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23 November 2017, 5:22 p.m.

Change of luck for Mark

An inside draw could be the key to an overdue change of fortune for Group One winner Marky Mark at Pukekohe on Saturday.

Marky Mark has won twice since taking the 2015 Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni, but in several of his subsequent starts he has been unlucky, as was the case in both his starts last autumn.

He lost his rider in the Gr.2 Windsor Park Japan NZ International Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga then copped a check when unplaced at Te Rapa the following month. And again fresh-up at Ellerslie earlier this month luck didn’t go his way.

“He drew wide at Ellerslie and was trapped out and had to work too hard,” co-trainer Moira Murdoch said. “It was just too tough for him.

“He’s only a little horse and because of that he gets knocked around a lot in his races, but he tries.”

Marky Mark has drawn the ace in the Fasttrack Insurance 1400 on Saturday and Murdoch is hoping that barrier will enable him to get a softer run and be saved up for his best work at the finish.

 

Change of Royal headgear

Royal Success will have a change of headgear when he attempts to regain winning form at Te Rapa next start.

The Savabeel five-year-old was tried in blinkers for the first time when he won narrowly at Rotorua last month and again wore the headgear when going down a head to Natuzzi at Tauranga last Saturday.

“He got to the front at Tauranga then the winner ran past him and he came back and had another crack. He didn’t see the other horse until he was headed by him,” co-trainer Stephen Autridge said.

“We’re taking the blinkers off and putting a vizor on.

“Apart from that, he’s going well. He’ll start next in the Listed Swap (Contractors) Sprint at Te Rapa on Waikato Cup day.”

Royal Success has won five of his 11 starts and been runner-up on three occasions. All bar two of his outings have been over 1400 metres, the exceptions being his two wins at 1600m.

Meanwhile, stablemate Splurge has come through his third behind Natuzzi and Royal Success last Saturday in good order and will head to the Gr.1 $200,000 Rydges Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on December 9.

Splurge holds a nomination for the Gr.1 $200,000 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 1.

 

Differing paths for stablemates

Stablemates Francaletta, Deals In Heels and Coldplay are likely to take different paths after clashing in the Gr.2 NRM Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

Francaletta will be out to complete a double after winning the Gr.3 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Hawera last month, while Deals In Heels is also a last-start winner, having taken her record to five wins from seven starts when beating Galaxy Miss at Tauranga earlier this month.

On the other hand, Coldplay comes into Saturday’s race on the fresh side, having not raced since finishing unplaced in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings on September 23. She did, however, trial well at Cambridge recently when scoring over 935 metres.

“This is the race we’ve targeted for Deals In Heels and Francaletta for a while,” co-trainer Murray Baker said. “They could go out for a spell after this.

“Coldplay just couldn’t cope with the wet tracks in the spring and she’s doing well. She’ll go on to some of the good races.”

Coldplay has suffered worst of the trio of stablemates in the barrier draws for the Breeders Stakes, having landed 14. Deals In Heels has barrier 11 and Francaletta eight.

“She (Coldplay) has to have some luck from the draw. It’s going to make it tough for her,” Baker said.

Deals In Heels, the mount of Matt Cameron, would appreciate some easing of the ground, as is the case with Francaletta, who will be ridden by Michael Coleman. Johnathan Parkes has landed the ride on Coldplay.