Repeat win on the cards for Illuminati

Illuminati (Viktoria Gatu) charging past fourth-placed Goldminer and on to victory in the ITM/Gib Open 1400 at Ruakaka last year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Illuminati (Viktoria Gatu) charging past fourth-placed Goldminer and on to victory in the ITM/Gib Open 1400 at Ruakaka last year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Ben Foote is hoping history can repeat at Ruakaka on Saturday.

The Cambridge trainer produced Illuminati to win the ITM/GIB Open (1400m) at Ruakaka at the corresponding meeting last year in the hands of apprentice Viktoria Gatu.

This season’s Listed Rotorua Stakes winner then went on to beat all but Timy Tyler in the Gr. 3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton at her next start.

Illuminati has failed in two runs since her Rotorua win, but Foote is counting on a return to Ruakaka, where she has had four starts for two wins and two placings, and better track conditions to spark a return to winning form.

“She’s not really a real wet tracker and she won this race at Ruakaka last year,” said Foote.

“There won’t be any excuses on Saturday. Her form at Ruakaka is pretty good and she’s going well.

“She had a couple of runalongs on the grass which was pretty heavy and she didn’t really like it. She’s getting a bit older and getting a bit set in her ways.

“But we’ve run her along on better tracks and she’s gone well so we’ve just had to pick and choose her fast work. She galloped on the sand this morning which wasn’t too bad and she worked well.”

A winner of nine of her 36 starts, Illuminati was entered for two vastly different upcoming events – another tilt at the Gr. 3 eStar 119th Winter Cup on August 6 and Sunday week’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka, though part-owner Foote confirmed she had since been withdrawn from the sale.

However, the Winter Cup remains firmly on the agenda, so long as she runs well this weekend.

“The track would have to be slow or better down there but they have had a pretty dry winter,” said Foote.

“At this stage it’s all go. She has to go well on Saturday but if she does she’ll fly down there if the forecast looks ok. We’ve got our fingers crossed.”

Foote is also expecting an improved run from So It Goes in the Harcourts High Tea 1400 at Ruakaka.

“He’s been working well and he won his first start at Ruakaka,” said Foote. “We’ve been schooling him too so hopefully he runs better. There’ll be no excuses with him either.”

– NZ Racing Desk