Matamata mare Cork is on her way home after a pleasing hit-and-run mission on Saturday’s Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton where she finished runner-up to Belardo Boy.
Pam Gerard, who trains the six-year-old in partnership with Michael Moroney, was pleased with her efforts on her first trip away from home.
“She got down there on Wednesday and we were very happy with the horse. She’d never travelled before and she improved each day,” she said.
The daughter of Complacent settled midfield for jockey Kozzi Asano and stalked Belardo Boy throughout. The pair followed the Lisa Latta-trained gelding into the race and found clear air at the 300m and flew home late to just go down to the victor.
“She can hit a flat spot in her races, and she probably caught Kozzi out a little bit, having his first ride on her, but she flew out of the ground late,” Gerard said.
“She’s a dream to ride, drops the bit, and had to sustain a run from a fair way out. She had to change ground and it took her a bit to wind up.
“The mile is probably just short enough for her and although heavy, the track was a bit too good for her. They got along at a decent clip and the overall time suggested the ground wasn’t too bad.
“She’s proved happier going right-handed too, but we were pretty pleased with her despite not winning.
“She hasn’t been up to travelling previously, just because she’s lacked the constitution, but this should really bring her on.”
Gerard did contemplate backing her up at Riccarton this coming Saturday but has elected to bring her home instead for a freshen-up before a potential tilt at the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival.
“Without a stakes race available for her on the last day, we will get her home in the paddock for a week and see what the weather does,” she said.
“She’d travelled, raced well, and to back her up in a week might have been a bit much to ask.
“There’s not much at home for her at the moment either, but if the track was to come up heavy at Hastings (Spring Carnival) she could have a go.”
Carrying the Fletcher tartan of owners by Dame Sian Elias, Natalie Walker, Ned Fletcher and Hugh Fletcher, Cork was selected by Paul Moroney and Ballymore Stables NZ at the 2019 Karaka Book 2 Sale and bought for $30,000 from the Blandford Lodge draft of breeders Graham & Helen-Gaye Bax.