TLC just what doctor ordered for Saperavious

Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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A magnetic blanket, chiropractic treatment and a stable change helped Saperavious regain winning form at Ascot Park.

She posted a front-running victory in a rating 65 1600m on Sunday, her second success in 16 starts. Saperavious handled the heavy track conditions better than the deep testing ground she raced on at Riccarton eight days earlier.

Ascot Park trainer Sean Bellew took over preparing the 4-year-old mare in December. Bellew and Waimatua owner Don Nicolson, both on the executive of the Southland Racing Club, agreed to give the galloper two starts and then reassess her future.

She struck herself first up from Bellew's stable at Gore (seventh) on January 23 and in her next start, finished fourth at Ascot Park on February 17.

"I could see signs of improvement," Bellew said.

When Saperavious left neighbouring trainer Sally McKay, Bellew freshened her for a fortnight and then worked her without shoes for a week. Saperavious' off fore leg used to touch the inside of her hock in races.

Chiropractic treatment and stints in a magnetic blanket helped to improve her galloping action. Bellew's said his track rider, Anna Hewitson, spent more time with Saperavious than any other horse in his team.

"We put no high pressure on her for the first month," Bellew said of Saperavious.

She lacked confidence but with special attention from Hewitson, had improved. "It's in her head, she can't be buried in a [race] field. She's got to be out and rolling," Bellew said.

Having only a handful of horses in work allows Bellew and his staff extra time with their horses.

"We'll probably use the same tactics again at Riverton on Monday : jump and run [to the front]," he said.

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- Fairfax Media

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