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Good footing key to Derby hope Pinarello’s chances

New Zealand Derby contender Pinarello steps out at New Plymouth on Saturday
Photo: Trish Dunell

Progressive three-year-old Pinarello has suffered a minor setback on his road to the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and connections have their fingers crossed he will be firmly back on track after Saturday.


The well-related son of Tavistock and Zabeel’s Group-winning daughter Zonza missed a run last weekend and Plan B in his preparation for the Vodafone-sponsored classic is an outing against the older horses at New Plymouth.


Pinarello has been kept safe in the Derby market at $12 following the Cambridge Stud-bred and raced gelding’s dominant maiden win at Te Aroha and he steps up to Rating 65 company in the Revital Fertilisers Handicap (1600m).


“He was meant to run at Ellerslie last Sunday, but we had a little hiccup when he got kicked and he’s all good now,” said Robert Wellwood, who trains in partnership with Roger James.


“He’s shown good ability and we’ll see him over a mile again and then hopefully step him up in the Avondale Guineas (Gr.2, 2100m).


“We are just hoping the rain doesn’t come this weekend, otherwise we might have to rethink our path to the Derby again.”


The stable will also be represented at New Plymouth by Charmario in the Gr.3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m), Hypnos in the Gr.3 Powerworx Taranaki Cup (1800m) and Hasstobeyou in the EZI Car Rental Handicap (1400m).


Charmario has made a strong start to his career with a debut third at Ellerslie and a runner-up finish in the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1100m).


“A good barrier really puts him into the race. He’s been thrown in at the deep end in both of his starts and he’s done well, but he’s another one we’re hoping the rain doesn’t come for,” Wellwood said.


Hypnos over-raced when unplaced in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) and a true pace should see him more competitive.


“He is really well and he got tugging too hard at Trentham when they didn’t go all that fast. With the likes of The Mitigator in on Saturday they might run at a more genuine pace and if they roll along we’d like to think he will be thereabouts,” Wellwood said.


Hasstobeyou won for the second time from 11 appearances last time out when successful at Tauranga and has the benefit of the inside gate.


“She’s well and she will handle the bite out of the track. She has drawn a good barrier, which is a big help to her and she is pretty honest,” Wellwood said.


Promising distance performer Dionysus will be in action at in the EMAC Electrical Handicap (1600m) Tauranga on Sunday in his first start since trouncing his rivals in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Stayers’ Final (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.


“We’ve freshened him up and we’ll just plug away with him through the autumn, races like the New Zealand St Leger (Listed, 2600m) and the Hawke’s Bay Cup (Listed, 2200m) are at the back of our minds for him,” Wellwood said.


Quality mare Concert Hall copped a tough three-wide run when unplaced in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) and may run next in either the Gr.1 Herbie Dye Stakes (2000m) or the Gr.2 Wallen Concrete Avondale Cup (2400m).


Two Illicit was sixth in the Trentham event and might make one more domestic appearance before a possible overseas campaign.


“She will either go to the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) or straight to Queensland. There’s a bit of water to go under the bridge yet with her,” Wellwood said.


“She pulled up a bit scratchy after Wellington and we’ll give her a bit of time,” Wellwood said. “She’s destined to head to the Hunter Valley next season to be bred to so she might just have a little Queensland holiday before getting there.” – NZ Racing Desk.