Ready to Ascend Another Guineas' Throne

Date: 15 Feb 2024

Ready to Ascend Another Guineas' Throne

NZ Racing News reports:

Ascend The Throne scored his first stakes scalp when triumphant in the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa earlier this month, and the Savabeel gelding will look to double his Guineas haul when he heads to Ellerslie on Saturday.

The Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained gelding will contest the Gr.2 Eagle Technology Avondale Guineas (2100m) and bid to continue his impressive form line ahead of next month’s Gr.1 Trackside New Zealand Derby (2100m).

Ascend The Throne has conditioned to improve since his last start outing according to his conditioners, who expect to see another bold run from the gelding under jockey Matthew Cameron.

“He has come through the (Waikato Guineas) run really well,” Bergerson told TAB NZ. “It was a top effort that day, aided by a very good ride of Opie’s (Bosson). We think he has improved off it, he is still very lightly raced, and it is all ahead of him. He is going into Saturday in good order.

“We will know more about the Derby picture following Saturday, but we are really happy with our fella.”

Ascend The Throne will be joined in the Guineas by stablemates What You Wish For and Tokyo Tycoon, and Bergerson is particularly upbeat about Tokyo Tycoon’s staying prospects as they look towards the New Zealand Derby with the diminutive gelding.

“Looking at him, he doesn’t look like a Derby horse, but I thought his run in the Karaka Million ($1.5 million, 1600m) was really good,” Bergerson said.

“He hit a flat spot halfway up the straight and then came again on the line. It indicated to us that he was looking for a bit more ground and we will know a lot more after Saturday.

“We gave him a spin around Matamata between races last week and his work was tip top. Warren Kennedy goes aboard, which is a massive plus. We are happy with him heading into it.”

In the following race, the Matamata barn will be represented in the Gr.2 Eagle Technology Avondale Cup (2400m) by Prise De Fer, Fierce Flight, and Mehzebeen.

Evergreen galloper Prise De Fer will be looking to recapture form, having been unplaced in his three starts since his runner-up effort in the Gr.2 Waikato Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa in December, but Bergerson said he is still acting like a horse several years his junior and is loving racing.

“He has always been a good track worker. He is still bouncing around the stable, and as long as he is enjoying it, we will keep going,” he said.

“I thought his run at Matamata (last week) was okay. He loomed up like he was going to be in the finish but was a little dour up the straight. The step up to 2400m we think suits. His last run at 2400m was in the Waikato Cup and it was a super performance under a big weight.”

Fierce Flight was runner-up in the Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham last start and Bergerson said the Avondale Cup will bridge the gap nicely to next month’s Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie.

“Fierce Flight is coming off a very good run in the Wellington Cup,” he said. “We gave him a little bit of an easy time, he had a spin around between races last week. He is in really good form and we think he is in the right frame of mind at the moment and hopefully he can run a nice race on Saturday and progress onto the Auckland Cup.”

Group One performer Mehzebeen pleased with her placing over 2070m at Matamata last week, fresh off her win in the Taupo Cup (2000m) a month prior.

The four-year-old daughter of Almanzor holds a nomination for the Auckland Cup, and her trainers have been playing catch-up after a slight setback caused her to miss the Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) last month.

“I thought her run was really good on Wednesday in the Open 2000m at Matamata,” Bergerson said. “We missed the run at Wellington unfortunately due to a foot issue, but that race tidied her up nicely for this coming Saturday, we just had to play a bit of catch-up.

“We think that we have got her back on track and we think she will run a really nice race at a really light weight come Saturday.”


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