This weekend the New Zealanders are heading up to the Sunshine Coast with two top Kiwis set to context the Caloundra Cup 2013.
Running as Race 8 at 3:40pm (AEST) on Saturday, this year’s edition of the $200,000 Listed Yalumba Caloundra Cup (2400m) features a capacity field of 18 starters with the first emergency #19e Buffett having gained a run following the early scratching of #13 Endor.
Two of the hopefuls in the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival staying showdown are actually prepared in New Zealand and both are rated a strong chance of stealing the Caloundra Cup trophy with Zennista and High Kin.
Of the duo, whose connections are actually good mates outside of a race like this, it is Zennista who is the shortest-priced in the Caloundra Cup betting markets at $5.50 trailing only the $4.40 favourite, defending champion Shenzhou Steeds.
High Kin meanwhile is also in the top half of the markets at $10.
Lisa Latta’s in-form Zenno Rob Roy mare Zennista travelled down under earlier in the winter to target the riches in Brisbane and has been racing very competitively in the Group races.
A close fourth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) was followed by a third to Precedence in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m), both at Doomben, before the rising six-year-olds’ latest effort when just over a length away third to Moriarty in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Relishing the mile and a half Zennista overcame barrier 17 of 18 in the Brisbane Cup, the form of which their jockey for Saturday Damian Browne, replacing Leith Innes, believes will stack up.
“If either Moriarty or Quintessential was in this race they would be odds-on chances,” Browne said of the Brisbane Cup quinella.
“I thought Zennista’s run in the Brisbane Cup was outstanding.”
As for the form on High Kin they too have caught the eye in sunshine state with trainer David Greene having run the High Chaparral mare in Australia for the first time on June 15 in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m).
High Kin was only just beaten there too with a long neck separating them and the winner Anagold who is at a juicy $21 to back up with a Caloundra Cup victory.
For the Ipswich Cup five-year-old High Kin jumped from barrier 14 of 15 and has another double digit gate to overcome on Saturday with barrier 18, into 17 if the second emergency comes out.
Also in their favour is the step up to 2400m which Greene believes she’s been keen to see for some time.
“She’s been crying out for the mile and a half her whole life and the roomier track is going be another advantage for us,” he said.
“At Ipswich she was definitely struggling around the bends and she was going to run seventh or eighth but her last 100 metres was very good and she made up ground in real hurry.”
High Kin will race with blinkers on in the Caloundra Cup as she continues to thrive in the ‘warm’ weather down under.
“She’s great at chasing horses but she’s had a tendency to get a little bit lost when she’s out in the open,” Greene said.
“I’d hate to see her come around the turn on Saturday, race clear with 200 metres to go and look around waiting for something to run her down.
“It’s her first trip away from home and we were worried that she might turn into a skeleton.
“But in the warm weather here she’s really bloomed, eaten everything and looking better than ever.”
Greene definitely believes the bookies have it wrong and rates High Kin as the one to beat out of the two mares, an opinion he’s happily shared with Latta’s supervisor for the Queensland trip Bruce Herd.
“I was joking with Bruce the other day that if Zennista’s clear at the top of the straight she’ll probably be looking around and waiting to see where her mate is,” he said.
“I hope she does. We might be able to say `hi’ on the way past.”
If all goes well for High Kin this weekend Greene will seriously consider keeping her on for the $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) back at Eagle Farm on July 6.
Get behind either the Kiwi contingent or the Aussies in the Caloundra Cup now at bookmaker.com.au enjoying a $500 bonus welcome bet on the house when you do simply by entering the code BONUSBET!