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18 May 2017, 1:26 p.m.

Substitute sister chasing Group One glory

Kelly McCulloch is hoping to do her sister proud when she combines with Benzini in Saturday’s Gr.1 Doomben Cup.

The Pukekohe-based jockey has taken the reins from her injured sibling Rosie Myers, who won the Gr.2 Brisbane Cup on the Adrian and Harry Bull-trained stayer 12 months ago.

“Rosie had a fall and broke a leg. She was desperate to get back to ride Benzini, but the doctors have put her back in a moon boot and she is still out,” McCulloch said.

Benzini finished runner-up in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes and third in the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup before leaving for Brisbane.

“I rode him in a barrier trial and it was a good effort to finish second behind what I am told is a smart horse (Perfect Dare),” McCulloch said.

 

Lucy Liu set for return to centre stage

Lucy Liu is close to opening a new campaign and her connections are confident the mare can make further progress through the grades in the coming months.

“She ran at Wanganui on Castletown Stakes day and she trialled really well at Waverley the other day,” said Johno Benner, who prepares the Thorn Park four-year-old with his partner Hollie Wynyard.

“She should have a good winter, she’s a tidy wet track horse.”

The stable is also expecting Pickngo, recently successful on her home Otaki track on debut, to further her record.

“It was good to get one first-up and there are more wins in store for her,” Benner said.

 

Stakes goal for stable newcomer

Michael and Matthew Pitman have black type hopes for their in-form mare Elfee.

The Riccarton conditioners have been understandably impressed by the former Peter and Dawn Williams-trained mare, who will step out in the Gavelhouse.com Rating 75 Benchmark at Riccarton on Friday.

Elfee has posted two wins from her new quarters and most recently she finished strongly for third.

“Her last run was massive, she should be a huge chance and we might look at the Winter Cup with her,” Michael Pitman said.