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High hopes for a quality performance

20 December 2017, 2:43 p.m.

High Quality looks well-placed at Otaki on Thursday to provide his teenage jockey Sam O’Malley with an early festive present.

The lightly-tried five-year-old will benefit from the 19-year-old’s four and a-half kilo claim in the First Sovereign Trust Horowhenua Christmas Cup (2100m) and they should prove a handful for their Rating 75 rivals.

High Quality Photo: Race Images

“Sam’s apprenticed to me and I’d love to give him a winner and then he’ll be away,” trainer Geoff Haigh said.

The winner of three of his 11 starts, High Quality weighed in with a solid performance at Woodville two runs back and again finished fifth at his most recent appearance.

“At his last run at Waipukurau, young Sam just went a bit too soon,” Haigh said. “He hooked out at the 600 and should have held him up a bit longer, but he’s still learning and knows now.

“The horse is pretty genuine and always turns in good runs.”

O’Malley is in his second full season of riding and went closest to opening his winning account when runner-up on High Quality at New Plymouth in August.

While the horse’s three wins have come on rain-affected ground, firmer going isn’t expected to trouble the Handsome Ransom gelding.

“The firmer tracks don’t seem to bother him,” Haigh said. “He probably needs to get up to 2400m and there will be something during the Wellington Cup meeting for him.”

The Summer Cup (2400m) at Trentham on January 27 looms as a possible target. – NZ Racing Desk.