Parsons' team set for Omakau
Co-trainer John Parsons believes Monachee has improved since last racing.
Monachee and Alpine Heights provide Parsons and training partner wife Karen with strong chances in the Clare Memorial Gold Cup at Omakau today.
Seven-year-old mare Monachee won the Cup last year. She ran third on a heavy track over 2400m at Wingatui on December 26 in her first start for nearly four weeks.
''We're pretty happy with her, she's improved a bit.''
Alpine Heights won the Queenstown Cup at Cromwell on December 1 and followed up with a satisfactory fourth in the Coupland's Bakeries Crystals at Ascot Park on December 14.
''He always goes a good genuine race and he'll be getting a couple of kilograms off [apprentice allowance],'' John Parsons, of Balcairn, said.
The North Canterbury trainers have 11 horses engaged at Omakau.
One of their maiden gallopers, Eclair Chocolat, was fourth favourite for her only start, at Gore on December 22. She jumped awkwardly and lost ground at the start and finished last of 12.
''Her work's been good,'' John Parsons said of Eclair Chocolat, who contests the Duncan Agricultural Services Maiden.
The horseman was encouraged by Seeking Redemption's fifth at Waikouaiti on Wednesday. Seeking Redemption has been settling back races but today, Parsons hopes the gelding can use barrier one to his advantage in the Peter Lyon Seeking Redemption Rating 65. Lyon, a shearing contractor, owns Seeking Redemption.
''He's got a decent draw and hopefully, he can get a couple of spots closer [in the running],'' John Parsons said.
''His run at Waikouaiti was better than what he had been going and he had a puff afterwards.''
Seeking Redemption has raced at Omakau twice for a win and a second.
Delacroix, previously trained at Cambridge by Roger James, debuted from the Parsons stable at Wingatui on December 26. He ran fourth of 10 over 1600m and should be suited to the 2000m of today's Dunstan Hotel Rating 65.
''There's a bit of improvement in him.''
John Parsons said George Almighty was one of his better chances today. George Almighty was third in the Waikouaiti Cup (rating 85) on Wednesday and drops in class for the WS Hickey and Son Ltd Rating 75.
Matthew Cropp's 3kg apprentice claim will reduce George Almighty's carded weight to 57kg. Stablemate and race rival Squash ran a solid third on a firm track at Riccarton two starts back.
The Southland Times