Day At The Track

Spirit Of St Louis tracking towards Derby

07:00 AM 22 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Spirit Of St Louis after winning at Wairio,Harness racing
Spirit Of St Louis after winning at Wairio
Bruce Stewart photo

“I think you’d have to be happy – it was his first run for a while. He came down the outside of the track and he wasn’t going to get there but he tried really, really hard and picked them up,” trainer Graeme Anderson said of three year old Spirit Of St Louis which beat the older horses at Wairio today.

From a wide gate driver Matty Williamson took Spirit Of St Louis back. With 1000 metres to run he was able to improve three back on the outside line. When Spirit Of St Louis was asked to improve with 300 metres to run he was forced four wide. The gelding show tenacity and under strong urging from Williamson got up to win by a head with Parama and Born To Boogie dead heating for second. The mile was run in 1-56.5 on a slushy track with the last 800 metres timed in 56.9 and the last 400 metres in 26.8.

“He was at about ninety percent today so the run should tighten him up.”

Like most trainers Anderson says it’s hard under the new handicap system to place three year olds and they’re regularly forced to race against the older horses.

“It’s always been tough. With the old handicapping system you used to get every second win free. But now you get up there (the grade) pretty bloody quick but you don’t have many options. We had to race down here because we’d have to have gone to Addington last night (Flying Stakes) and then come home again so it was a good fit.”

In a fortnight Anderson hopes to run the Sweet Lou three year old in the Group One New Zealand Derby.

“If they still hold the race we’ll go to the Derby now and hopefully lob three back on the fence, mind our own business and have a dash at them. We took Eamon Maguire on exactly the same path and he ran third in the Derby.”

Further up the road in the galloping code Anderson and a few of the owners in both Spirit Of St Louis and American Lightning watched Stella Creek, trained at Riccarton by Teri Rae, run second on debut.

 

Bruce Stewart

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