A trip to Riccarton to contest the Gr.3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) on the middle day of Christchurch Cup & Show Week on November 9 is the next target for the Tony Pike-trained Providenceprovides after she delivered a hard-fought victory in the Courtesy Ford Red Craze Bowl (1400m) at Awapuni.
The five-year-old daughter of Real Impact was sent out a short-priced ($2.30) favourite for the open class contest and looked to have the victory well in hand when she loomed into contention for rider Kozzi Asano at the 300m.
Asano appeared to have a lapful of horse as he sent her two lengths clear, but just as victory looked assured the mare began to loaf out in front and was in real danger of defeat as Belclare flashed at her late.
Belclare briefly headed the favourite at the 100m, however Providenceprovides found plenty in reserve to thrust her head back in front at the winning post to take victory by the barest of margins.
Trainer Tony Pike explained that a gear change recommended by leading jockey Michael McNab after he had ridden her in her previous start, may have contributed to the mare’s wayward behaviour as she waited for her opposition to challenge her in the straight.
“I don’t think she was really done at the 200m, as Michael convinced me to take the blinkers off her as she was just going a bit keen with them on,” Pike said.
“I think she was just waiting for them all the way up the straight, but when she got headed, she has fought back comfortably and pricked her ears after the post.”
Pike is keen to get a measure of revenge for the mare at Riccarton after she hit the running rail at the 100m when well clear of her rivals in the Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) on the middle day of the Carnival last year, an incident that cost her certain victory.
“I think she will run a strong mile as she relaxed nicely with the blinkers off,” he said.
“We’ll get her home and if she pulls up well there’s no reason off a light weight why we wouldn’t head down there (to Riccarton).
“She’s only just maturing into herself, as she is a big, scopey mare and has probably come back a lot stronger this prep.
“She should be in for a good season.”
Raced by China Horse Club Racing PTY Ltd, Providenceprovides has now won three of her 14 starts with four of her six placings coming at stakes level.