Queensland will not be represented in the 2018 New Zealand Cup.
The famed two mile stand-start feature staged in Christchurch at Addington Raceway will take place on November 14 and Alleluia won’t be making the trip.
Prepared by Grant Dixon for leading owner Greg Mitchell, a late entry payment was made last month which had the Art Major gelding on the cusp of the final field of 15 starters before slipping to 17th in the latest rankings form Harness Racing New Zealand.
Following his third placing behind Let It Ride in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park during the winter carnival back in July, Alleluia continued his strong form with a string of open class victories at Albion Park during August and September.
As a result, connections decided to chase the New Zealand Cup.
But his form has dipped slightly in recent weeks including his latest effort last weekend when fourth behind his stable mate Ohoka Punter after leading.
“While he’s a proven Redcliffe Cup winner he’s not entirely comfortable on the track, the other major factor of not going ahead with New Zealand is the travel involved. There is no direct flight into Christchurch meaning we have to road down to Sydney before flying to Auckland and then getting a connecting flight to Christchurch which is very taxing.” Dixon said.
Alleluia remains in contention for the Inter Dominion series coming up in Melbourne starting on December 1.
In the latest rankings from Harness Racing Victoria, he sits 36th.
The Queensland Summer Carnival is another option available for connections with a trio of open class features scheduled
The local carnival starts on December 1.
“We’ll see where he ends up with the rankings for the Inter but the local carnival is a nice back-up and he’ll be very competitive in each of those races.
“His form is still very solid, the open class races are very competitive here and once we return to Albion Park, I think his best will return.”
Alleluia has won 33 races from 138 starts while banking more than $521,000.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | October 29 | Photo by Dan Costello