Aspinal on trial for Railway Stakes

Aspinal will attempt to make up for an unsuccessful Australian campaign when she resumes in the Group II $85,000 The Aussie Butcher Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The Pins mare left New Zealand on a high note after beating top South Island sprinter O’Cartier and the highly rated Gaston in an open 1200-metre sprint at Te Rapa last April, but failed to have any luck in Australia.

“I took her to Melbourne and it was a disaster,” said co-trainer Tony Pike. “She struck a heavy track at Caulfield so I sent her up to Chris (Waller) in Sydney and she was continually plagued by wet tracks. It was a disaster all round. Because of the wet tracks she had a lot of feet problems and was never right.”

Aspinal finished seventh in that Melbourne outing and had five starts in New South Wales with her best placing being a fourth in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong last September when striking a good track for the first time in Australia. She had one further start, in a Listed race at Newcastle, then returned to Pike and Mark Donoghue’s stable.

“When she got back she had three weeks off and her feet have come right,” said Pike. “She’s pretty hard to get spot on, but I’m happy with her.”

Aspinal had a run at the recent Cambridge trials and though unplaced over 950 metres she pleased both her trainers and her jockey Leith Innes, who will again take the reins this weekend. “It was a nice quite trial and Leith said she felt good,” said Pike.

Aspinal has won four races and as a three-year-old she finished third in the Group II Hawke’s Bay Guineas and fourth in the Listed James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

Pike and Donoghue have entered Aspinal for both the Group I Blandford Lodge Railway Stakes at Ellerslie and the Group I Telegraph Handicap at Trentham and will decided on the two features after Saturday’s race.

“If she goes well on Saturday we’ll not run her again until the Railway, but if she looks as though she wants to go a bit further we might change plans with her,” said Pike. “We’ll be learning as much as punters on Saturday.”