Prairie Star on Cups trail

Prairie Star missed out on one Cup engagement last season, but she is on track to make up for it at Pukekohe on Saturday.

The Cambridge mare rates as a leading lightweight prospect in the Group II $100,000 DHL Counties Cup after a last-start win at Te Rapa and trainer Anne Herbert (pictured) is looking towards a big effort from the daughter of High Chaparral.

“She has been set for this race and everything has gone smoothly,” said Herbert. “I couldn’t be happier with her.”

Last season Prairie Star missed out on a few engagements because of her rating preventing her getting in the fields, in particular the Wellington Cup. “She ended up being balloted out of the Wellington Cup so instead she ran in a lesser race and things didn’t go to plan. It’s been hard to choose where she will run because we weren’t sure she’d get a start, but luckily she’s got in on Saturday.”

If Prairie Star does perform well in the Counties Cup she will continue along the Cups trail with a start in the Waikato Times Gold Cup at Te Rapa next month. And after that there is the City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie to consider as well as the Wellington Cup.

Prairie Star has won five times for her owners, the Scott family, of Feilding, and Sally Baertschiger, wife of leading Singapore trainer Don Baertschiger.

When ridden patiently Prairie Star has a huge finish as she has shown on several occasions and with the in-form Craig Grylls in the saddle she could take a power of beating this weekend.

Since winning at Te Rapa she has trialled at Cambridge, running on strongly for third over 1200 metres behind Singapore Sling. “It was going to be quite a long time between races so the trial worked out well,” said Herbert.

Herbert will also be represented on Saturday by Gendarme, who has benefited from his first-up run and will give a ton of cheek in the NZ Bloodstock Insurance 1400, though a wide draw is a concern. Last Picasso, a last-start winner, is another from the stable running at Pukekohe.