The New Zealand Herald

Princess heads for a pop star swansong in Opunake Cup feature


Cambridge trainer Fred Cornege is refusing to get involved in the sentiment surroundin­g stable star Pop Star Princess’ likely final start for the stable in tomorrow’s Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup (1400m) at New Plymouth.

Cornege and his wife Lindsay train and share the racing ownership of Pop Star Princess with Pat and Sue Calnan but their lease expires at the end of the month, so tomorrow’s feature is set to be the Makfi six-yearold mare’s swansong for the stable.

A winner of 10 of her 40 starts, Pop Star Princess has won twice at stakes level in the Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) and Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m) earlier in her current preparatio­n.

“Lindsay and the grandkids love her. I don’t get emotionall­y involved in the horses. I look after them. But there will be an empty space for a day or two when she leaves,” Cornege said.

“If she could win on Saturday, then it’s more money in the bank, but it would be the icing on the cake. She’s been fantastic to me and Lindsay. She’s been a horse of a lifetime.”

While Cornege wasn’t completely ruling out backing up Pop Star Princess in the open sprint at Rotorua on Saturday week, he was approachin­g the Opunake Cup as her final run for the stable and was delighted with her condition.

“I am very pleased with her work, she generally doesn’t do much. She’s a very fit horse now and we know what she’s capable of,” he said.

“If she can get the run of the race to suit her, they’ll know she’s been there. She never runs a bad one.”

A Heavy11 track is wetter than Pop Star Princess prefers but her wins in the Rotorua and Tauranga fillies and mares features were both on Heavy11 tracks and her frontrunni­ng racing style means she avoids any kickback from the track.

TAB bookmakers have Pop Star Princess as a $9 fifth favourite.

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