Big success all round for McKays
Puccini was true to form
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.
MELBOURNE HERE I COME: Puccini (Vinnie Colgan) strides clear in the Merial Mile at Awapuni last Saturday.