Two-pronged Rotorua Cup attack

Meeska Mooska (Anna Jones) bursting into Rotorua Cup contention at Te Rapa yesterday.

Meeska Mooska (Anna Jones) bursting into Rotorua Cup contention at Te Rapa yesterday.

A bold front-running performance yesterday has sealed a tilt at next Saturday’s Gr. 3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup for impressive Te Rapa winner Meeska Mooska.

The El Hermano five-year-old is expected to be joined by stablemate Mangaroa Flo Jo to provide Cambridge-based training partners Graham Thomas and Nick Smith with a two-pronged attack on the late autumn feature.

Meeska Mooska took seven starts to clear maiden ranks, but Thomas has always had faith that his charge would make the grade once he fully matured.

“We’ve liked him right from the start and although on paper his record didn’t look that good early on we did throw him in the deep end a bit,” explained Thomas.

“He mostly ran in Saturday grade maidens early on and it wasn’t until we dropped him back to midweek that he found his first win.

“He is a type that was going to get better as he got older so I had high hopes he could show that this time in. He hasn’t disappointed with three wins and a couple of placings from his last six runs.”

Though Meeska Mooska was taking a step up to the rating 85 grade against some well performed rivals yesterday, Thomas was very confident of a winning run.

“He had done very well since his win at Tauranga and I fully expected him to do it again,” he said.

“The real worry was the lack of speed in the race. Anna (Jones) was keen to lead with him and, while I’m not usually a fan of that, he relaxed beautifully and had them all covered a long way out.”

Thomas will now turn his sights to the Rotorua Cup.

“I think they both will be good chances as this bloke is at the top of his game while the mare (Mangaroa Flo Jo) is peaking nicely as well,” he said.

“Her last run in the Travis Stakes was a beauty as she made up a ton of ground in the straight against a top-class field.”

Thomas had originally planned to have three runners in the Rotorua contest but handy winter stayer Ethical jarred up after her recent Avondale run on a unseasonably firm track and will be kept for future events once the tracks soften.

NZ Racing Desk