Conditions suit Mali Ston in Coupland’s Mile bid

Matamata trainers Briar and Darryn Weatherley. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Mali Ston will have several factors in his favour when he chases a comeback victory at Riccarton in the feature event on Wednesday’s card.

The six-year-old son of El Roca will make his fourth appearance since suffering a major injury when he takes aim at the Group 3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m).

“Unfortunately, he had 18 months off with a broken pedal bone and it was touch and go whether he would survive so to get this far is a bonus in itself,” said Darryn Weatherley, who prepares the gelding with daughter Briar.

Mali Ston was unplaced in his most recent outing in the Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings and subsequently stretched his legs in an open 1100m trial at Te Rapa before heading south.

“He’s had a few runs back now and it was an unsuitable track last time out at weight-for-age and he didn’t go too badly,” Weatherley said.

“He’ll get a better track and I think he gets in at a competitive weight (57kg). He’s drawn one, so I expect him to run a bold race.

“He’ll also have the visor blinkers on to sharpen him up a bit more.”

Mali Ston is one of three horses the stable has at Riccarton, with Maria Farina a late closing fifth on the opening day in Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) and Tulsi will run in Saturday’s Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).

“Maria Farina does things the hard way and has to be ridden quietly, and her closing sectionals were phenomenal,” Weatherley said.

“She got through the line well and has come through it nicely. She’ll run in the Stewards’ Stakes (Listed, 1200m) on Saturday and, if she can get a soft run, she’ll be competitive.”

Tulsi booked her trip south with a last-start third in the Group 2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe.

“She travelled down really well and had a gallop on the course proper last Saturday and my boy Sam rode her and he said she is absolutely flying,” Weatherley said.

“I don’t think the mile will worry her, it will be more of an advantage that a disadvantage. She’s a very laid-back filly and I’m very happy with all three of them.”

The family will be hoping for further success during the Riccarton carnival following Pier’s victory in last season’s Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).

The son of Proisir hasn’t won a race since, but little went his way during a three-start spring campaign that saw him finish midfield in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m), the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m).

“Pier is a week away from speeding up in his trackwork after a month off after Hawke’s Bay,” Weatherley said.

“He may have a trial at Avondale on December 5 and then go to an open 1400m race (at Pukekohe) on Boxing Day and, all going well, into the four-year-old $1 million race (Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic, 1600m) on Karaka Million night.”

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