NZ Cup hopes kept alive

Opie Bosson couldn’t get home on his first two rides for Murray Baker at Rotorua yesterday, but there was some significance when he came up trumps in the last race for the Cambridge trainer.

Bosson only took three “heavyweight” rides at Rotorua and finished second on the Baker-trained Snave and Mr Tipsy before guiding the stablemate Fast Love to victory in the final event, the Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant 2200.

Mr Tipsy, who went down to Waipukurau visitor Intransigent, had originally been entered for the Group II Christchurch Casino NZ Cup at Riccarton on November 12, but Baker recently opted to withdraw the Group One performer.

However, Baker still has Fast Love in the Riccarton 3200-metre feature and the Fastnet Rock four-year-old emerged as a serious chance when winning over 2200 metres yesterday. Though the opposition wasn’t Cup class she won by two and a half lengths and impressed Bosson.

Fast Love has now won three times from 10 starts and also been placed on five occasions. Her second win had been a stakes triumph when taking the Listed NZ Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton last April.

She faced her biggest test of stamina when winning yesterday, but Baker has no qualms about her getting 3200. “She stays like the mother-in-law,” quipped Baker after the race. “She’s getting better all the time.”