Kipling up to the test of Captain Cook
Classy Cambridge mare Lady Kipling will chase an elusive Gr I win at Trentham on Saturday, writes Aidan Rodley.
Lady Kipling’s participation in Saturday’s Gr I Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham will not necessarily rule her out of a title defence of the Cal Izusu Stakes at Te Rapa a week later, says trainer Murray Baker.
Baker had originally planned to bypass the Captain Cook Stakes in order to have the Savabeel five-year-old mare honed for the Gr II $100,000 Te Rapa fillies and mares feature.
However, the chance to break through at Gr I level was behind Baker’s move to enter Lady Kipling for Saturday’s $200,000 weight-for-age 1600m feature.
‘‘We decided to have a go at the Gr I,’’ Baker said yesterday.
‘‘A mile is probably her best distance and we’ve just decided to have a go. I don’t know if she can beat those better ones but she deserves a chance. She been placed in Gr I races.’’
A winner of nine of her 26 starts, Lady Kipling last month added the Gr II Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes trophy to her Gr II Cal Isuzu Stakes win from last year.
She has contested five Gr I races in the past for a second placing in the Otaki-Maori Weight-For-Age, a third placing in the Levin Classic, fourth placings in the New Zealand Breeders’ Stakes and Zabeel Classic and sixth in the New Zealand Stakes.
Her second in the Otaki-Maori Weight-For-Age was behind Veyron, who yesterday headed the 13 entries for Saturday’s Captain Cook Stakes.
Veyron was one of four Gr I winners entered, along with last year’s winner Mufhasa, Telegraph Handicap winner Guiseppina and 2008 Mudgway Stakes winner Fritzy Boy.
Thorndon Mile-placed Jetset Lad and last year’s New Zealand Oaks runner-up Zennista are others with Gr I placings to their name, while Gr II winner Platinum Princess, Gr III winners Lady Chaparral and Pero, and Listed winner Final Touch join Ziva and Spinning Dancer among the entries.
The national racing bureau yesterday left open the entries for the entire Trentham card.
Opie Bosson, who rode Jetset Lad last start, retains the ride on Lady Kipling, with Mark Du Plessis taking his spot on the John Wheeler-trained Jetset Lad.
Baker yesterday said Lady Kipling had progressed well since her win in the Auckland Breeders’ Stakes, a race in which Guiseppina and Final Touch chased her home.
‘‘She’s a pretty easy-going mare and she’s done well since,’’ he said.
‘‘She’s won her only two starts this season but it’s just whether she can beat Mufhasa and Veyron. They are pretty good horses, they’re top class. We knew they’d be in there and we tossed up whether to run but we’re having a go because it’s a Gr I.’’
Raced by Geoff Candy and Lawrence Redshaw, Lady Kipling has raced twice at Trentham but was unplaced in both after she was trapped wide each time.
Baker said he wouldn’t make a decision on backing up in the Cal Isuzu Stakes, on the Waikato Times Gold Cup undercard on Saturday week, till he’d had a chance to assess her Trentham run.
‘‘We’ll just have to see what happens on Saturday,’’ said Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman.
Baker will again consider Lady Kipling for the Gr I Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, despite his belief that she is better suited to 1600m.
Meanwhile, entries for Saturday’s Gr II $70,000 Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie were yesterday left open after attracting 12 original nominations.
Last year’s winner Durham Town heads the entries, with Matthew Cameron picking up the ride, replacing the suspended Vinnie Colgan.
Gr I winner Planet Rock joins Ginner Hart, Demophon, last year’s third-placed Rough Odds, Mosse, Whosyourmaster and Kitt Ann Miss among the leading chances.