Cambridge trainer Ben Foote will be represented by four runners at Tauranga on Wednesday and can’t single one above any other, considering them all serious winning prospects.
Rekindled Express will debut in the Cheers Tavern Bayfair Maiden (1200m) and Kid Roc will resume in the Bayleys Tauranga Commercial Maiden (1200m) with both drawing attention to their chances in lead-up trials.
Madame Le Fay runs in the NZB Pearl Series Insurance Race (1600m) while Telling Tales steps out in the EMAC Electrical (1600m), and both boast recent placed form to press their claims.
“Honestly, I think they are all pretty good chances and couldn’t split them,” Foote said.
First cab off the rank is recent Cambridge trial winner Rekindled Express, a son of Written Tycoon bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock, who remains in the ownership.
“I’ve done the odd pre-trainer for GSA for Australia and this horse has had a few minor issues, they won’t stop him from racing, but stopped him from selling,” Foote said.
“He looks a pretty progressive horse and I quite like him, he’s a really good type and should go well.”
Rekindled Express will be partnered by Foote’s good friend Jonathan Riddell, who will also be aboard Kid Roc and Telling Tales, while Michael McNab retains the ride on Madame Le Fay.
Riddell is currently based in Palmerston North, having left his Cambridge residence to enable him to travel more freely during these current Alert Level restrictive times.
Kid Roc finished runner-up on debut on a Heavy 11 track at Pukekohe before the El Roca four-year-old was sent for a break.
“I thought he was a bit better than a wet-tracker, so we put him aside. I trialled him last week and he went super,” Foote said. “He’s been working with Travelling Light and impressed me and 1200m will suit him.”
Sweynesse’s son Telling Tales has placed in both outings this preparation, including a close third at Taupo at his most recent appearance.
“The other two caught him napping out wide last-start so I think he’s a pretty good chance,” Foote said.
The lightly-tried Smart Missile mare Madame Le Fay finished third when resuming at Te Aroha and the value of that performance has been subsequently emphasised.
“She got beaten by the horse (Solid Impact) trained by Catherine Cameron, who won again on Hastings on Saturday, and the runner-up Poverty Bay won at Rotorua on Sunday, so the form out of the race has stacked up well,” Foote said.
Meanwhile, the leading lights of the stable are progressing well toward future targets with last season’s Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) winner Babylon Berlin to make her seasonal debut at Riccarton on November 6.
“She will fly to Christchurch for the Pegasus Stakes (Listed, 1000m) and then come home and I’ll get her ready for the Counties Bowl (Listed, 1100m) to set her on a path to the Railway Stakes (Group 1, 1200m),” Foote said.
Travelling Light hasn’t won a race since she claimed the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) 20 months ago, but she has placed at the elite level between times and Foote was buoyed by her recent Cambridge trial victory.
“I’m really happy with her and she stretched out like she might be back to her old self. She’s had surgery on a fetlock that the vets said had tidied up 100 percent so hopefully she’s back to how she used to be,” he said.
“She will probably run on Melbourne Cup Day at Ellerslie in the open 1400m handicap.”
The exciting Sakura Blossom is unbeaten in two starts, including a stunning effort from the Vancouver mare to win on the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, and is recovering from a minor setback.
“She could be anything. She was to have run last Saturday, but had an abscess in her foot. She could possibly go straight to the open 1200m at Te Rapa on Saturday week, otherwise we could wait another week,” Foote said.