Tauranga galloper Roger That has developed a solid strike-rate in Cups races this season, but trainer Antony Fuller is hoping his gelding can finally breakthrough for a win in the Orora Kiwi Packaging Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) on his home track on Saturday.
“It’s going to be his seventh start in a cup race this season and he hasn’t finished further back than fourth,” Fuller said.
“A fifth-placing is the furthest he has finished back all season. It is very pleasing how consistent he has been.”
The six-year-old son of Shinko King ran on well to finish fifth last start on a heavy10 track at Ellerslie over 2200m earlier this month and Fuller is expecting an improved performance on similar track conditions on Saturday.
“It was a good run, we were hoping for a better placing,” Fuller said.
“It was his first go on a heavy track this time in and he probably got caught out a bit because on a good track he’s got a nice turn of foot, which he doesn’t quite have on a heavy track.
“We had forgotten about that because we raced through the summer, so Trudy (Thornton, jockey) will ride him accordingly.”
Fuller said Roger That has come through his last start well and isn’t overly perturbed by drawing the outside gate in the 11 horse field on Saturday.
“We were very surprised with how well he came through it. He hasn’t missed a beat.
“We have had that a few times (outside barrier). I think in his last three races he has drawn out reasonably wide.
“Over 2100m it’s not a major hurdle, it’s not a big field. I would imagine he will settle back a bit and hopefully run on at the right end.
“It would be nice to win (on the home track). Having contested six previous Cups races this season it would be nice to get him over the line in one of them.”
Roger That could potentially press on after Saturday to contest his eighth Cups race of the season next month.
“If he races well we will keep going,” Fuller said. “There is the Taumaranui Cup (2200m), but we will get this out of the way first and see how he comes through it.”
TAB bookmakers have marked Roger That a $5.50 second favourite for the Kiwifruit Cup behind the Tony Pike-trained Redcayenne at $4.
Fuller will also line-up Windy Height in the Rhys Mischefski, Bayleys Premier (2100m) on Saturday, and he could be potentially joined in the race by stablemate Rodmar.
“Windy Heights hasn’t been running as well as we would have expected him to, he is certainly working good enough at home though,” Fuller said.
“Over 2100m and a heavy track might really be his go, so we are keeping our fingers crossed there.
“Rodmar needs a scratching to get in and I think he will run better than what a lot of people think he will, if he gets in. He has improved with each run this time in.” – NZ Racing Desk