Tiley in high spirits ahead of Group One

Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) contender Qiji Spirit - Trish Dunell
Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) contender Qiji Spirit

Trish Dunell

The predicted rain towards the end of this week has brought a smile to the face of Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley.

The South Auckland horseman will travel south to Palmerston North with juvenile Qiji Spirit to line-up in Saturday’s Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni and he believes his charge will appreciate the wet track conditions. 

“He worked really well this morning,” Tiley said. “The weather forecast is for a bit of rain down that way, which I think would really help him and the 1400m will be right up his alley.

“There are only 12 left in the race, so I would be silly not to go down.”

Tiley is buoyed by the return to Awapuni on Saturday, with his Charm Spirit gelding finishing runner-up to The Fugitive on the Palmerston North track on debut in December.

“I thought his first start was outstanding, he made up some really good ground late,” Tiley said.

“I am confident that he will run a good race. He has got three-year-old written all over him. 

“When you have got a nice horse like him that you know has raced well at the track before, and there’s only so many Group One races for two-year-olds, I only think it’s fair that we have a crack at it with him.”

While Tiley believes Qiji Spirit will develop into a better three-year-old, he said he is eyeing a tilt at the Listed Buffalo & Co Champagne Stakes (1600m) with Qiji Spirit if he pulls up well after Saturday.

“If he comes through it in one piece I’d probably have a look at a race like the Champagne Stakes with him at Ellerslie,” Tiley said.

“1600m on a big roomy track I think would really suit him. Then we would probably give him a little break and bring him back for the spring.”

Tiley will head into Saturday in good form after having an outstanding day at Avondale last Friday, winning three races on the seven race card.

“It was a good day,” he said. “I have been a bit quiet over the Christmas period, but I have got a new wave of lightly raced horses coming through that have just needed a bit of time and a little bit of cut in the ground. Hopefully it’s the start of a few more.”

Tiley said he was quietly confident heading into Friday, but said it was quite interesting that two horses that he and wife Lee part-own, broke through for their maiden victories on the same day.

“It’s quite interesting because Sir Aglovale and Riding The Wave I actually bought them on the same day at the same sale, in Melbourne, and they both happened to win their maiden on the same day, which was a little bit uncanny.” – NZ Racing Desk


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