El Chico got pet distance, now for luck
Just a little bit of luck.
That's all Michael Pitman is after at Riccarton today.
The leading South Island trainer lines up a compelling team of starters on his own track this afternoon, including two runners in the day's feature - The Timaru Stakes.
He will line up rising star Coup Darci Be and El Chico in the $50,000 event and is expecting bold runs from both, especially El Chico.
"He's just had no luck in his last two starts," Pitman said.
"Two starts back he was held up when looking pretty likely.
"Then last start he got wiped out at the start in the Timaru Cup, so he's due some luck."
Allocated today's top weight in the listed feature, El Chico's task won't be easy with a talented field of gallopers set to tear their way over the 1400 metres.
But it's the 1400-metre distance that only adds to El Chico's claims.
From 31 starts over the trip he's won six times and placed on 11 often in very fast times beating the benchmark time of one minute and 22 seconds on four of those winning occasions.
"It's his distance, he thrives on 1400 metre racing.
"I'm really happy with him heading into it, actually. He had a nice draw to use and should be right in for the fight."
Pitman has enlisted the services of stable apprentice, and in-form hoop, Amelia Denby to do the riding on El Chico today.
For Coup Darci Be, he has called in one of the big names.
Shane Dye, who is continuing his comeback to riding, will take the ride on the talented galloper who Pitman said is working well.
"His work has been very good as well. His draw (10) is the only problem.
"But because he is so adaptable and can go forward, or sit back it shouldn't worry him too much and I think he will give a lot of cheek."
In other exciting news from the Pitman stable, star sprinter Coup Align, who has won $420,000, is a strong chance of rebooting his New Zealand career at next week's Wingatui meeting.
The talented sprinter was sent to Singapore to race out of former Kiwi trainer Mark Walker's stable but failed to live up to expectations and is now back in the care of Pitman.
"He's coming up really well.
"We will give him a serious hit out on Tuesday and that will determine whether or not we are going to be at Dunedin or not."