Mare at concert pitch for Avondale Cup

Things may not have gone Concert Hall’s way in the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie last start, but her connections are hopeful she can bring home another cup from the Auckland track on Saturday.

Concert Hall winning the Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes
Concert Hall winning the Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes Picture: Trish Dunell

The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained five-year-old will contest the Gr.2 Joe McDonald Avondale Cup (2400m) and her connections are putting her last start fourth-placing behind them.

"It really just didn't suit her at all (after the false start)," Wellwood said. "Ryan (Elliot, jockey) said the first time going past the post he had a whole heap of horse under him and the second time they jumped out she wasn't the same horse.

"She still stuck on well and ran very genuinely, so we weren't disappointed, but the way the race unfolded really didn't work for her.

"We will just put that behind us. She has had a good time between runs now. We have just got to look forward and not back."

The daughter of Savabeel has pleased her trainers since then, finishing runner-up to Group One performer Supera in a 1200m trial at Tauranga last week.

"I thought her trial was very good, she only got out late and hit the line very strongly behind a very smart horse in Supera," Wellwood said. "We were very happy with it and she has come through the trial well.

"She worked this (Wednesday) morning and worked very nice, so I couldn't be happier with her."

While pleased with the mare, Wellwood said his only concern is the 58.5kg she will have to carry this weekend.

"She is going to have to carry a fair bit of weight now, she is only one point off the top, so she won't be getting any weight off the topweights.

"We are very happy with the way she is going and she is rated that way for a reason.

"She is a very genuine racehorse and just wants to be there. She really thrives on work and loves being a racehorse."

All going well after Saturday, Concert Hall could be set for a Group One tilt in a few weeks' time.

"If she runs out the race strongly we may look to head to the Auckland Cup (Gr.1, 3200m), providing she comes through the run well," he said.

Meanwhile. Kingsclere Stables will also line-up Madam Hass in the Stella Artois 1200.

The winner of two of her four starts, Madam Hass finished out of the money for the first time last start when fourth behind exciting three-year-old Catalyst in the Gr.3 Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie.

Wellwood said she didn't do herself any favours when over-racing and he hopes the addition of some gear will assist in improving her racing manners.

"She over-raced badly last time and gave herself no chance," he said.

"We have changed gear on her, she now has a Norton bit and earmuffs on and hopefully she can settle. It would be good if she could get in behind a couple of horses and race kindly.

"She has a lot of ability, but when you are racing nice horses you can't afford to be doing anything wrong anywhere in the race.

"If she could start improving her racing manners she may have a pretty bright future."
NZ Racing News