Chenille firms in Auckland Cup market

Chenille (Leith Innes) producing a fine trial yesterday for next weekend's Auckland Cup.

Chenille (Leith Innes) producing a fine trial yesterday for next weekend’s Auckland Cup.

Cambridge mare Chenille climbed in punters’ ratings for the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup next Saturday when producing a fine dress rehearsal at Ellerslie yesterday.

The Pentire five-year-old topped off her race preparation for the 3200-metre feature when taking the Buffalo & Co Nathans Memorial in convincing fashion in the hands of Leith Innes.

She was the early favourite for the Auckland Cup and her performance confirmed the belief she will be the horse to beat next weekend.

After winning over 2200 metres at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night, she was seventh in the Avondale Cup, just under seven lengths from the winner, El Soldado, but had her excuses that day.

“I was very happy with her run in the Avondale Cup,” said trainer Tony Pike. “Obviously the condition (slow) was going to be against her, but we didn’t have a lot of options. She probably had to run.

“She covered a lot of extra ground and came wide on the track and not much was making up ground there. She got home okay for seventh.”

This time Innes gave Chenille a far more economical run, settling her midfield on the inner and getting her off the fence across the top.

Chenille swept up to fourth at the 300 and hit the front inside the 200 and held on easily to score by a length and a half from the solid-finishing Zacada with King Kamada just shading the pacemaker Woodsman.

“It was a very dominant win,” said Pike’s mother, Vicki, who co-bred and shares in racing the talented stayer.

“We were happy with her all week. She had gone from strength to strength and going forward to the Auckland Cup we couldn’t be more delighted.”