The King reigns supreme at Awapuni

King Cougar (left) wins a titanic struggle with Gift Of Power at Awapuni  - Peter Rubery, Race Images Palmerston North
King Cougar (left) wins a titanic struggle with Gift Of Power at Awapuni

Peter Rubery, Race Images Palmerston North

Promising galloper King Cougar delivered an emphatic statement to those who questioned his credentials on firmer ground when he stormed to victory on his home turf on Saturday.

The Awapuni local has fashioned a more than useful record to date on mainly wet tracks with four wins and three placings from just nine starts. His only failure came when he finished last at Otaki in December on a Good3 rated surface which had some pundits questioning whether he was as effective on better going.

Although successful on a Slow9 track at Riccarton last month, trainer Mike Breslin believed his charge had strengthened further since then and would prove highly competitive in Saturday’s rating 82 1200m event that was contested on a rapidly improving Slow7 surface.

Handled confidently by Johnathan Parkes, King Cougar stalked pacemakers Gift Of Power and Manhattan Street throughout before bursting to the lead with 200m to run. Gift Of Power rallied gamely but King Cougar had momentum on his side as he fought off her challenge to nail a telling victory.

“I’ve just been loving the progress he has made since he came back from Christchurch,” Breslin said.

“His work has been super and I was half-pie expecting what he did today, although against one like Gift Of Power you never quite know.

“I think this horse is going to be some miler in the autumn next year.”

Breslin believes that the patient approach he has adopted with the Alamosa five-year-old will reap plenty of benefits in the future although he does have in mind a greater challenge for his charge as early as next month.

“He’s just a horse that does what the rider wants,” he said.

“He’s learning his trade and I think he is a very talented horse.

“We’ve taken our time and I think we are going to be repaid in bucket loads.

“I’ll see what the track conditions are like the last day at Hawkes Bay, and how he does, as to whether he can step up to that Group Three race on the minimum, but it will depend on how he does between now and then.”

That race is the Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings on October 6 which is the one of the feature events on the last day of the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival. – NZ Racing Desk


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