Prestige winner Hinepara delivered exactly the Te Rapa performance trainer Josh Shaw was hoping for and an effort that has fuelled further feature staying race ambitions.
The reigning Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) champion made her first appearance for six weeks in Saturday’s open 1600m event and the Darci Brahma mare was doing her best work late in the piece to run fourth.
“It was good to see a run like that and I was proud to see her show a bit of form,” Shaw said.
“I thought she would run a good race and I had rung the owners and said if she doesn’t run in the top six I would be disappointed.”
The Levin trainer has had his share of problems with Hinepara, but now believes she has turned a corner.
“I haven’t quite got her 100 percent right, she’s had quite a few foot issues this year so I’ve been behind the eight ball a bit,” Shaw said.
“She had a gallop last week with my good mare Faraglioni and showed me then that she was coming back to her peak.”
The defence of her Avondale Cup title is on Hinepara’s program on the way to a crack at the Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).
“I’ve pencilled in for her to go to the Taupo Cup and then the Trentham Stakes and three weeks later there is an open 2100m at Awapuni to lead into the Avondale Cup,” Shaw said.
“Hopefully, this time we can get to the Auckland Cup and then that will be her done. She didn’t get there last time with a little issue.
“We could have got her to the race, but she wouldn’t have been 100 percent so we pulled up stumps and put her in the paddock.”
Shaw was also delighted with the last start performance at Te Rapa of his progressive mare Faraglioni and believes the daughter of El Roca is capable of making her mark in top company.
The four-year-old has been successful in three of her nine starts and had won during the Hawke’s Bay carnival and on her home track before she finished third at Te Rapa.
“I honestly don’t know how good she is. Everything she is doing is coming while she is still learning,” Shaw said.
“She’s still floating around so once she puts it all together I think she will be a pretty serious racehorse.”
Shaw has his fingers crossed Faraglioni will make the field for the $100,000 special conditions event at Pukekohe Park on Boxing Day.
“I’m hoping she gains a start on Monday in the Stella Artois Championship Final (1500m) and I think she will be spot on for that,” Shaw said.
“I had been a bit kind on her after she won at Otaki. She banged a leg and I backed off her for 10 days and missed a little bit of work leading into Saturday’s race.
“She needed a good hit-out to go to Monday’s race so we got what we needed.”