Who will be King on Cambridge’s Premier day?


You may see this look from Michael Coleman and John Morell before the Travis Stakes, but they could be laughing afterwards. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn)

You may see this look from Michael Coleman and John Morell before the Travis Stakes, but they could be laughing afterwards. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn)

If you fancy a flutter on the Jockeys Challenge at the Cambridge Jockey Club’s meeting tomorrow it would pay to consider “The King” Michael Coleman.

Coleman won last year’s Gr. 2 Travis Stakes on Lauren Tate and he believes she is ready to recapture that form in the $100,000 feature at Te Rapa for Taupiri owner-trainer John Morell.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to her carry on her win from last year,” said Coleman. “She’s got the class and she deserves it. I think she’s capable of winning a Group One with a bit of sting out of the ground.”

Lauren Tate has been off the winner’s list since beating Otaki visitor Gwynethanne in last year’s Travis Stakes, but she has been placed in seven of her 11 subsequent starts and has been unlucky on occasions.

Two starts ago she was held up and late clear when third in the Gr. 2 Windsor Park Stud Japan – NZ International Trophy, then she copped a rocky run when seventh in the Gr. 1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha.

“She had no luck at Te Aroha and got too far back,” said Coleman. “She has botched the start lately but has drawn better this time and that will help her. She’ll like stepping up to the 2000, too.”

Coleman has won the fillies and mares feature twice, the first time with the great mare Tidal Light in 1986. He was third in 2006 on Lauren Tate’s dam, Haylee Baylee and also filled that same placing two years ago on Quintessential.

Coleman also has a good chance in the other Te Rapa feature, the Gr. 3 $70,000 Inglis Sales Cambridge Breeders Stakes, with the lightly tried Perfect Fit.

Perfect Fit won impressively on debut at Taupo and has been placed in her other two starts, including a second at Awapuni behind Shees Flawless, the likely favourite in today’s event.

“She’s very talented and she’s finally got a good draw,” said Coleman. “It’s a really good field, but she’s good enough to get black-type and maybe it will be this time.”

Coleman will also ride in-form stablemates Irish Moon (Aon Presland Tocker Premier) and Makarska (Harness Racing Waikato Premier) for Perfect Fit’s trainers, Bev and Ken Kelso.

Irish Moon completed a hat trick of wins under 59kg at Te Aroha and has won half his 12 starts, while Makarska recorded her fourth win at Matamata before finishing second to Irish Heartbeat on a heavy track at Tauranga.

“Irish Moon is drawn out a bit at nine and it’s his first time in open class, but he’s only got 53kg (the minimum),” said Coleman. “He’ll be trying hard.

“Makarska is consistent and has got the inside draw. She is a chance, too.”

Coleman will ride Quintastics (Mitavite Premier 2400) and My Secret (Maneline Cambridge Premier 1200) for Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and two-year-old debutante Aramelle for Karaka trainer Barry Smith in the Cambridge Equine Hospital Premier.

“Quintastics was a bit unsuited by the wet track last time and she should get the 2400 metres,” said Coleman. “My Secret is stepping up in class after winning at Rotorua and Te Teko and there’s a lot of natural improvement in her.”

Aramelle, an Encosta de Lago filly, pleased Leith Innes when he rode her in two trials for thirds at Ruakaka and Avondale.

Coleman has the form mounts tomorrow to live up to “The King” title, though he knows it doesn’t pay to get confident. “Sometimes you think you’ve got a good book and nothing works out,” he said. “Hopefully this won’t be one of those days.”