Kevin Gray is mindful of making the most of autumn opportunities for All In Vogue as the Pins mare shoots for her third Cup win this season at Hastings on Saturday.
The Palmerston North trainer will produce All In Vogue in Saturday’s Listed Royston Hospital Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) and is pleased the Peter and Min McDonald-raced five-year-old mare is set to strike a dead track.
“She doesn’t like wet tracks and I would say this would be one of her last runs this season,” Gray said.
“She’ll let me know when she’s had enough, but she went a very good race the other day.”
A winner of seven of her 34 starts, including this season’s Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m) and Wairarapa Cup (2050m), All In Vogue closed strongly for second in last Friday’s Gr.3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni, only missing the win by a head.
“She only just got beaten. She couldn’t get off the fence in time,” Gray said.
“We’re happy with her. She’s trained on well and we’ve got Lisa Allpress on for this race and that’s a big plus. There are some good horses up against her and she’s got 57kg to carry, but we think the 2200m will suit her even better than 2000m.
“We haven’t had to do too much with her this week, but she worked nicely yesterday morning and she looks a picture.”
Gray has removed the blinkers from All In Vogue’s gear this weekend and replaced them with visor blinkers, though he didn’t believe barrier one is an advantage for her.
“She’s better if she can get clear air and work her way into it rather than being cluttered up, but over 2200m, there’s plenty of time for her to get off the fence,” he said.
Gray also has black-type ambitions for his talented two-year-old filly What A Smasher, who contests the Elbow Room Sports Bar Mahora 2YO (1300m) at Hastings, with Allpress also booked to ride.
The Swiss Ace filly pushed Sir Nate to a long neck at Trentham two starts back before weakening in the closing stages of the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni last start under jockey Vinnie Colgan.
“Vinnie got off and said we were right in the thick of it, but just couldn’t see it through,” Gray said.
“She’s not very big, but she’s got very good speed. She can run a quick 200m when you need her to. She’s got that bit of brilliance and I really like her.
“This weekend, she’s the only race winner in the field and like All In Vogue, she’s done well and looks a picture. She’s put on two kilos since Awapuni and if she keeps going like we think she will, the Castletown Stakes is just over a month away and the owners would like to have a go at black print.”