Lets Elope is not paid up for the New Zealand Cup but Thursday’s (September 26) Te Awamutu Cup winner is still likely to be seen on Cup Day at Addington Raceway.
His trainers Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins were delighted with the 5-year-old Real Desire gelding’s decisive two-length victory on at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. It was his second run back since finishing sixth behind Christen Me in the Jewels Final in June.
“We were rapt with the run. He follows speed well and he’s improving towards Cup class nicely, but he’s not ready for the top company just yet.
“He could be ready come Auckland Cup time but for now we will just ease him into it. He needs more tough racing,” Cooney said.
Maurice McKendry had Lets Elope (30m) poised three back on the outside at the bell in Thursday’s $12,000 3-6 win pace. Then when they were in the one-one turning for home it was just a matter of how much Lets Elope would win by.
At the end of the 2700m stand they had two lengths and three quarters of a length to spare over Bettor Romance (Zac Butcher) and Freespin (Scott Phelan).
Winner’s time: 3:25.5. Mile rate: 2:02.4. Last 800m: 58.6. Last 400m: 28.3. He was the second favourite and paid $4.10 to win.
Hopkins said it was vital that Lets Elope now kept improving and that meant he had to take on stronger fields.
Therefore a trek south was now was the obvious move.
“There’s not much up here in the North Island for him so we will most probably head south depending on what the owners say. There are a few possibilities but the Junior Free-For-All on Cup Day and the 3200m stand on Show Day appeal.
“The Kaikoura Cup is also a possibility,” Hopkins said.
Cooney said he would talk to Canterbury horseman Colin De Filippi this week about Lets Elope’s schedule and whether or not De Filippi was able to drive him.
Lets Elope provided the Taupaki training duo with their first win at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. He has now won 10 of his 45 starts and placed 15 times for $273,662 in stakes.
Lets Elope is owned by Anne Cooney, P.J. Haslam, and W.H. Outtrim. He was bred by Old Ridge Services Number 4 Ltd.
He is the third of five foals out of the one-win Soky’s Atom mare Alta Vista.
Meanwhile Cooney, who was almost killed in a driving accident at Alexandra Park in July last year, said he was still missing driving.
“It’s something I really enjoyed. I saw the doctor a couple of months ago and it could still be six to 12 months if at all. That really frustrates me, but that’s the way life is,” Cooney said.
He said he was just thankful to have Hopkins as his partner.
“It’s very satisfying to know that when the horses go away, like they did to Cambridge last night, they are going to be looked after. Tate has been great. The partnership is going well,” Cooney said.
By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)