Pitman given the green light

Michael Pitman will be on course to cheer home Savvy Coup in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on Saturday. Photo credit: Trish Dunell

A cautiously excited Michael Pitman has been given the green light from his surgeon to travel to Melbourne on Friday to watch Savvy Coup contest the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

“I get out of the hospital this afternoon and I’m on a flight first thing tomorrow morning,” Pitman said from Hospital on Thursday.

“I’m not sure whether it’s the right thing to be doing but that’s what I’m doing. I’ve just got to take it easy and pace myself a bit, but I’ll be right.

“It’s an opportunity not to be missed, it’s just massive.”

Pitman, whose battle with bowel cancer has been well publicised, had surgery on Monday and he has been recuperating in hospital since.

“They kept me in on purpose for an extra couple of days just to make sure that I was okay and all my vital signs were good, and they are.”

The Christchurch-based trainer is realistic about his mare’s chances against a quality field headlined by superstar mare Winx.

“Honestly a pass mark would be running fifth. All up it cost about A$65,000 for acceptances, fifth money is A$200,000, sixth and seventh is A$100,000 and eighth is A$75,000,” he said.

“For a broodmare prospect, it would be massive if she could run second or third in a Cox Plate.

“We’re going into it eyes wide open and this isn’t really our grand finale because we were always going across for either the MacKinnon Stakes or the Matriarch Stakes and it just so happens that the perfect lead in race happens to be a 2000m race at Moonee Valley two weeks before which is the one we are contesting.

“She’s come through her work the other day fantastic and we really couldn’t be happier with her. We know it’s a massive task but we’re going into it with a horse that we are very happy with.” When asked how he would feel if the unfathomable did happen, Pitman was quick to show his competitive nature is still intact.

“I wouldn’t be embarrassed to beat Winx,” he said. “I know it won’t happen but you do think about it and man I’d love to beat Winx, of course I would, you would never be forgotten in the history of the game.”

Pitman will be joined on the flight to Melbourne by his son and co-trainer Matthew, however, his wife Diane is returning to Christchurch to take care of things on the home front.

“Diane’s been over there for the last eight days but she’s flying home because we have a big team in at Riccarton as well,” Pitman said.

Amongst Pitman Racing’s nine runners at Riccarton is last start winner Elfee who is the top- weighted horse in the Listed Christchurch Casino Spring Classic (2000m).

“She’s just been a revelation since she arrived at our place, she’s had 29 starts for us for 28 cheques,” Pitman said.

“We stepped her up over ground for the first time the other day and she won well enough.

“I’m not going to moan about the fact that she’s the top weight because she’s the best horse in the race. It probably doesn’t help her but that’s a reflection of the calibre of horse she’s racing against rather than her.”

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