Pit­man horse more savvy this time round

The Southland Times - - Racing -

The oc­ca­sion sur­round­ing the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) with glam­our mare Winx got too much for Kiwi gal­loper Savvy Coup ac­cord­ing to her con­nec­tions, but they be­lieve she is primed to con­test her ma­jor Mel­bourne tar­get to­day, the Gr.2 Ma­tri­arch Stakes (2000m) at Flem­ing­ton.

The Kiwi mare pulled hard through­out the Moonee Val­ley fea­ture a fort­night ago and Michael Pit­man, who trains the mare in part­ner­ship with his son Matthew, was happy enough with the run de­spite the cir­cum­stances. ‘‘She just lost the plot (in the Cox Plate),’’ he said.

‘‘She was quiet and very set­tled out the back, but as soon as she got into the pa­rade ring she just lost it. She pulled hard in the pre­lim, she got bumped a cou­ple of times by Winx and she just over-raced and ran her­self into the ground re­ally.

‘‘She nor­mally just set­tles out the back and re­laxes up. She gets keen, but Michael Mc­Nab and Chris John­son have rid­den her most of the time and they have never said it has been an is­sue, but the other day she just got right up on the steel be­hind the pace and I thought it was an out­stand­ing run to fin­ish as close as she did.’’ Pit­man is happy with the way his four-year-old mare has pulled up af­ter the Cox Plate and said she has been work­ing well.

‘‘We think she has im­proved since the Cox Plate, which was al­ways go­ing to be the case be­cause I’ve quite openly stated that the Cox Plate wasn’t her grand fi­nale, it just hap­pened that it was a suit­able race to use to lead into the Ma­tri­arch,’’ Pit­man said.

Savvy Coup has drawn the out­side bar­rier in the 15-horse field, but that poses no con­cern for Pit­man who is con­fi­dent with the mare, a $7.50 equal sec­ond-favourite for the race with TAB book­mak­ers.

‘‘I’d rather draw there than the in­side be­cause Flem­ing­ton has had plenty of rac­ing on it and the fence might be a bit off I would imag­ine. It has had three days of rac­ing on it al­ready this week,’’ Pit­man said.

‘‘She has drawn wide plenty of times, she drew wide in the Oaks and the Li­va­mol and Chris (John­son, jockey) will work it out.

‘‘I’ve been in Aus­tralia enough times, I’ve won 20-odd races there, to know that if you’re in the mar­ket you’re a chance. She was a 60-1 shot in the Cox Plate and ran ac­cord­ingly, but this week she is sec­ond favourite in the Ma­tri­arch.’’

Al­though Pit­man, who is bat­tling bowel cancer, was able to make it to Mel­bourne for the Cox Plate, he won’t be at Flem­ing­ton on to­day as he is cur­rently back in hos­pi­tal af­ter com­pli­ca­tions re­lat­ing to his ill­ness.

‘‘I’m cur­rently in hos­pi­tal and I’m go­ing to be here pos­si­bly for an­other week,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got a prob­lem with what they call a col­lec­tion area in the pelvis, which is get­ting treated twice a day with an­tibi­otics.’’

His stay mean that he can’t at­tend the first day of the New Zea­land Cup car­ni­val on his home­track of Ric­car­ton on Sat­ur­day, where his sta­ble will line-up 20 run­ners, in­clud­ing three in the Pe­ga­sus Stakes Hand­i­cap (1000m).

The Pit­man sta­ble holds a strong hand with last-start win­ner Morse Code and stakes-placed geld­ing Mr Typhoon, but Pit­man has la­belled four-year-old en­tire Sen­sei his best chance.

‘‘If it was a dry track I would ex­pect Sen­sei to win it,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s been aimed at this race this prep and he’ll prob­a­bly only have one run be­tween Sat­ur­day and the Tele­graph.

‘‘But if it comes up wet or the track is over ir­ri­gated like it was last-start he’ll prob­a­bly strug­gle. He wants a gen­uine firm track.

NZ Rac­ing Desk

RACE IMAGES

Savvy Coup will again have reg­u­lar rider Chris John­son aboard to­day at Flem­ing­ton.

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