NZ Briefs for 26th October 2018

Pitman to miss Cox Plate; Hickman holds strong hand in 2YO feature; Who Shot Thebarman vying to go back-to-back; Filly up to the mark at Randwick
Pitman to miss Cox Plate
While Riccarton trainer Michael Pitman has arrived safely in Melbourne to watch Savvy Coup contest Saturday’s Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m), his son and training partner Matthew will be unable to attend.
Michael has recently undergone surgery and was cleared to fly to Melbourne on Thursday, but Matthew will stay home in New Zealand to support his pregnant partner Patricia after she developed complications on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, they went for a blood test yesterday (Thursday) before they came to pick me up from hospital and it meant that Patricia had to go into hospital last night,” Michael Pitman said.
“They may even be forcing induced labour either today or tomorrow, so Matthew has had to stay at home.”
Pitman said he is pleased with how Savvy Coup has been working in Melbourne and said his runner is likely to track glamour mare Winx throughout the Moonee Valley feature.
“I just hope that the connections of the horses that think they are a chance to beat Winx really do try hard, because they might beat each other that would be perfect,” he said.
“I think we are a chance to run top four and we will probably end up following Winx.”
Hickman holds strong hand in 2YO feature
Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman will head into the Listed Hanley Formula Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham with two strong chances on Saturday.
Unbeaten two-year-old Showcasing fillies Last Sight and The Tailors Niece are $4 equal favourites with TAB bookmakers for the Trentham feature after they both won impressively in each of their debut performances.
The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Last Sight won by a half-length over 4 1⁄2 f at Ruakaka earlier this month and her connections are happy with her heading into Saturday.
“She goes into the race in magnificent order and I get the feeling she has improved since her first-up win,” James said.
Meanwhile, The Tailors Niece’s trainer John Bary is equally as impressed with his filly after her debut win over 5 f at Tauherenikau.
“I’m very happy with her work,” he said. “She’s a very exciting filly and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
Who Shot Thebarman vying to go back-to-back
New Zealand-bred and owned warhorse Who Shot Thebarman will be vying to make it back-to-back wins in the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) when he lines up on Saturday.
The Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) winner has been unplaced in all of his three starts this spring and his trainer Chris Waller is hoping for an improved performance from the evergreen stayer.
“He gets back on a good track on Saturday and up to a more suitable distance so from barrier 7 it should see him settle midfield,” Waller said.
“His fitness levels seems fine and he has arrived safely and settled back into Flemington without any issues.”
While the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) remains the ultimate spring goal for the 10-year-old gelding, Waller said a decision will be made on the remainder of his spring campaign after Saturday.
“It is a stronger race than what he won last year, but nonetheless it is a good yard stick as to where he might be heading beyond Saturday,” he said.
“We will hope for a fair run, get a good gauge on where he is at and hopefully he has another win left in him.”
Filly up to the mark at Randwick
A tough first-up run might have taken its toll on Campari at Warwick Farm on Wednesday but Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh doesn't expect the second-up syndrome to impact Mark Two at Randwick on Saturday.
Gr.2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) runner-up Mark Two will contest the Cellarbrations Handicap (2000m) with Jason Collett booked to ride.
"I flew over to Sydney on Tuesday and watched her work on Wednesday and I couldn't fault her one bit. She pulled up in super order and didn't even have a blow," Marsh said of the Go Racing-raced Pins mare, a last-start winner at Gosford.
"She's a different case to Campari - she didn't have anywhere near as long between preparations."
Marsh wasn't disappointed with Campari, despite peaking on her run at Warwick Farm on Wednesday and finishing fourth.
"She was second-up after a big first-up win and she was showing the impact of that. But she's bounced out of Wednesday's run well and we'll pick out a Rating 70 7 f race somewhere."

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