IN Racing
Liefting chasing turnaround in Cup fortunes
Rudy Liefting was left rueing what might have been in last year’s Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup with Mont Ventoux.
NZ Racing Desk | July 19, 2022
Photo: Trish Dunell

Rudy Liefting was left rueing what might have been in last year’s Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup (1400m) with Mont Ventoux and will give his versatile winter performer another crack at the Central Districts feature this Saturday.

The Pukekohe Park trainer was bullish about his chances at New Plymouth 12 months ago, only to see his hopes extinguished at barrier rise.

“I think he would have gone close to winning it, but you wouldn’t believe it – the gates flew open and the jockey fell off,” Liefting said.

“He won the race without the jockey. He just cantered around and was stargazing at the crowd and won it easily so I reckon he would have been in the first three with the rider on.”

Following that disappointment, Mont Ventoux continued his travels south to front up in the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton and came from well back in the running to finish eighth.

Liefting has the gelded son of Nom Du Jeu in the Winning Edge Presentations-sponsored Riccarton feature again and his presence there will be determined by this weekend’s performance.

“If he goes okay on Saturday then I might be forced to go to go down there, there probably isn’t much else around for him,” he said.

Mont Ventoux has been in fine touch this preparation and won over a mile at Avondale two runs back before he made it two on the bounce with a comfortable victory in the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m).

“We find he’s been a little bit more useful at the shorter distances and that was the furthest he had gone at Tauranga,” Liefting said.

“He is more effective at 1400 or 1600m and it’s a bit hard to place winter horses now, there aren’t the options of the old days so I’ve freshened him up to have a go.

“He gets back and if he doesn’t get his momentum broken then he can carry on and win. He’s won quite well over 1400m in the lower grades.”

Liefting has yet to confirm a jockey for Mont Ventoux, but was leaning toward giving apprentice Niranjan Parmar another opportunity.

“Niranjan will be coming with me and he will be riding the other two on the undercard so I’ll probably give him the ride in Opunake Cup,” Liefting said.

“He has ridden the horse before so he knows him and he can ride light.

“Mont Ventoux won’t be one of the favourites so it’s not like the phone will be ringing off the hook with a lot of jockeys away having an end of season holiday.”

Stablemate Magdala has previously be seen to advantage on the New Plymouth course while Liefting is hoping two-year-old Moving Forward gains a start.

“Magdala won her last start down there in a midweek race and she’s got a good record at New Plymouth, she’s won five races and three of them have been on the course,” he said.

“Moving Forward is a home-bred horse by Move Faster and he went quite well in his first start. I quite like him and he’s bred to go in the mud.”

Move Faster was trained throughout his career by Liefting and won four races on heavy going, including the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) and the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m), and now stands him at stud.

The stallion is a son of the former top-class mare Justa Tad, who claimed top-flight titles in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and New Zealand Oaks (2400m). She also placed at Group One level in the Australian Oaks (2400m), Arrowfield Stud Stakes (2000m) and Underwood Stakes (1800m)

Rudy Liefting Powerworx Opunake Cup Mont Ventoux Pukekohe Park Winter Cup Nom Du Jeu Kiwifruit Cup Niranjan Parmar Magdala Moving Forward Move Faster Wanganui Guineas Ryder Stakes Justa Tad New Zealand 1000 Guineas New Zealand Oaks Australian Oaks Arrowfield Stud Stakes Underwood Stakes