Stablemates set to duke it out in Thorndon Mile

Puntura will contest the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday. Photo: Race Images South

Puntura and One Bold Cat have played a starring role in Robbie Patterson’s successful season and the talented pair will cross paths for the first time this preparation in Saturday’s Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham.

Puntura has been the breadwinner over 1400m to 1600m, with victories in the Group 3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) and the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m), while One Bold Cat covered the middle-distance events claiming both the Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) and the Group 3 Counties Cup (2100m), as well as a game effort for fifth in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2050m).

Craig Grylls has been aboard both geldings in all but one of those wins and has elected to take the ride aboard Puntura on Saturday, with Wiremu Pinn partnering the son of The Bold One when the pair jump from barrier 7 and 6 respectively.

Patterson’s pair had one final hit-out on Tuesday at the Foxton Trials, with Puntura impressing from the front-running position to take out the 1200m heat, while One Bold Cat was ridden quietly into third position.

“They were only at the trials for the run, but Puntura is a naturally big, strong galloper so we expected him to do that,” Patterson said. “He’s come through the trial well, so onwards and upwards to Saturday.

“I was very happy with One Bold Cat’s trial as well. Jonathan Riddell was told to take him quietly, and he got off and said he was very happy with the horse, and he was lovely to ride.

“The mile is just a bit short for him, but if he can get a nice sit somewhere, I’m sure he won’t be far from the placegetters at the finish. He’s a very good horse.”

Though both are class gallopers, New Plymouth-based Patterson has different motivations for each horse’s acceptance into the Trentham feature and expects the result to reflect this.

A son of Vespa, Puntura’s rise in the Group events gave Patterson every reason to give him a Group One bid, while One Bold Cat is entered to be eligible for the lucrative $500,000 Entain Summer Series Bonus, where he must run in the Thorndon Mile ahead of the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

“Puntura will go forward, while One Bold Cat will just take a slot where he ends up. Over a mile, it’s too short for One Bold Cat, but it’s probably the big fella’s (Puntura) ideal distance,” he said.

“One Bold Cat has to start in the Thorndon to qualify for the half-a-million dollar bonus, so he’s there to qualify himself really, then head to the Herbie Dyke and the Bonecrusher.”

Also making her final preparations at the Foxton trials was Mary Louise, the mare striding effortlessly into second position over 1400m ahead of Saturday’s Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m).

Another progeny of Grangewilliam Stud’s The Bold One, Mary Louise has made a strong account of herself in competitive northern company this preparation, including a surging late run into third in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day.

“She’s done well, she trialled up really nicely yesterday as well,” Patterson said.

The versatile five-year-old has been victorious in six of her 14 raceday starts, with winning form on all track conditions from 1400m to 2100m, and Patterson has no doubt in her ability to step-up over 3200m on Saturday under Grylls.

“She’s a lovely, clean-winded horse and I’ve got no worries about the two miles whatsoever. From that draw (13), she’ll take a backwards position and hopefully get a nice trail into the race.” he said.

“Looking at the field, she’s beaten most of them or competed in bigger races, so I’d be disappointed if she’s not thereabouts in the finish.”

Mary Louise currently sits a +450 Fixed Odds second-favourite for the Cup with top horse racing bookmakers, with fellow Taranaki-trained galloper Waisake topping the market at +230.

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