De Lautour pair primed for Te Aroha

Lucy de Lautour
Waipukurau trainer Lucy de Lautour. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

The 2023-24 season has produced a long line of placings for Waipukurau owner-trainer Lucy de Lautour, who is set to make her presence felt again with two well-credentialed runners at Te Aroha on Sunday.

From 14 starters this season, de Lautour has collected four second placings and a third. That sequence began in the late winter and early spring when Donardo was runner-up behind The Cossack in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup (4800m) at Te Rapa and Ian’s Legacy placed in a maiden steeplechase at Rotorua.

Metallo has recently picked up where those two left off, finishing second in both of his first two appearances over hurdles this winter. He was beaten by a neck by Lochwinnoch in a 3000m open hurdle at Wanganui on May 9, then headed to Te Aroha on June 3 and chased home Invisible Spirit.

Metallo is set to headline de Lautour’s team at Te Aroha this Sunday.

The seven-year-old gelding will be ridden by this season’s jumps premiership leader Portia Matthews, whose seven previous rides on de Lautour’s horses have produced a win and four placings. She has been in the saddle for both of Metallo’s recent runner-up finishes.

“I’ve been really happy with both of his performances over hurdles in those last few weeks, he’s come back well,” de Lautour said. “He’s continued to go the right way since his last-start run at Te Aroha and I’m hoping he’ll run well again when he heads back there this weekend.”

The 11-year-old son of Don Eduardo, Donardo, ran a big race in his first steeplechase start of the winter, finishing second and a head behind Izymydaad at Wanganui on May 9. He then lined up in the Manawatu Steeplechase (4000m), where he finished seventh and showed signs of soreness when he pulled up.

“He was just a little bit sore, it wasn’t anything major and he came right pretty quickly afterwards,” de Lautour said. “He’s going into this race on Sunday in pretty good order. Hopefully he’ll run a good race and then we can make a plan around what we do with him from there.”

Venturing north and performing boldly is nothing new for Donardo. Prior to his Pakuranga Hunt Cup placing last August, he also finished second behind Kiddo in the 2022 Great Northern Steeplechase (6500m) and ran fourth in that year’s Pakuranga Hunt Cup.

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