Awapuni switch richly rewarded
23 December 2017, 5:50 p.m.
An afterthought proved to be a masterstroke when the lightweight Clarify produced a strong staying performance to defy his Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2100m) opposition.
Trainer Peter McKay had originally planned to target the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final (2200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day before switching his attention to Saturday’s Hotel Coachman-sponsored Awapuni feature.
|Clarify Photo: Race Images|
It proved to be an inspired move with the son of Savabeel, in the hands of McKay’s son Shaun, downing the brave topweight Blathwayt, who had to concede six kilos to the winner.
Clarify dropped back from the inside gate before he was off the fence going out of the straight and improved wide to be prominent 600m from home.
“It was a good ride from Shaun, we didn’t want to be stuck on the rail so I told him to get off and get going early,” McKay said.
“He let him slowly stroll forward to be in the fight on the turn. He’s a tough horse and that’s the way to ride him.”
Bred and raced by the Smithies family of Monovale Farm, Clarify’s immediate programme is yet to be confirmed, but his longer-term goal is.
“He’s nominated for the Auckland Cup and we’ll work our way toward that,” McKay said.
His son has now partnered the five-year-old Clarify in four of his five wins.
“Down the back we were three wide with cover and I had a handful on the corner,” he said. “He dug really deep.”
Third home was Alinko Prince, who came from the tail of the field.
“His whole preparation is centred around the Wellington Cup,” trainer Fraser Auret said.
“He only went down by a head in the Chalmers last season so we know he can run the trip and we’re purposefully spacing his races.” – NZ Racing Desk.