Happy Days for Cunningham

Winning owner Ron Cunningham.   - Race Images
Winning owner Ron Cunningham.

Race Images

Owner Ron Cunningham experienced one of his biggest thrills in racing on Saturday when Shadows Cast took out the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.

It was the second win at Group Two level for the son of Per Incanto after he dead-heated with Son of Maher in last year’s Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton.

“I have won some nice races, but the way the horse won that race it was quite something,” said Cunningham, who was full of praise for his trainer Mark Oulaghan.

“Mark does a wonderful job. He is a really competent trainer and he’s right up there amongst the best in my opinion.”

Shadows Cast’s winning performance was a massive turnaround from his last start run in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile last month when he tailed the field home after suffering from a heart murmur.

“The horse raced really well at Riccarton up until about 300m out and Jonathan Parkes (jockey) said there was nothing there,” Cunningham said.

“The vets had a look at him the moment he was back in the birdcage and said he had a heart murmur.

“Other trainers gave me a lot of confidence in the fact that any horses that they have had with cardiac problems have always bounced back without any problem and this horse proved that (on Saturday).”

Cunningham, who bought Shadows Cast after he was passed in at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2014 South Island Yearling Sale, said he is looking forward to targeting some Group One spoils with his six-year-old in the coming months.

“We’ve got a couple of options with him,” he said. “We’ll possibly look at the 1400m Group One race (BCD Group Sprint) at Te Rapa if we don’t go to the Thorndon Mile (Gr.1, 1600m). – NZ Racing Desk


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