Trainer Lucy de Latour hoping Kipkeino can out-run rivals again
The polar blast that put paid to Saturday's meeting at Trentham may have played into the hands of recent big race winners at Hastings.
The Wellington Hurdle and Wellington Steeplechase have been added to Thursday's meeting at Hastings.
That was the scene of respective victories by Kipkeino and Just Ishi in the Hawke's Bay Hurdle and Hawke's Bay Steeplechase when last taken to the races.
Lucy de Lautour, who trains Kipkeino and owns him in partnership with husband Will, is thankful the race was rescheduled giving her horse another crack at a prestige event.
Kipkeino delivered a career highlight for the Waipukurau horsewoman with victory in the Hawke's Bay Hurdle ridden by Shaun Phelan, who again takes the reins.
The nine-year-old gelding has been a good flat performer. A 13-length romp in a maiden hurdle last August had been his only previous success in six attempts over jumps but he had run second in another four.
His deeds so far have exceeded the expectations of his trainer who is hoping her mainly farm-trained pride and joy can provide more of the same when he tackles the Wellington Hurdle.
"It's a really good field," she said. "But he's done well since his last start and he's proven over the course and distance - hopefully all goes well."
The query on Thursday may be the heavy track, his two hurdle victories coming on Slow 9 footing but judging by his last start win he will be a strong contender and five of his flat wins came on heavy tracks.
The outstanding jumper Sea King – a winner of 15 races who, with 71 kg on his back, was third in the Hawke's Bay Hurdles behind Kipkeino, finds himself with 71kg again, but 2kg closer in the handicap this time.
Justa Charlie, second in that race, meets Kipkeino 1.5kg better off.
Newcomers Thatz David, The Shackler, Upper Cut, Max and Zeedeedudadeeko add interest to Thursday's contest..
Just Ishi handled his toughest steeplechase test to date with ease at Hastings a few weeks ago, adding to his growing reputation with a runaway victory in the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase.
The 9-year-old Ishiguru gelding was making only his fourth start over the bigger fences, having won two of the previous three in the style of a rising steeplechasing star.
He went to a whole new level, romping home by 16 lengths.
Owner-trainer-breeder Gail Temperton can't fault the horse heading into Hastings this week.\