Gino Severini will be looking to end his season on a high when he lines-up in the Group 2 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley-trained gelding has been in consistent form this season, placing in five of his nine starts, and winning the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie last November.
His trainers have been pleased with him since his third placing in the Group 2 Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga last month and he will race in blinkers on Saturday at the behest of jockey Michael McNab.
“Michael said he might be a bit better with blinkers on, so we have put them on,” Cooksley said. “He has been working well with the blinkers on, so we will see how he goes.”
Ellerslie was rated a Slow8 on Wednesday morning, and with heavy rain forecast in the lead-up to Saturday, Cooksley said the track surface is his major concern.
“He has been racing in good form, it just depends how heavy it is,” he said. “I am not too sure whether he will handle it if it is really heavy.”
Following Saturday Gino Severini will be put aside for the spring, but what his targets will be has yet to be decided.
“After Saturday he will go for a spell and we will just see how he comes back,” Cooksley said.
The stable will also be represented on Saturday by Little Belle in the Civic Contractors 1400 and Cooksley holds similar concerns for the two-win mare.
“She has been going good races and I think the 1400m should suit her,” he said. “It all just depends on the track – she can handle dead and slow, we will see if she can handle a heavy track.
“We have put the blinkers on her as well.”
Meanwhile, eight-year-old gelding Ronchi could be lining up for his last race when he jumps from barrier two in the VRC Trophy (1200m).
Raced by Wallace in partnership with his breeders, Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan, Ronchi has won six of his 55 starts, and placed 13 times, including the Group 3 Waikato Stud Plate (1200m), Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), Group 3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m), and Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m).
However, he hasn’t paid a dividend for 18 months and Cooksley said the curtain is coming down on his racing career.
“He has been working well, but he hasn’t been racing that well,” Cooksley said. “This will probably be his last run if he doesn’t show something.”