Otago Daily Times
Cup race to gauge Spirit of St Louis
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.