IN Racing
Late call leaves McKay’s travelling party intact
A weather change at Hastings will see Peter McKay send a classy team of horses down to the Premier day.
Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | September 27, 2023
Sagunto will line-up at Hastings on Saturday. (Race Images)

Peter McKay came close on Wednesday morning to trimming his Hawke’s Bay-bound team down before leaving all six of his runners in the mix for the trip south.

The Matamata horseman, who trains with son Shaun, was happy to leave stable stalwart Sagunto and Strange Love in contention and following a conversation with Hastings track manager Richard Fenwick accepted with his other runners.

“I was five minutes away from pulling most of them out and then I talked to Richard and he said the sun had popped out and it was blowing,” McKay said.

“You wouldn’t know what could happen in the next few days and if the track does come back, I would have been kicking myself if I had pulled them out.”

Sagunto will bid for a carnival double when he steps out in the Betta Inspect It Premier (2000m) after he ran his rivals ragged for a first-up victory over 1600m three weeks ago.

“He got in well at the weights (54kg) and now we’re up to 60.5kg, which makes it harder, but he deserves it as he’s won nine and getting close to $300,000,” McKay said.

“He likes to free roll and tries very hard so he makes the races interesting if the track isn’t too bad.”

McKay said he learned a lesson with Sagunto when he led all the way to win last season’s Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2300m).

“I was going to scratch him because of the heavy track and he had been a bit of a duffer on them before that, but he got the job done. He’s very well and a happy horse so we’ll see what happens on Saturday,” he said.

Strange Love will return from a break in the Colliers Commercial HB Premier (1400m), in which stablemate and first day placegetter Don Pauly is also an acceptor.

“Strange Love has won on a heavy track and she’s well and Don Pauly is getting there, he was a weakish three-year-old and he’s strengthened up a bit,” McKay said.

“He ran second at Matamata one day and he got through it well enough.”

Multiple winners Langkawi and Cavallo Veloce are set to go head-to-head in the Oaklane Stables Chaff Premier (1300m).

“They need to get a run under their belts and Langkawi can sometimes take two or three runs and Cavallo Veloce does go well fresh,” McKay said.

“He’s never won a race at Hawke’s Bay, he’s placed there a good few times though and it’s a kick off point and if he ran in the top half a-dozen I would be happy.

Bad ‘n Bouj finished well for third on the opening day of the carnival and the step up to 1600m will be to her liking.

The mare is owned by McKay’s son Jacob, who formerly trained the seven-year-old, and he had words of encouragement for Hastings.

“She was putting in some good strides late and I was talking to Jacob and he said she’s gone okay on a Slow 7 or possibly an 8,” McKay said.

“She has got topweight (59.5kg) and I don’t want to get to the bottom of her, but if the track does come back it will suit her and she’s up to a distance she enjoys."

Sagunto strange love don pauly Langkawi Cavallo Veloce