Ashburton galloper Diorissimo proved that she can handle the staying test of two miles in the Group 3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) last month and trainers Sarah and Matthew Smith are eyeing further Cups assignments with the mare.
The husband and wife team were thrilled with her efforts in the New Zealand Cup, where she finished fourth, and that performance gave them the confidence to put in a late nomination for the Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m). “We were really happy with how she went because we were unsure about how she would handle the distance,” Sarah Smith said.
“It was a good ride from Sam (Wynne, jockey) and she finished it off really well. I think she ran one of the fastest last 600m. “We late nominated for the Auckland Cup after the New Zealand Cup as we had no idea how she was going to handle it. It is definitely a dream goal and we will just see what happens along the way. “She has worked on really well since. She is always better after Christmas, so she will keep progressing forward.”
While the Auckland Cup remains the ultimate goal for Diorissimo, her next major target is the Group 3 NZ Campus Of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham next month. The Smiths will give the seven-year-old mare one final hit-out before the Wellington Cup at their home track on Thursday.
Diorissimo will jump from barrier four in the Norm Stewart/Ross, Connar & Lee R82 (2200m) and will carry 55.5kg with the assistance of apprentice jockey Corey Campbell’s two kilogram claim. “We are heading to Ashburton for a run and then we are looking to go up to the Wellington Cup,” Smith said. “Corey’s two kilo claim will definitely help on Thursday. We would have had Sam (Wynne) on, but she is suspended at the moment. She will be back on for the Wellington Cup.”
Smith is pleased with her charge ahead of Thursday and expects a strong run from the mare. “I am happy with the way she is. As long as she jumps out and gets a good run she should be thereabouts,” she said. “This will be her only race before we head up to Wellington. She likes her races spaced, so we will just keep her fitness up at home and probably head up the week before.”
Diorissimo will likely have some company on the float trip north next month, with stablemate Splendior set to join her. The daughter of Tavistock will also line-up at Ashburton on Thursday and will contest the Hinds Ridge Farming & Bevan Wilson R65 (2200m).
Splendior takes a consistent formline into the race but her connections are hoping for improved racing manners from the mare. “She has been going really well,” Smith said. “She has been so honest this year, but is still making a few mistakes. “Her Riccarton run was really good, but she did run out, and at Cromwell she ran out on the corner, and down the back straight she covered a lot of ground out wide. “She still plugs on, but she does deserve a win. She just needs to do everything right.”
Smith said she will also likely take Miss Diorella north, and she is set to have one final run in the south at Timaru on December 28. “I will probably possibly take Miss Diorello north as well, we have just got the three racehorses. I am taking my own truck, so I might as well fill it up. “We have got her back to where she needs to be again, we have had a few issues with her. “She was second at Riccarton last start. She will head to Timaru next and then possibly up north as well.”