As Callsign Mav heads to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Prise de Fer looks toward the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m), another of the major players in the Hawke’s Bay spring features has headed to the paddock.
Gino Severini has been one of the best horses this spring, running three times at weight-for-age for three minor placings. He began by finishing second to Mascarpone in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) before heading to Hastings to finish fourth in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and third in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).
He would probably have been one of the favourites if he were contesting the Livamol Classic back at Hastings this Saturday but Grant Cooksley, who trains Gino Severini along with Bruce Wallace at Byerley Park, near Auckland, has given him a couple of weeks off instead.
“He had three runs and a couple of trips from here to Hastings, which took its toll a little bit, and he’ll probably race again in November or December,” Cooksley said.
“I thought they were all really good runs this time in. I normally give them three to three and a half weeks between runs but this time he’s run every second week for three starts, and he’s come through the runs really well.”
Gino Severini was not nominated at all for the Livamol Classic, based mainly on his record. Since arriving in New Zealand he has run three times at 2000m, all at Group One level, with his best effort a fourth in the 2019 Herbie Dyke Stakes behind Tiptronic.
His pedigree also suggests the trip would not be his forte; his half-sister Millisle (Starspangledbanner), was a sprinter in Europe, winning the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes (1200m) for two-year-old fillies at Newmarket in 2019 and the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes (1200m) for fillies and mares at Naas in Ireland in 2020.
“I think 2000m is a bit too far for him,” Cooksley said. “I think his best distance is probably around 1400m.”
Cooksley wasn’t sure what his targets would be in summer. With a rating of 98 he’s likely to be high in the weights for handicaps, but he’s likely to stay in the top half of the North Island and not head south for the weight-for-age Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) in early December.
“He’s not 100 percent good travelling that far, so it would be good if we could get racing underway again at Ellerslie,” Cooksley said.
“There might be a handicap for him later on, but he’ll more than likely go for weight-for-age races.”
Gino Severini apart, most of the 14-strong Wallace-Cooksley team are young horses.
“We’ve got a few two-year-olds that are looking alright, and we’ve got about four or five three-year-olds,” Cooksley said.
“The first one of those will kick off on Friday – The Sprinkler, who runs at Te Aroha on Friday. She ran fifth in her only two-year-old start at Avondale. She had a jumpout at Pukekohe a couple of weeks ago and ran second, and she was going pretty easy. She should go alright.”