Jiayuguan back to favourite distance

Jiayuguan, who looks a big chance in Saturday's Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup.

Jiayuguan, who looks a big chance in Saturday’s Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup.

Kiwi punters are likely to take more notice of the former Australian galloper Jiayuguan this week.

The much-travelled mare was at 45-1 and the outsider of the field when she finished third in the Gr.3 Counties Cup last start in just her second run in New Zealand. However, she will be at much shorter odds when she steps up to her favourite distance in the Gr.3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The six-year-old has won three of her seven starts at 2400 metres and has only once been further back than fourth at the distance.

Jiayuguan, a Teofilo mare, is raced by the China Horse Club and began her race career in France, where she was stakes-placed.

“She has thrived since she’s been here,” said trainer Tony Pike. “We are still learning about her, but we are happy with her condition and she’s working well.

“It looks as if she was a bit hit or miss in Australia and this will be her first run left-handed for a while. She would also appreciate any give in the ground, but should be a top three chance.”

Jiayuguan, who is a probable Gr.3 Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup contender, will also have a change of rider this weekend with Mark Du Plessis replacing apprentice Ryan Elliot.

Pike, who won the 2013 Waikato Cup with More Than Sacred, has a strong hand in 2016 edition as he also prepares Chenille, the likely favourite.

She was a last start fifth in the Gr.3 Counties Cup at Pukekohe where she was unsuited by the rain-affected track.

“She copes with a dead track but it drizzled all day and was probably closer to a slow 8 by the time the cup was run,” said Pike.

– NZ Racing Desk.