McKay quartet boxing on at Awapuni

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The Mitigator

trainer is heading to on Boxing Day with a quartet of runners and he is hoping he can snag the meeting's feature with his Group One winner .

The seven-year-old gelding has been lumbered with 62kg in the Manawatu Standard (1550m) but he will get some weight relief courtesy of apprentice Niranjan Parmar's four-kilogram claim.

“He did win there last year carrying it (62kg), but it is quite tough. Everything has to go their way to be able to manage it,” McKay said.

The seven-year-old gelding won two starts back at Awapuni over the same distance before disappointing when sixth in the Group 3 (1600m) at Te Aroha last month.

“He was average (last start) really, he didn't have that same kick,” McKay said.

“After that last run we thought he might not be up to that grade of horse, but when I sat down and reassessed everything, I just don't think he was himself.

“He didn't seem himself for a week or so after, so the trip down the line might have affected him more than I thought.”

McKay said he has since recovered and seems back to his normal self ahead of the weekend.

“I galloped him Tuesday and he worked up really nice and seems back to his usual self again,” he said.

“The track down there suits with the tight corner and it is going to be good footing I hope. We just hope he turns around again.”

Stablemate has also been lumbered with 62kg when he tries to make it a hat-trick of wins in the Japac Homes 2100.

McKay has opted against claiming with an apprentice jockey and will once again call on the services of his jockey son, Shaun.

“He has got 62kg and I had toyed with the idea of claiming, but it's a bit unfair taking Shaun off when he has won three of his last four rides on him,” McKay said.

The son of O'Reilly hasn't raced for a month due to unsuitable track conditions, and that is McKay's biggest concern heading into the weekend.

“We were planning on having a race a fortnight after he raced last time and then go into the Cup (Group 3 , 2250m) last week, but then the tracks played against us. He is a month between races now,” McKay said.

“He could be a bit vulnerable carrying the 62kg, but he is a tough horse and Shaun knows him well.”

McKay will also line-up Langkawi in the Tui Backing A Winner Since 1889 (1550m) and in the More FM 1200.

“We aren't getting Cavallo Veloce quite back into form yet, but he is about the only one that doesn't like a real firm track,” McKay said.

“Langkawi was disappointing the other day but he needed a run, he goes better on a back-up.

“He doesn't seem to like right-handed so I am hoping for an improved run from him. He doesn't mind Awapuni.”

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