A niggling leg injury might have put paid to the chances of Fritzy Boy defending his crown in Saturday’s Gr III $70,000 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.
Masterton trainer Alby MacGregor yesterday said he would enter Fritzy Boy in Saturday’s 1200m sprint, a key leadup to the Gr I Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings on September 1, but he was not optimistic of the Gr I winner actually starting.
MacGregor said the injury was a recurring leg niggle that had flared up in training last week.
‘‘We were hoping to be up there for the Foxbridge Plate but he’s had a bit of an injury and we mightn’t make it,’’ MacGregor said.
‘‘It’s an old injury that’s recurred. It’s just serious enough. I might have to ease up on him a bit. I’ve been working on it but it’s not coming right as good as I hoped it might.
‘‘I’ll just see how it is between now and Tuesday and see how we go.’’
MacGregor said he would still nominate Fritzy Boy for the weight-for-age sprint he won so emphatically last year in a bid to give the now eight-year-old every opportunity to overcome the injury and run this weekend.
‘‘The aim was to head back to Te Rapa and try and win the Foxbridge Plate again and then go on to Hawke’s Bay but what will be will be,’’ MacGregor said.
Brilliance gelding Fritzy Boy has had two jumpouts in preparation for his spring campaign but MacGregor said wet tracks and the injury had meant his stable star wasn’t as forward as he would have liked him to be.
‘‘We’ve just been held up with the wet tracks and this bit of an injury,’’ MacGregor said.
‘‘We really need a run before Hastings too. It would be really tough taking him there fresh-up and that’s creeping up on us quickly.’’
Jonathan Riddell has ridden Fritzy Boy in both his jumpouts and will have first refusal on the ride should a Foxbridge start materialise, with last year’s winning rider David Walker MacGregor’s second-choice jockey.
Fritzy Boy settled on the pace in last year’s race and put the contest beyond the reach of his rivals with a sizzling last-300m sprint to score by 2 3/4 lengths from Fleur de Lune and Smoulder.
He went on to finish fifth in the Makfi Stakes at Hastings, a race he has contested four times, winning in 2008, finishing ninth in 2009 and third in 2010.
Fleur de Lune and Smoulder will again contest the Foxbridge Plate, while others expected to be among tomorrow’s entries are Shez Sinsational, Xanadu, Sweet Suitor, Justanexcuse, Te Toro Lass, Baby Guinness, Master Power, Special Days, Miko and Guevara.
Fleur de Lune and Xanadu, second and third respectively in this year’s Gr I New Zealand Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha, completed exhibition gallops between races at Te Aroha on Friday, pleasing their respective trainers.
Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell was thrilled with Fleur de Lune’s gallop.
‘‘It was good get here out here today. Grass tracks are at a premium to work on and that was as good as a trial. She blew a bit afterwards,’’ Somervell told Trackside television.
‘‘She’s not topped off by any means yet. She wintered very well so she’s probably a few kilos overweight.’’
Fleur de Lune went on from her Foxbridge placing to finish third to Mufhasa and Jimmy Choux in last year’s Makfi Stakes.
Matamata trainer Ken Kelso yesterday said Xanadu had taken a lot of benefit out of her exhibition gallop.
‘‘I just elected to do that rather than take her to the trials and that and the trip to the races will have done her the world of good,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m happy with her. There’s still improvement in her but she’s forward enough to go a competitive race this weekend and hopefully she’ll keep improving and she’ll go on to Hastings.
‘‘She doesn’t mind the cut in the ground but I just hope it’s not too wet because I don’t want her to have a gutbuster first-up.’’
Meanwhile, Mufhasa, He’s Remarkable, Green Supreme, Guiseppina and Ocean Park will all go fresh-up into the $200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings, while Time Keeper will contest the 1400m open handicap at Otaki on Saturday.
Fears Nothing is set to trial at Foxton next Tuesday.
Makfi Challenge Stakes betting: $3.50 Mufhasa; $6 He’s Remarkable; $8 Ocean Park, Guiseppina; $12 Fleur De Lune, Green Supreme, Xanadu; $14 The Hombre; $16 Shez Sinsational; $26 Fritzy Boy; $31 Innovation, Testa Secret, Capital Diamond; $41 Time Keeper, Baby Guinness, Justanexcuse, Special Days, Smoulder; $51 Fears Nothing; $61 I Am Sam, Whoshe; $81 Te Toro Lass, Torino, Khemosabi; $101 Miko, Goldschatz; $151 Guess What; $201 Civics Rock.
- © Fairfax NZ News