Change of plans for Chenille

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) unleashing her winning run at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) unleashing her winning run at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike ruled out a start in the NZ St Leger this weekend for Chenille and instead is concentrating on two central districts features for the talented stayer.

Chenille looked on track for the St Leger when winning at Matamata late last month, but the decision to run the Pentire mare at Ellerslie last Saturday was a hint she wouldn’t be making the trip to Trentham.

Despite winning the Steelmasters 2100, the final event on the Auckland Cup card, Chenille will miss the St Leger and head to Awapuni on April 2 for the Gr. 2 $100,000 Awapuni Gold Cup, a set weights and penalties 2000 metres.

“We decided against Wellington because it would have meant backing her up and with the trip down there and the 2500 metres it would probably have been the end of her campaign,” said Pike. “Instead she will go to Awapuni for the Gold Cup or maybe a rating 85 2200 on the same day. She will get in the Awapuni Gold Cup on just 52kg.

“After that she can go for the Hawke’s Bay Cup and even if she wins the Awapuni Gold Cup she should still get into that on a good weight.”

Danielle Johnson has had just the two rides on Chenille for two wins and will be given the opportunity to chase a hat trick at Awapuni.

Chenille has been most consistent this campaign with three placings then the two wins from her last five starts.

Pike is happy with the condition of his Derby winner Rangipo and has yet to decide on the next steps with the top three-year-old, who is owned by John and Margaret Thompson.

“John is coming down this week and we’ll discuss plans for him,” said Pike. “He has come through the Derby very well.”