IN Racing
Trial tops Taranaki pair off nicely for Avondale Cup
Mary Louise returns victorious following last month's Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m).
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | February 14, 2024
Mary Louise returns victorious following last month's Gr.3 Wellington Cup. Photo:Race Images

Taranaki trainer Robbie Patterson is looking forward to heading north to Ellerslie with Mary Lousie and Nom De Plume this weekend after they pleased in their 1200m trial at Foxton on Tuesday.

The pair will be looking to continue their good run of form when they contest the Gr.2 Eagle Technology Avondale Cup (2400m).

“They are going to the Avondale Cup on Saturday, so they had a really quiet trial,” Patterson said. “Craig (Grylls) was very happy with Mary Louise and Mereana Hudson was rapt with Nom De Plume. I am very happy going forward.”

Mary Louise placed in the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m) at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day before scoring a popular victory in the Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham last month.

Her ultimate aim is next month’s Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie and Patterson said it will be good to give the five-year-old mare a look around the Auckland track ahead of the two-mile feature.

“On Saturday Ciel Butler is going to ride her because the minimum is 52kg. She will ride her cold and give her a look at Ellerslie before the Auckland Cup, which is the big goal with Mary Louise,” Patterson said. “The two miles suits her big time, she is so dour.”

Nom De Plume has also been in pleasing form for the stable and takes a last start fourth placing in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) into Saturday.

Meanwhile, last start Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) hero Puntura also featured at the Foxton trials, winning his 1000m heat.

Next week’s Gr.1 Trackside Otaki-Maori WFA Classic (1600m) beckons the son of Vespa before a potential trip north to Ellerslie next month to chase the $500,000 Summer Series Bonus on offer, culminating in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2100m).

“He trialled up really nice. Craig was very happy with him, so he is going forward to that Group One on Saturday-week,” Patterson said.

“He will end up in the Bonecrusher if all goes well at Otaki because he does have nine points (in the summer series), so that is still an option.

“He will jump out again next Monday after our races and he will be peaking for that mile.”

Prior to the weekend, Patterson will head to his home meeting at New Plymouth on Friday with just the one runner – The Chopper in the Crowded House Maiden (1600m).

The four-year-old son of The Bold One was runner-up last start over 1600m at Trentham and Patterson believes his charge is capable of going one better on Friday.

“He is a full to The Underbelly, who won last week,” he said. “He is a very progressive horse. I can see him being a nice stayer next season. I will be disappointed if he doesn’t go a top race on Friday.”