IN Racing
McCarthy duo on song for Te Rapa
Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan will head to Te Rapa on Saturday with a couple of in-form runners for breeder-owner Greg McCarthy, and she is expecting them both to go well.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | April 25, 2024
McLaren will contest the Maneline Cambridge 1400 at Te Rapa on Saturday. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan will head to Te Rapa on Saturday with a couple of in-form runners for breeder-owner Greg McCarthy, and she is expecting them both to go well.

McLaren, a five-year-old half-brother to McCarthy’s Group Three winner Ayrton, has been runner-up in his last two outings and will be out to go one better in the Maneline Cambridge 1400.

“He has come out of his Otaki run in good order and I thought he ran well enough down there,” Brennan said.

“He always looks like he is going to fade away and then all of a sudden he hits the line really strongly. He has been a quirky one all the way through, we just kid glove him basically and he seems to respond well to that.

“He picks up a cheque every now and then. He is not an Ayrton, but he is doing well.”

Courtney Barnes will take the reins this weekend where McLaren will jump from barrier 12 with 60kg on his back.

“I prefer an outside draw for him because he likes clear air,” Brennan said.

“Kelly Myers has ridden him in his last three starts and seems to get on well with him. She is suspended so we have got Courtney Barnes on, and I think he is a more of a female ride than a male ride.”

Earlier on the card, Brennan will line-up the fellow McCarthy bred and owned Sir Sterling in the Decise Electrical And Control 1300, with the son of Iffraaj also having placed in his last two starts.

“He also ran a nice race at Otaki,” Brennan said. “He hit the front a bit too soon there and when he does that, he pulls himself up. He probably should have won that. Hopefully we can bide our time and not hit the front too soon, if he is going to get there on Saturday.”

While McCarthy has plenty to look forward to on Saturday, Brennan said he has a couple of youngsters in the barn that are showing plenty of promise for the future.

“We have got four for him,” Brennan said. “We have got a really nice three-year-old Belardo filly, who is a half to Sir Sterling. She had a couple of starts during the season and had a couple of chips taken out of her knee. We are looking forward to her getting back into action.

“We also have a Ribchester two-year-old for him, so there is plenty to look forward to.”

Brennan is also looking forward to her talented jumper English Gambler making his return over hurdles at Te Rapa next week.

“He will start off next weekend at Te Rapa in the Open Hurdle,” she said. “He had a run 10 days ago at Te Rapa over a mile. I would have preferred to sneak in another flat run for him for fitness, but this hurdle race has come up a bit quick. We thought we would have him ready a couple of weeks out, but he has just taken a few more weeks this year because he spelled so well.

“He will obviously go to the front and I expect a good run from him, although I am not expecting him to win first-up. He is going well and doing everything right.”

Part-owned by Australian syndicator Roll The Dice Racing, an Australian campaign has always been on the cards for the gelding, however, it has been decided he is more suited to remain in New Zealand.

“After running in the Great Northern (Hurdle, 4200m) last year, he just didn’t see out the distance, which I felt like he wouldn’t,” Brennan said.

“With all the Australian jumps racing, there isn’t really any short courses for him. There is good enough money to pick up here if he is on song. We are just going to stay on this side of the Tasman and they (Roll The Dice Racing) are happy to do that as well.”

Lauren Brennan Greg McCarthy Mclaren Sir Sterling