By Glenn Davis
A wet track and sparkling track gallop have boosted the hopes of imported German mare Igraine continuing New Zealand’s record in the Listed Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
New Zealand trained gallopers have won the 2400-metre feature 10 times since it was first run in 1985 with the Nigel Tiley-trained Megablast the latest winner 12 months ago.
Igraine crossed the Tasman for the Brisbane winter carnival after finishing second in the Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) at Hasting in April.
In her first Queensland start, Igraine finished second to the Chris Waller-trained Le Juge in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 11.
She was then a close third to local galloper The Candy Man in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm two weeks later.
The six-year-old daughter of Galileo blotted her copybook at her latest appearance in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 when she finished sixth to Sixties Grooves.
“Take out her last run and her form has been good,” said trainer Robert Priscott.
“She had an easy week after the Brisbane Cup and she galloped very well on Tuesday morning.
“She races good on firm surfaces but her best form is on wet tracks and it’s been a year since she won three of her first four runs in New Zealand on wet tracks.”
Priscott, who has won four Group 1’s in his career, is best known as the trainer of Hill Of Grace, who ran in 26 Group 1 races.
However, her only win at the highest level was in the Ansett Stakes at Rosehill in 2000.
Priscott believes a heavy track at Caloundra will suit Igraine who could continue her Australian campaign in the Listed Grafton Cup next month.
“She’s a momentum horse and she didn’t get carried into the Brisbane Cup when she followed The Candy Man,” Priscott said.
“Hopefully, she can get a clear run from about the 600 metres and if she does, she’ll be right in the finish.
“The only doubt I’ve got is getting the 2400 metres.”
Igraine, who will be ridden by Robbie Fradd, was originally bought as a future broodmare prospect for leading Waikato breeders Trelawney Stud after winning one race from her first six starts in Europe.
Well known New Zealand bloodstock agent Paul Moroney paid 65,000 guineas for the mare after she finished fifth to subsequent American Grade One winner, A Raving Beauty in a Listed race in Germany.
In latest TAB markets, Igraine is on the third line of betting at $6.00 behind $2.50 favourite Big Duke.
Racing Queensland webnews June 28