Lord chasing Awapuni Hurdles repeat

D'Llaro (Matt Gillies) on his way to winning the K.S. Browne Hurdles.

D’Llaro (Matt Gillies) on his way to winning the K.S. Browne Hurdles.

Graeme Lord will be hoping to roll back the years at his old stamping ground this weekend.

The former top jumps jockey has the fondest memories of Palmerston North and on Saturday he will be chasing another feature win there, this time with D’Llaro.

“My first major jumping success was with Vincere in the Awapuni Hurdles and then I came out and won the Manawatu Steeplechase on Therapeutic – 30 years on it would be nice to think I could repeat the hurdles win,” said Lord.

D’Llaro will be a favoured contender following his last-start victory in the K. S. Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie.

“He’s come through that race extra well,” said Lord. “After Saturday, we’ll probably look at the Wellington Hurdles and then the last two at Ellerslie – the hurdle on Pakuranga Hunt Cup day and the Great Northern Hurdles is his main aim.”

Lord had a near perfect record in the Northern during his riding career.

“I won it on Vincere in 1987 and in 1988 and the only other ride I had in it was a third in 1980 on Young Jeff,” he said.

Lord believes a more settled D’Llaro is the ideal candidate for the September event.

“He’s grown another leg this year and he’s a lot more relaxed in his races,” he said. “He’s had two hurdle starts at Ellerslie and won them both and that was a very good field he beat the other day.”

D’Llaro is raced by Lord and the estate of his father, Ivan, along with long-time friends Kim Hughes (a Cambridge farrier) and former jumps jockey and ex-Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive officer John McGifford.

– NZ Racing Desk.