Lupo Solitario takes Bonecrusher Stakes in thrilling finish

Lupo Solitario fought hard to better Orchestral in the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe on Saturday. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

A desperate finish to the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) saw exciting three-year-old Lupo Solitario extend his career record to three wins from just four starts as he defeated talented filly Orchestral by the barest of margins in a thrilling conclusion to the age-group feature.

While it wasn’t plain sailing in the concluding stages of the contest as Orchestral put in a valiant challenge, it was a meritorious performance from the $1.40 race favourite who had been in serious doubt of lining up in the contest after picking up a niggling stone bruise in the lead-up to the race.

Trainer Danica Guy had warned she would not risk the horse if he wasn’t ready to perform to his best and he vindicated her judgement despite having to pass a stringent vet inspection on raceday to be allowed to take his place in the field.

Bounced away nicely by rider Ryan Elliot, Lupo Solitario travelled comfortably behind the speed before taking a narrow gap against the rail shortly after straightening for the run home.

Elliot shot him clear and he looked to be in a for a comfortable win, however Orchestral and rider Craig Grylls had other plans as they joined issue at the 200m for a tooth and nail struggle that was decided by a mere nose at the winning post.

Guy explained she had felt as late as Friday evening the horse was no chance to run the next day.

“We were very pleased with him although last night I didn’t think we would make it here today,” Guy said.

“When he walked out this morning he was a happy horse so we knew we were on the right track so we had him vetted and made the decision to start.

“He still had to pass another vet check on-course which was a little nerve wracking but he was cleared and took his place in the field and we got the right result.”

Guy was quick to praise Elliot for his ride and was heartened with what he had to say after the race.

“We knew he still has a lot of maturing to do and that showed at the finish as Ryan said he was goofing around a little, thinking the job was done,” she said.

“His manners have improved a lot during the break he has had and Ryan was also quick to mention that, which was pleasing to hear.

“His main mission is the Karaka Classic at Ellerslie next month, a race we have targeted for quite some time.

“As long he pulls up well he will come back here to Pukekohe on New Year’s Day for a three-year-old mile as he really wants to go 1600m now and that will be a good lead into the Ellerslie race.”

Guy was referencing the Karaka Million 3YO (1600m) at Ellerslie on 27 January where her charge sits alongside Tokyo Tycoon as a $5 chance in the fixed odds market which is headed by Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Molly Bloom ($4).

Purchased by co-owner Leighton Howl for $82,500 out of the Rich Hill Stud Book 2 draft at Karaka in 2022, Lupo Solitario becomes the seventh individual stakes winner for Rich Hill Stud shuttle stallion Satono Aladdin, who will be represented by 22 individuals at the 2024 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale that kicks off on 28 January.

Rich Hill Stud will also offer the Proisir half-siter to Lupo Solitario as Lot 396 during the Book 1 session of the sale.

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