Fraser Auret is hoping to unearth another quality three-year-old in the Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1200m) on Saturday. The Marton trainer took out last year’s race in emphatic style when Cooga Doon distanced his rivals to win by nine lengths. There was plenty of interest in the son of Makfi after the race and he was subsequently sold to Hong Kong interests for a seven-figure sum.
Auret will be represented in this year’s Guineas by Mogador who takes the same form into the race as his stable predecessor after winning on debut over 1200m at Waverley last month. “He came through his win at Waverley really nicely,” Auret said. “The space between races is spot on. It is just a very different track at Wanganui. It was a beautiful, fresh track the day he won at Waverley and it will be more testing (track rated a Heavy10 on Wednesday morning) come Saturday. “But he has worked on really nicely, so we are very happy with him.”
While Auret is pleased with Mogador heading into Saturday, he said he is not taking the same confidence into the race as he did last year. “Cooga Doon won by seven lengths on the track at Wanganui leading in to the Guineas last year and it is very much a horses for courses type of place,” Auret said. “We had a lot more confidence on that basis alone last year, but we will certainly be doing our best to try and go again.”
Auret will also line-up five-win mare Italian Lover in the Herston Robinson Memorial Foxton Cup (2040m) on Saturday. The daughter of Zed finished 12th first-up over a mile at Hawera last month and Auret believes she will once again need the run this weekend. “Italian Lover has never had a very good first-up record and has never gone that well at a mile,” he said. “As she has got older she has wanted a better track, which is unlikely to eventuate on Saturday.
“She will run at this stage and something like the Feilding Cup (Listed, 2100m) in six weeks’ time will be her first main target. “At this stage it’s just getting miles under her legs. I would say she would find the going a little bit tough on Saturday.”
While looking forward to Saturday, Auret will head to Otaki on Thursday where he will line-up seven runners, and he has highlighted Miss Favelon and Martina Rose as his two best chances of the day. “Miss Falvelon is quite a nice mare,” he said. “She has progressed really nicely and I thought her fresh-up run for fourth had quite a bit of merit. “Up to 1400m and with that run under her belt she would certainly be one of our stronger chances. “Martina Rose is another that went quite nicely first-up and we are just hoping for the best really.”
Three-year-old filly Solved will make her debut on Thursday and while not expecting a lot in her first-up assignment, Auret said she is one to keep an eye on heading into summer. “Solved is a lovely filly, but she is unknown on these sort of tracks (Heavy),” Auret said. “It will be quite testing, but her trials and the form out of the trials has been strong so I think she is a filly worth following when the tracks start to dry up.”