Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, and owner Grant Hatton, will remain with their original plan of bypassing the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on March 2 with top 4YO pacer Saveapatrol.
They reviewed options after Saveapatrol made the most of a gun drive from Blair Orange to upset triple NZ Cup champion Terror To Love in the $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup on Sunday, January 26.
Saveapatrol, defeated triple NZ Cup champiion Terror To Love, in Sunday’s $40,000 Invercargill Cup.
However, there are enough suitable races in NZ for the time being for the Christian Cullen-Rondel Franco gelding.
With no automatic entry to the $A200,000 feature and the prospect of a hugely talented field across the Tasman, Saveapatrol will try his luck at Auckland instead.
“We will go to Auckland for a race on February 28 and maybe the Auckland Cup, all going well,” Mark said.
The $250,00 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup is run at Alexandra Park on March 7.
Saveapatrol is then likely to target the $100,000 Transpacific Tayor Mile at Auckland on May 2, followed by the $100,000 Dawson Hardford & Partners NZ Messenger on May 9.
Both the Taylor Mile and NZ Messenger have remained open to both 4 & 5YOs after changing their status last term.
Saveapatrol confirmed his ranking as a burgeoning talent on the open class scene when he finished off in style to claim the Group Three Invercargill Cup in a smart 4:03 (2:02.1 mile rate) for the 3200m.
He showed he can hold his own with the best when finishing off from the trail over the leaders last 800m in 55.4s, and final 400m in a sizzling 26.8s, at the end of the extreme trip.
While Terror To Love gave him 30m start and went 2.4 seconds quicker overall for the full 3200m, there was little between the two over the last mile with Terror To Love having the run run on the outer.
However, Saveapatrol responded in style when Blair asked him to lift with 100m to run along the sprint lane. He kicked to grab a half-neck minor upset win over the hot favourite and more experienced “Terror”.
Saveapatrol, who remained unbeaten in six Southland starts, extended his impressive career record to 13 starts for 10 wins and a second for $109,553 in stakes.
He credited trainer Mark Jones with his second Invercargill Cup training win in the last three years, having won the 2012 Invercargill Cup with Ohoka Texas.
Mark also reined Scorching to win the 2005 Invercargill when he was formerly attached to the Cran Dalgety stable.
By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of MARK JONES RACING)