Chenille ready for Counties Cup

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) recapturing her best form when beating Battle Time at Ellerslie..

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) beating Battle Time at Ellerslie to seal her tilt at tomorrow’s Counties Cup.

A sense of timing around Chenille has her connections confident she can go close to doubling her stakes tally at Pukekohe tomorrow.

Last season’s Listed Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup winner will strip in top order for the Gr.3 Ssangyong Counties Cup following a last-start success over 1600 metres at Ellerslie.

“She needed her first two runs and in a smart Rating 85 field over a mile I thought they may have been a touch sharp for her, but she won well,” said trainer Tony Pike.

Runner-up Battle Time has since franked the form by winning the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton.

“I’m happy with her going up to 2100 metres, she’s in well enough at the weights and with a good draw I’m sure she’s going to run well,” said Pike.

Chenille holds nominations for a number of upcoming staying features with her ultimate goal the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup. It is also the path stablemate and race rival Jiayuguan will follow.

“We’ve only had her a couple of months so we’re still feeling our way a bit,” said Pike. “She is a genuine stayer who probably needs one more run.”

The Irish-bred mare’s three Australian wins from John Thompson’s stable were all over 2400 metres.

“She is a bit hit or miss, but on her best day she can be very competitive in a nice race here,” said Pike.

Pike will also be much the wiser with Snowdrop after she resumes in the Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl.

“It’s a hot field by New Zealand standards so we will see where she fits in,” he said.

“It’s her first time in open company against stakes winners, but her trial was really good and she’s a pretty handy mare.”

– NZ Racing Desk.