The Tony and Lyn Prendergast-trained Who Dares Wins will be in search of his fourth successive victory on Saturday when he contests the Greenwood Amberley Cup (1600m) at Riccarton, for which he has been installed a $3.80 fixed odds favourite by TAB bookmakers.
The in-form galloper has been lumped with topweight of 61.5kgs, but his trainers believe victory is not out of the question and they have resisted the temptation to put a claiming apprentice on, electing to stick with proven senior rider Jason Laking.
“It's a big ask, but we need to get a race into him as there is not much more before the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m),” Lyn Prendergast said.
“He's a big horse and he can carry weight more than most, but in saying that, there is a fair gap between him and those who have opted to claim and some of the lightweight chances. But we're really happy with him. He'll do his best and if he gets beaten, so be it.”
The six-year-old gelding has struck a purple patch this campaign and has crept from a rating of 89 at the beginning of the preparation to now be rated 100.
“He raced below par last season and he had a bit of a joint issue, but wasn’t unsound as such,” Prendergast said.
“We treated him with IRAP therapy as he had a bit of arthritis and fluid in the joint and it really helped him. Now he's a really happy changed horse.
“It was just a bit of wear and tear which happens with horses that try really hard like he does.”
The Winning Edge Presentations 122nd Winter Cup at Riccarton on August 3 is the main goal for Who Dares Wins and Prendergast said the fact there are no allowances in the Group Three feature would help compress the weights.
“It is our main aim and he would carry no more than 60kgs, and where we go after that I wouldn’t know,” she said.
While Who Dares Wins has the picket-fence formline, stablemate Queen Jetsun is racing consistently but has found one better in each of her past three starts and Prendergast is hopeful that Saturday is her day when she contests the North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics Benchmark 72 (1400m).
“She deserves one after three successive runner-up finishes,” Prendergast said.
“She tries her guts out and I really think she is a 64-rated horse that can compete in any grade. She's had a few issues, she had a cannon bone operation about a year ago, but she's all good now.”
The West Melton-based trainers are enjoying a bumper season with 14 winners and 18 placegetters from 93 starters and Prendergast, who has trained in partnership with her husband Tony since 1980, credits a number of factors for the success.
“We’ve got great staff, including our daughter Kerry, who is the foreman, as well as Kylie Williams, plus a couple of highly competent female stablehands,” Prendergast said.
“The horses have obviously got to have the ability, but I feel we are getting the max out of them and they're placed to advantage.
“I think where we are too is a big benefit. We've got 24 acres and our own track and they love it out here. We put them out in the paddocks and they are happy horses. We can do most of the work at home and the horses just love the environment.” – NZ Racing Desk