca­reer on Can­terino, trained by his fa­ther and brother and owned by his par­ents.

‘‘That was a big thrill for all of us, some­thing to be proud of,’’ says Peter. ‘‘Shaun had al­ready rid­den a win­ner for us but it was this spe­cial on a horse that Kim and I also own.

‘‘And he rode him well too, ex­actly to in­struc­tions.’’

Can­terino is in solid form with wins at his last two starts and is right on tar­get for his big mis­sion, the New Zealand Cup at Ric­car­ton in early Novem­ber. The McKays’ day at Ruakaka also in­cluded sec­ond plac­ings by An­to­nio Lom­bardo and Joey Massino, while they got a sec­ond slice of the ac­tion at Awa­puni when for­mer sta­ble mem­ber Pro­logue won over hur­dles. Peter and Kim share own­er­ship with Paul and Cushla Smithies along with his new trainer, re­spected Wan­ganui jumps horse­man Ray­mond Con­nors.

‘‘All things con­sid­ered it was a big day, one to re­mem­ber,’’ said Peter.

Photo: NZ RAC­ING DESK

MEL­BOURNE HERE I COME: Puc­cini (Vin­nie Col­gan) strides clear in the Me­rial Mile at Awa­puni last Satur­day.

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