Ears Back to line-up in Group 3 company at Riccarton

Ears Back
Ears Back will contest the Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday. Photo: Race Images South

Ears Back will head to Riccarton on Saturday in search of black-type in the Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).

The five-year-old daughter of Jakkalberry came close when fourth in the Group 3 White Robe Lodge WFA (1600m) at Wingatui last month before she won the Southland Stakes (1400m) at Ascot Park a fortnight later.

She has since been freshened and has pleased trainer John Blackadder with her work in the lead-up to her weekend assignment.

“Her run in the White Robe was good. She just came to the end of it, she wasn’t far away. It was a nice run,” Blackadder said. “It was a pretty impressive win last start.

“She had a good week-and-a-half off. She is fresh and nice and fit. She had a gallop on Saturday and went down to the beach again today (Wednesday) and did some nice pace work. I am very happy with her.

“All she needs is a bit of luck and she will be right in it.”

Blackadder utilises the beach to add some variance to his team’s work, and he said they love they change in environment.

“They love it down there, it keeps their minds fresh,” he said. “They would typically go down three or four times a week. My philosophy is that as long as they are hopping on the float and going somewhere, it keeps their minds active as opposed to going around and doing the same thing every day.”

Ears Back has drawn gate seven on Saturday and will be ridden by northern hoop Jasmine Fawcett.

“Gate seven is good, she flies the gates pretty well,” Blackadder said. “Jasmine will ride and they get on pretty well.”

All going to plan after the weekend, Blackadder will aim his mare towards next month’s inaugural $350,000 Southern Alps Challenge (1600m) at Riccarton.

“She will go to the $350,000 race in a couple of weeks, which is just marvellous,” he said.

Blackadder will also look to gain a berth in the race, restricted to South Island-trained horses, with new stable acquisition Phelan The Power if he performs well.

Previously in the care of dual-code trainer Mark Jones, Phelan The Power joined Blackadder’s Rangiora barn in the last month and he has used the beach to his benefit to try and rejuvenate the six-year-old.

“If he goes a good race, I would like to have a crack at it (Southern Alps Challenge) with him,” Blackadder said. “In the past he has gone some really good races. This will be my first start with him and whether he wants to still do it I am not too sure. I have been taking him down to the beach trying to change his mindset.”

Stablemate Kahma Suitsya’s weekend performance will also dictate her future plans, with a trip to Southland next week to contest the Riverton Cup (2147m) on the cards.

The daughter of Tavistock will be fresh-up in the Seaton Family Memorial Hororata Gold Cup (1800m), having last raced in the Listed Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m) at Wingatui last month where she finished eighth.

“She will need the run as she hasn’t had a run for quite a while,” Blackadder said. “I would have liked to have got a trial into her, but she is a nice horse all the same. If she goes well, I will probably take her to Riverton next week.”

Meanwhile, consistent filly Amiinit will be looking to get her preparation back on track after knuckling down shortly after the start of the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui last start, losing rider Lee Callaway.

“I really wanted to get a gauge on her last time, so that was disappointing,” Blackadder said. “She comes up against a fairly solid field again on Saturday, but she is not a bad horse. She is a consistent horse.”

Prior to last start, Amiinit had strung together four consecutive placings, and Blackadder said he will give her another stakes opportunity at Riccarton next month in the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m).

“There is a 1600m coming up soon and we will probably build up to the Warstep (Listed, 2000m) as she is looking for more ground,” he said.

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