Stayers give stable top Te Rapa chances

Stable likes Francis Drake’s chances at Te Rapa. Source: Trish Dunell.

Team Rogerson hold a strong hand in the open distance handicap at Te Rapa on Saturday with the in-form pair of Gallante and Francis Drake.

They will go head to head in the Fairview Motors 2100m with the latter getting the nod from Graeme Rogerson, who trains the pair with wife Debbie and grand-daughter Bailey.

“Francis Drake gets in best at the weights with Gallante in there,” he said.

The winner of seven races and fourth in the Group 3 Counties Cup (2100m) last preparation, the Tavistock six-year-old was runner-up two runs back and then finished third in his first start over ground this time at Te Rapa behind the subsequent Group 3 Rotorua Cup (2200m) winner Highlad.

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“He was very unlucky last time and he’s done well since,” Rogerson said.

The former Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) winner Gallante has finished in the money in two of his three starts from his new quarters. At his most recent appearance, he was third in the Great Autumn Handicap (2500m) at Riccarton.

“He’s going well, but he’s weighted up to his very best with 60kg on Saturday,” Rogerson said.

There will also be significant interest in the appearance at Te Rapa of Makybe Diva’s son Surrey in the True Colours mid-Winter Xmas Luncheon 7 July 1600m.

The patiently-handled five-year-old couldn’t have been more impressive when he posted a debut maiden victory over a mile at Matamata earlier this month.

“He’s a really good horse and he’ll have this race and maybe one more before we freshen him up for the spring and hopefully take him to Melbourne,” Rogerson said.