Otago Daily Times

Cup race to gauge Spirit of St Louis

- STEVE HEP­BURN Sports · Horse Racing · New Zealand · Memphis · Tennessee · Invercargill · Southland Region

THE coun­try comes to the town to­mor­row as the Tuapeka Har­ness Rac­ing Club holds its an­nual meet­ing at For­bury Park.

It is just the sec­ond meet­ing at the com­plex in the past seven months, and with fine weather fore­cast it is hoped a good crowd will be in at­ten­dance.

The main race is the Tuapeka Cup, set to start at 3.39pm.

It will be a chance for Spirit Of St Louis to get back into rac­ing form after a few weeks away and set a marker for what lies ahead.

Spirit of St Louis last raced at Win­ton at the start of last month, where he fin­ished third — not bad con­sid­er­ing the track was wet, which did not suit him.

But the horse has been both­ered by an in­fec­tion and has strug­gled for a few weeks.

So the start to­mor­row in the Tuapeka Cup will be a good mark for trainer Graeme An­der­son to see where his charge is.

‘‘We’ve had a bit of set­back with him. He was strug­gling with a vi­ral in­fec­tion and we’ve been try­ing to get him right,’’ An­der­son said.

‘‘We have to start some­where now. But he is a happy horse and we have just run him now and he seems to be go­ing well.’’

An­der­son was set­ting the horse for the South­ern Supremacy Stakes fi­nal in In­ver­cargill next week, so the Cup race would be a good guide to how he was look­ing for the fu­ture.

Longer term, Spirit Of St Louis has been nom­i­nated for the NZ Cup. The ill­ness may have set the horse back, but An­der­son was not rul­ing out a crack at the race, though it is less than three weeks away.

Spirit Of St Louis is com­ing off the 30m mark in an eight­horse field to­mor­row, so it is not go­ing to be easy. He is again driven by Matt Wil­liamson.

Also com­ing off the 30m mark is Robyns Play­boy, who had been in good form. But he dis­ap­pointed at his last race out, fin­ish­ing fifth at the North­ern South­land meet, and will be look­ing to bounce back.

Start­ing at the front will be Memphis Ten­nessee, who will be a real chance and is bound to lead from the front.

The Ge­off and Judy Knight­trained Deus Ex is also a real chance, and com­ing back after a two­month lay­off, fin­ished an en­cour­ag­ing fourth at North­ern South­land.

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