Local trainer Lance Robinson went to Riccarton on Monday confident of his chances in the KN Cooltainer Premier (1400m) and his optimism was rewarded with a three-quarter of a length victory by Avaquinella in the opening race of the New Zealand Cup Day card.
The five-year-old mare was runner-up behind Belclare in the Gr.3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at the Christchurch track last week, but she wasn’t to be denied five days later.
“We expected her to run really well. Her run for second in the Valachi was a top run and she was very unlucky the start before,” Robinson said.
No summer targets have been identified at this stage for Avaquinella, however, a trip north in the coming month is on the cards for stablemate Live Drama, who finished sixth in the Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes.
“She (Avaquinella) will have two or three quiet days and we will reassess things after that,” he said.
“Live Drama copped bad interference and was dragged right back to last and she never had any luck at all, but still ran home well.
“She has come through that well and we are thinking about bringing her up for the Captain Cook (Gr.1, 1600m) in three weeks.”
Later on the card, Robinson was proud of Jack Knows Best’s efforts in the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) and believes he will be a more furnished horse in next year’s running of the staying feature.
“He drew 24 and had to do a lot of work to get over. He was going from start to finish, he never really got a chance to have a break at any part of it,” Robinson said.
“We were still happy with his run, and he tried hard. He is still only a young stayer so this time next year he will be that much stronger again.”
Meanwhile, Khimar War may head for a freshen-up after his seventh-placed run in the KN Cooltainer Premier (1400m) at Riccarton on Monday.
“He may have a bit of a break,” Robinson said.
“He hasn’t had the rub of the green. Ryan Elliot said forget yesterday’s run, he slipped badly coming out of the barriers and he was out of the race from the get-go. But he said he got home well under his big weight.”