Quick back-up for resilient Illuminati

Zy Nor Azman after winning on Illuminati last September. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Zy Nor Azman and Ben Foote after Illuminati’s win last September. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Ben Foote is banking on a midweek trial paving the way for a first black-type success for his tough mare Illuminati.

The Cambridge trainer produced the six-year-old to run second over a 1000 metres on her home track yesterday ahead of the Listed Classic Cuisine Rotorua Stakes on Saturday.

Foote has opted for the quick back-up at Arawa Park as Illuminati was a winner at the meeting 12 months ago after finishing runner-up at Te Rapa the week beforehand.

“Sam (Spratt) said she felt a million dollars at the trials and she’ll improve with that run,” said Foote.

“We just want to get some more black-type with her and she’s a really tough mare and if things go her way she can hopefully pull one off.”

It will be Illuminati’s first raceday appearance for part-owner Foote since she re-joined his yard after a southern campaign with Terri Rae.

“She picked up a couple of Group placings so that was good,” said Foote, who is considering sending the Keeper mare to Riccarton again.

“We could possibly send her to Terri to look at the Winter Cup. She was second in it last year so that could be a good race for her again, depending on her rating.”

Meanwhile, Foote’s leading jumper Amanood Lad is making good progress in his build-up toward a third crack at the Great Northern Steeplechase, a race he won in 2014 and finished third last year.

“I mucked it up and he got a bit too fat leading into it last time – I knew he wasn’t fit enough,” said Foote.

Amanood Lad, who had a run on the flat earlier this month, will break new ground in his Northern build-up this year with Foote keen to head south for the Wellington Steeplechase.

“I think it would suit him and that’s where I’m from so I’d love to win that race,” he said.

– NZ Racing Desk.