Former good three-year-old Cavallo Veloce put nearly two years’ worth of frustration behind him when he bounced back to winning form with a dominant display over 1200m at Awapuni. The Peter McKay-trained galloper had last sighted the winner’s enclosure at the same venue back in March 2019, however a series of niggling issues including problems with his feet, had him struggling to find his best form since then.
McKay kept his faith in the O’Reilly gelding and was rewarded on Saturday as his charge came with a barnstorming finish in the hands of his son Shaun to down the well favoured Challa and register his fourth career victory. “It’s been a frustrating run with him, so it’s good to get a win today,” McKay said.
“He showed plenty as a three-year-old but spent most of his four-year-old campaign with issues after he jarred up racing at Hastings. “We put him aside and tried a few things, but he’s just one of those horses that if it’s not a foot problem then it’s boils or niggling things like that which affect him.”
Given a brief freshen up after a disappointing run on a hard track at Ellerslie last month, McKay was hoping for a better effort on Saturday and got just what he was looking for. “He likes tracks like Awapuni and Trentham, so I was hopeful he could come out and go a good race,” he said.
“He needs things to go his way and he got that as they went pretty hard up front and he could just peel off their backs and come with one run. “He carried 61kgs, but he sprinted home really well which shows that on his day he is still a very competitive horse.”
McKay is uncertain of where to go next with his charge, with a lack of suitable races available to him. “He’s pretty much a 1200m horse these days but he’s not quite up to the real good ones so we have to place him well,” he said.
“There seems to be a hole in the system as they are not running the rating 82 grade races and that means he has to either tackle the good ones or lump around huge weights in a lower grade. “I think the best option for him is to give him a few days off and bring him back for an open 1200m here in February, but I’ll have to check the programming to see if there are any other options.”
Cavallo Veloce has now won four of his 28 career starts with three of his eight placings being at stakes level.