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Top Kiwi mare to tackle wonder galloper

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Emotions ran high in the birdcage at Hastings on Saturday after New Zealand’s star mare confirmed a meeting with Australia’s champion at Moonee Valley later this month.

Savvy Coup’s victory in the G1 Livamol Classic booked her passage across the Tasman for a crack at the G1 Cox Plate, in which the champion Winx (Street Cry {IRE}) will be chasing her fourth consecutive win in the weight-for-age feature.

Success at Hastings was a huge boost for Michael Pitman, who trains with his son Matthew, as he has been undergoing treatment for cancer and will have surgery on Monday.

“I’ve said all along that if she won this then she would go to the Cox Plate, but I don’t know if I’ll be there but the horse will.” – Michael Pitman.

“I’ve said all along that if she won this then she would go to the Cox Plate, but I don’t know if I’ll be there but the horse will,” the Riccarton conditioner said.

“This was the most important race of my life and I’ve really appreciated all the support.”

Last season’s G1 New Zealand Oaks winner, Savvy Coup had the flashing light on her when she finished fifth on resuming in the G1 Tarzino Trophy and she then powered home to finish runner-up to Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) in the G1 Windsor Park Plate.

“I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but after she ran second to the best sprinter-miler in the country the other day I was so confident.” - Michael Pitman.

“I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but after she ran second to the best sprinter-miler in the country the other day I was so confident,” Pitman said. “She’s not a 1400 or 1600 metre horse – she’s an Oaks filly.

“I’ve heard people say I gave her too much last season, but they don’t know how we train and we don’t do much with them. This has been a massive team effort.”

Savvy Coup settled toward the back of the field in a genuinely-run race and rider Chris Johnson let the 4-year-old stride around the field 700 metres from home.

The mare swung wide into the straight and cruised to the front with 250 metres from home and, under minimal urging, she drew out for a dominant win.

“I got back as usual and got her to settle and when I pulled her out she came around them really fast.” – Chris Johnson.

“The 2000 metres definitely helped her chances,” Johnson said. “I got back as usual and got her to settle and when I pulled her out she came around them really fast.

“I went early on her, probably a bit too early, but she was strong to the line.”

The two-time Group 1 winner Lizzie L’Amour (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) finished second and was doing her best work at the finish with last season’s G1 New Zealand Derby placegetter Danzdanzdance (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {IRE}) third.

Scott Base (NZ) (Dalghar {FR}) had every chance and battled away to take fourth money ahead of Big Mike (NZ) (Don Eduardo). He gave a bold sight in front and finished a meritorious fifth in his weight-for-age debut.