Stewart after more than crumbs

Cambridge owner-trainer Peter Stewart is hoping to break through on a couple of counts with his versatile performer El Marino at Te Rapa on Saturday.

El Marino appeals as a strong chance in one of the day’s features, the $40,000 Dunstan Feeds Waikato Hurdles, after a close second in the lead-up, the Minibus Express Hurdles on the same track on May 4.

“He’s been a good old horse for me and it would be nice to get a good race with him,” said Stewart. “He’s been picking up the crumbs. It would be great to win at Te Rapa, too. I’ve won races on most tracks around the north, but not Te Rapa. Hopefully that will change on Saturday.”

El Marino has virtually become a stalwart in the Cambridge area since winning his debut as a three-year-old when trained by Chris McNab. That win was recorded at Rotorua and the horse was ridden by McNab’s son, Michael.

El Marino later spent time in the Taranaki stable of Robbie Patterson and won a couple more sprints before returning to Cambridge to be prepared by Paul Duncan, for whom he also won a sprint.

Stewart then entered the picture when taking over possession of El Marino as a potential jumper and he has had a lot of excitement with the 10-year-old son of Yachtie, winning seven races, including three over fences. El Marino’s most recent win was last September at Te Aroha when ridden by Isaac Lupton.

Aaron Kuru, a former Black Sox softballer, has been aboard El Marino in his last two starts and Stewart has entrusted him with the ride again on Saturday despite the fact he can’t take advantage of the young rider’s 3kg claim.

Kuru started out as an amateur rider and picked up a win before turning professional. He has now added four more wins to his tally, including one over fences.

He was in good form at Paeroa last Monday when winning on Prospero for Matamata trainer Jason Bridgman and finishing second on stablemate Secret Whisper as well as the Graeme Lord-trained D’Llaro.