The cancellation of meetings in the Central Districts of late has hampered the preparations of Mark Oulaghan’s jumpers, but he is still hopeful of bold showings from his trio of southern raiders this weekend.
The Awapuni trainer has ventured to Riccarton where he will line-up three runners on Saturday, including West Coast in the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Koral Steeplechase (4250m).
“I thought he was a bit unlucky in the Hawke’s Bay Chase (when third). It didn’t quite pan out for him in the last 600m,” Oulaghan said.
“He jumps well and I think Riccarton will suit him. He is seven and I think he can develop into a good horse.”
West Coast is a +250 favourite with online bookmakers behind Carnaby (+170) and Albaron (+180).
Oulaghan will also line-up Des De Jeu in the Gold Club Rating 75 (1800m) in preparation for a maiden hurdle next week.
“Des De Jeu is more of a steeplechase type. He is a good jumper and has a bit of pace, so he will run in the maiden hurdle on the middle day. I am just not sure what he will run in on the last day,” Oulaghan said.
“He has had a couple of flat runs. He was in at Hawera and we were going to run him at Waverley and Otaki, and he missed both of those runs, which is a bit detrimental but there is not a lot you can do about it.
“He has got ability, there is no doubt about that.”
Rounding out Oulaghan’s trio of runners will be Dal Kilchoan in the Avon City Ford Sydenham Hurdles (3100m).
“He has missed a few flat runs with meetings called off, but condition-wise I think he is up to the mark at this stage so we will run him in the Sydenham on Saturday and see where we are at with him,” Oulaghan said.
“It (preparation) has been a bit disjointed. We were happy enough with his run in the Wellington Hurdles for fourth. He was a wee way off them, but it was an honest run.
“If he can improve off that, and step up in grade from there, he is going to be competitive down south.”