Talented Tevere back on favourite footing

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has proved to be the happiest of hunting grounds for Tevere and a return to the Waikato course on Saturday may again bring out the best in the gifted mare.

The Contributer four-year-old has made five appearances on the course for three wins and a runner-up finish and will bid to add to her record in the Waikato Draught Handicap (1200m).

Tevere will be coming off an unplaced performance in the Listed Flying Stakes (1400m) at , but co-trainer Pam Gerard has ruled a line through that effort.

“It was her first trip away and I think we rode her a bit too close to the speed and they ran along quite quickly,” she said.

“She never quite got on the bridle and when they go hard early it's better to let her find her feet and run home so I wasn't too concerned about it. She is a good mare.”

Raced by breeder and principal Gordon Cunningham, Tevere is likely to be given a break after Saturday's outing.

“She may go to the paddock after the weekend. She has been up for a while and we just want to give her one more run and give her another good experience, she is very well and she goes well at Te Rapa,” Gerard said.

Stablemate On The Rocks will also be looking to bounce back from an unplaced run in the Group 3 (1600m) when he steps out in the Wig (Noel) Wilson Memorial Mile (1600m).

“He has just had no luck whatsoever all season, he's been in some big races and been caught out wide,” Gerard said.

On The Rocks won the seventh race of his career last month with an expected handicap sprint success.

“He dropped back from a Group One (Herbie Dyke Stakes, 2000m) to an open race at Rotorua with 52kg on his back so that was a bit of a given,” Gerard said.

“Unfortunately, he's just a small horse that has had to carry some big weights and that slows him down a wee bit.”

The stable will also be represented in the Bayleys Country Thanking SLA (1200m) by , who was tripped up last time out by a wet track at Awapuni, and a freshened .

Meanwhile, talented filly has let herself down in her recent starts with her barrier manners.

“She has got a thing in her head about the gates at the moment. There's no reason for it really, she's always been super quick out of the gates,” Gerard said.

Despite a slow getaway in the Group 3 (1400m), Sassy Merlot closed well for rider Taiki Yanagida to be less than four lengths off the winner Bonny Lass

“She missed the jump and her sectionals were the fastest of the day and she was absolutely superb,” Gerard said.

“She just ran out of the room in the straight and Taiki thought if she had got any room she would have finished right in it.

“We have to iron out that problem and she could be saying she's almost ready to go to the paddock, but at this stage we will go to the weight-for-age over 1400m at Rotorua (Group 3 Rydges Rotorua Stakes (1400m) and then spell.”

Barnmate Dragon Queen, successful in the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) earlier this year, is on a break following her game run for fourth in the Group 1 (1600m).

“She's gone out for a well-earned spell and we'll get her back up for the early spring,” Gerard said.

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