A New Zealand trainer-owner combination in its infancy will look to continue a roaring start when Lady Maroal contests the Listed Mainland Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Lady Maroal is the first horse 61-year-old Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley has prepared for 94-year-old owner Ron Saunders and already the two-year-old has won the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie.
She had earlier won at just her second start and then finished fifth in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
“Ron’s 94 and he’s an amazing bloke. He loves his racing and he’ll be there on Saturday with bells on,” Tiley said.
“She is the first horse I’ve had for Ron. We had her broken in and then she came into the stable. He wanted to have a horse trained closer to where he lived so he could go and see her when he wanted. He comes to the stables quite regularly.”
Saunders bred Lady Maroal in partnership with Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan then bought his co-breeders out of the Power filly when she sold for NZ$40,000 at last year’s Karaka yearling sales through the draft of Woburn Farm.
He has bred and raced from the family since securing Lady Maroal’s dam Lady Dehere, who won the NZ$500,000 Mercedes Super Bonus Classique (1200m) at Te Rapa in 2002 for then trainers Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney, going on to win the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at her next start.
Tiley believes the best is still to be seen from Lady Maroal.
“Originally I was going to turn her out after the Champagne Stakes but she came through it so well, we decided to give her a freshen up and aim at this race,” Tiley said.
“She’s done really well. We just gave her easy work and ticked her over from there. She’s worked really well on wet tracks so I don’t think there’s any issue there. It was a little tough on her at Palmerston North with a really heavy track but the forecast isn’t too bad for the weekend.
“She worked really well again this morning and I’m really happy with her. She’s spot on and she’ll run a good race.”
TAB bookmakers installed Lady Maroal a +190 favourite for the Futurity Stakes, with Champagne Stakes runner-up Atullibigeal at +220 and Mustang Valley at +250.
Tiley will also produce El Tirador, Malik and Play That Song at Ellerslie on Saturday, giving Malik a good chance in the Hygiene Systems 2100.
“He’s looking for further and he’ll handle the wet tracks through winter. He’s a good chance,” Tiley said.
“Play That Song has had a few niggly little issues, growing pains more than anything. I just wanted to give her this run, get a line on her for the spring and then tip her out for the winter.
“I’m just unsure with El Tirador on a wet track. He’s got a good turn of foot and I think a wet track will negate that to a degree.”