Pitman elects for home features with classy mare

Miss Tycoon Rose
Miss Tycoon Rose will target the Listed Timaru Cup at Phar Lap Raceway on December 28. Photo: Race Images South

Michael Pitman won’t be bringing his classy mare Miss Tycoon Rose north for the rescheduled Group 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa, deciding to chase some features closer to home instead.

Pitman, who trains at Riccarton with his son Matthew, wasn’t upset at the decision to cancel the Trentham meeting last Saturday where the Captain Cook Stakes was set to be run, saying it was clear the conditions were unsafe.

But he’s not happy at the decision to move the Captain Cook Stakes and the Group 2 Wakefield Stakes (1200m) to Te Rapa, and has decided to head back south for the Listed Timaru Cup (1600m) at Phar Lap Raceway on December 28.

“She would earn more money if she could win the Timaru Cup than she would if she finished second in the Captain Cook Stakes,” Pitman said.

Though nominated for the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) on January 29, Pitman said she may instead contest the Group 3 White Robe Lodge Stakes (1600m) on February 5.

“We’ve been placed in a Group One and the ultimate is to win a Group One with her, but it might be that we head north late February, March or April.

“Te Aroha (for the Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) on April 9) is an obvious target for us.”

Pitman was very disappointed the Captain Cook Stakes was transferred to Te Rapa, saying it should have stayed in the lower half of the North Island.

“The excuse for not having it at Awapuni on Saturday was that Te Rapa was on and the northern jockeys wouldn’t go and ride at Awapuni, which is a hollow excuse,” he said.

“But if that was the case, why didn’t they just move Awapuni to Sunday? There’s been plenty of race meetings moved during Covid, so why take this out of the area? They’re Central Districts races. If not Awapuni, they could have gone to Hastings on Wednesday.”

He also thought the decision was too hasty.

“I think it was stupidity to make the decision on the day. They should have let the dust settle and made the decision on Monday,” he said.

Pitman’s other scheduled Trentham runners, Okay Pal and Ohio Showgirl, will also head back south. Both are likely to contest the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on December 26.

Okay Pal was fourth in the Group 3 Stewards Handicap (1200m) on November 10 and may attempt to emulate previous Pitman sprinter Enzo’s Lad in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham on January 15.

“We’ve long thought Okay Pal was a Telegraph horse and he was an unlucky fourth in the Stewards,” Pitman said.

“He’s been to Wellington before and run well so we’ll be looking to be back there.”

Pitman expects to take a good sized team to the Trentham January carnival, and they could include his pair of runners from the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Mackenzie Lad (sixth in the Guineas) and Fireglow (10th).

“They’ve had time out and are getting ready to kick off at Dunedin on Boxing Day, and then be prepared for either Trentham (the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1600m) on January 15) or else the Gore Guineas (January 22) and Dunedin Guineas (February 5),” he said.

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