IN Racing
Patterson stars to cross paths in Thorndon Mile
“They were only at the trials for the run, but Puntura is a naturally big, strong galloper so we expected him to do that. He’s come through the trial well, so onwards and upwards to Saturday."
Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | January 17, 2024
Puntura will be one of Robbie Patterson's two representatives in the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) on Saturday. Photo: Race Images South

Puntura and One Bold Cat have played a starring role in Robbie Patterson’s successful season and the talented pair will cross paths for the first time this preparation in Saturday’s Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham.

Puntura has been the breadwinner over 1400m to 1600m, with victories in the Gr.3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) and the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m), while One Bold Cat covered the middle-distance events claiming both the Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) and the Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m), as well as a game effort for fifth in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2050m).

Craig Grylls has been aboard both geldings in all but one of those wins and has elected to take the ride aboard Puntura on Saturday, with Wiremu Pinn partnering the son of The Bold One when the pair jump from barrier 7 and 6 respectively.

Patterson’s pair had one final hit-out on Tuesday at the Foxton Trials, with Puntura impressing from the front-running position to take out the 1200m heat, while One Bold Cat was ridden quietly into third position.

“They were only at the trials for the run, but Puntura is a naturally big, strong galloper so we expected him to do that,” Patterson said. “He’s come through the trial well, so onwards and upwards to Saturday.

“I was very happy with One Bold Cat’s trial as well. Jonathan Riddell was told to take him quietly, and he got off and said he was very happy with the horse, and he was lovely to ride.

“The mile is just a bit short for him, but if he can get a nice sit somewhere, I’m sure he won’t be far from the placegetters at the finish. He’s a very good horse.”

Though both are class gallopers, New Plymouth-based Patterson has different motivations for each horse’s acceptance into the Trentham feature and expects the result to reflect this.

A son of Vespa, Puntura’s rise in the Group events gave Patterson every reason to give him a Group One bid, while One Bold Cat is entered to be eligible for the lucrative $500,000 Entain Summer Series Bonus, where he must run in the Thorndon Mile ahead of the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

“Puntura will go forward, while One Bold Cat will just take a slot where he ends up. Over a mile, it’s too short for One Bold Cat, but it’s probably the big fella’s (Puntura) ideal distance,” he said.

“One Bold Cat has to start in the Thorndon to qualify for the half-a-million dollar bonus, so he’s there to qualify himself really, then head to the Herbie Dyke and the Bonecrusher.”

Also making her final preparations at the Foxton trials was Mary Louise, the mare striding effortlessly into second position over 1400m ahead of Saturday’s Gr.3 NZ Campus For Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m).

Another progeny of Grangewilliam Stud’s The Bold One, Mary Louise has made a strong account of herself in competitive northern company this preparation, including a surging late run into third in the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth Cup (2400m) on Boxing Day.

“She’s done well, she trialled up really nicely yesterday as well,” Patterson said.

The versatile five-year-old has been victorious in six of her 14 raceday starts, with winning form on all track conditions from 1400m to 2100m, and Patterson has no doubt in her ability to step-up over 3200m on Saturday under Grylls.

“She’s a lovely, clean-winded horse and I’ve got no worries about the two miles whatsoever. From that draw (13), she’ll take a backwards position and hopefully get a nice trail into the race.” he said.

“Looking at the field, she’s beaten most of them or competed in bigger races, so I’d be disappointed if she’s not thereabouts in the finish.”

Mary Louise currently sits a $5.50 TAB Fixed Odds second-favourite for the Cup, with fellow Taranaki-trained galloper Waisake topping the market at $3.30.

Completing Patterson’s representation at Trentham will be a pair of runners in the John Turkington Forestry Douro Cup (1600m), in Contribute and Our Jumala.

Patterson’s apprentice Ciel Butler will provide three-kilograms of weight relief for Contribute, who carries 60.5kg following a successful Queensland campaign under the care of Stewart and Taylah Mackinnon, which resulted in two victories and three minor placings.

The Contributer mare featured in Puntura’s winning trial under Butler, though Patterson indicated the Trentham race is primarily to set her for the Gr.3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) on February 3 at New Plymouth.

“She’ll be there just for the run, she’s getting ready for the Taranaki Cup so this will set her up for the rest of the season,” he said. She’ll go back as she naturally does, it’ll be too short for her but hopefully she’ll run home and be strong to the line.”

Stablemate Our Jumala has been a model of consistency this preparation and was strong in claiming a third career win under Grylls at New Plymouth on December 27. Patterson had hoped for a favourable draw for the Zed mare, however, admitted her task will be tougher having been allocated barrier 14 on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a bit tricky for her on Saturday, she’d like some ease in the ground and also being drawn 14, I would’ve loved to see her draw in,” he said. “But she’s a horse with a bit of ability and hopefully she can get a nice run somewhere, and run home well.” 

Robbie Patterson Puntura One Bold Cat Mary Louise Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes Entain Summer Bonus Series Our Jumala Contribute The Bold One Vespa Craig Grylls