No Viadana for Chintz to overcome

The connections of Chintz don’t have one major obstacle to get past this week when the smart Cambridge mare tackles the Gr. 1 $200,000 Manco Easter Handicap at Ellerslie on Saturday.

“There’s no Viadana in the race this weekend so that’s a plus,” said co-trainer Tony Pike. “It’s still going to be hard to win, but she’s pulled up super from Te Aroha last Saturday and she’s in with a good chance.”

Chintz has run into Viadana in her last two starts and been left chasing the Matamata mare home. The pair clashed last month in the Gr. 2 Windsor Park Stud Japan NZ International Trophy at Tauranga with Viadana winning by a head from Chintz, then last Saturday Chintz wound up third to Viadana in the Gr. 1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes.”

“It wasn’t our intention to lead last Saturday. It’s just the way it panned out,” said Pike. “There was never going to be any speed in the race and she jumped out well and ended up in front. She’s a better chaser than a leader.

“It was a top run and it was one of the better fillies and mares fields around.

“She’s a tough mare and handles being backed up. And she loves Ellerslie and any rain would definitely improve her chances.”

Three of Chintz’s six wins have been at Ellerslie, including her two best victories – the Gr. 2 Rich Hill Mile on New Year’s Day and the Gr. 3 Westbury Classic last month.

Pike and training partner, Mark Donoghue, also entered Kelly O’Reilly for the Manco Easter Handicap, but after studying the nominations they have opted to run her in the Barfoot & Thompson 1400, a rating 85 event.

“The Easter field has come up a lot bigger and stronger than we thought,” said Pike. “She’s better-suited in the rating 85.”

Other Cambridge gallopers in the Manco Easter Handicap are Zonza, Neo and Rollout The Carpet, all form horses with strong chances of getting some of the prizemoney.