Sydney’s lady of racing Gai Waterhouse is weighing up the autumn – summer racing options for her in-form stayer Kontiki Park, the six-year-old a chance to run in the 2012 Mornington Cup in the hopes of qualifying for a far more prestigious Cup clash in the spring.
After breaking her Caulfield Cup maiden in 2010 with Descarado, Waterhouse is keener than ever to win the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival classic again with Thorn Park gelding Kontiki Park one of her early candidates to do so in 2012.
A winner of seven of their 25 career starts to date Kontiki Park has been enjoying a purple patch of late.
After running a brave second to Monton in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm in mid-December they went on to score a narrow victory over Fillydelphia in the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1615m) at Doomben on New Year’s Eve.
Last start Kontiki Park was seen running away to put a minimum three lengths on their rivals, including runner-up Playaction, in the Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 14, carrying a hefty 59kg with Nash Rawiller aboard to do so.
Untested in Victoria as yet, Waterhouse believes that this year will see the rise of Kontiki Park to Melbourne Spring Carnival level, possibly all the way to the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.
A first step towards the 2012 Caulfield Cup field for Kontiki Park could be in the $200,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 15, a win in which would see them qualify for the Caulfield Cup.
There is also the option of heading down to Tasmania instead for the AAMI Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival features including the $300,000 Group 3 Hobart Cup (2200m) on February 12.
“I’m looking at the good races in Tasmania but there’s also the Mornington Cup,” Waterhouse said.
“If he can win the Mornington Cup, he is qualified for the Caulfield Cup.”
Won last year by Perth Cup runner-up Guyno, the Mornington Cup 2012 looks to be attracting another high-quality field with other possible contenders including recent Perth Cup winning mare Western Jewel.
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