Another Te Rapa feature mission for Saracino

Saracino (Lisa Allpress) beginning his last campaign with a splendid Foxbridge Plate win.

Saracino (Lisa Allpress) beginning his last campaign with a splendid Foxbridge Plate win. Can he do it again in the NRM Sprint at Te Rapa?

It’s no surprise the connections of smart Cambridge galloper Saracino are again looking to a Te Rapa feature to kick off his latest campaign after a trials win this week.

Saracino was thrown in the deep end when tackling the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa last August and it proved a rewarding gamble as the Per Incanto three-year-old raced away for his first win.

Now almost six months later, trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are again eyeing up the Waikato venue for Saracino’s first major mission with his assignment being the Gr.1 $200,000 NRM Sprint (wfa 1400m) on February 11.

“That’s his main aim, though we may give him a run beforehand,” said Baker. “There’s not a lot of three-year-old 1200 to 1400-metre races around over here at this time of year for him.

“There is the one at Ellerslie (the Gr.3 Stella Artois Mr Tiz Trophy on March 4) so we might look at that, too. There’s the possibility he’ll go back to Aussie.”

Saracino showed he is in the right order for another profitable campaign when winning over 1000 metres at last Tuesday’s Te Aroha trials.

Ridden by Matt Cameron, he led out then sat outside the leader Dezignator before being pushed to the front with 250 metres to run. He went on to win by three lengths from the Gr.2 Windsor Park Stud Japan NZ International Trophy winner Watch This Space and did it with his ears pricked.

Saracino also started his last two campaigns in the same fashion with trials wins.

After taking a juvenile trial at Matamata, he went on to pick up two placings (including a third in the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes) and a fifth (in the Gr.1 Sistema Diamond Stakes) in his three-start first campaign, then last August he preceded his Foxbridge Plate win with a trials victory at Te Teko.

On the strength of his Foxbridge Plate win, Saracino headed to Melbourne and was a first-up winner of the Gr.2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington before being unlucky when held up in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude. He then went on to run sixth in the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas and ended his campaign when last in the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Classic.

“Really he shouldn’t have run in the Coolmore. He’d had enough,” said Baker.