Auckland Cup focus on Arcenciel

Yves Seguin’s original two-pronged attack on next month’s Auckland Cup has been halved with the focus now solely on Arcenciel.

The Cambridge trainer had also entered Petergabriel for the 3200-metre feature, but a recurrence of a leg problem has resulted in the capable stayer being retired.

“He had a leg issue and it came back,” said Seguin. “We don’t want to take any risks with him so we’ve retired him. He’s been a good horse to us.”

Petergabriel was raced by Seguin’s wife, Barbara, and gained the first two of his four wins when taken to Australia. He won his maiden at Caloundra in Queensland, then scored at Ballarat in Victoria a couple of months later. His other wins were in the Whakatane Cup at Te Teko and at Ellerslie.

However, Petergabriel’s retirement doesn’t mean he will be overlooked in the buildup to the March 6 feature.
“He’s Arcenciel’s best mare so he’ll be staying around the stable to keep her happy for the Auckland Cup,” said Seguin. “He’s a quiet horse and no trouble.”

Arcenciel has been freshened since finishing eighth in the Group II Lindauer City Of Auckland Cup on New Year’s Day and will round off her Auckland Cup buildup in the Group II Cardinal Logistics Avondale Cup at Ellerslie on Sunday.

“It was always the plan to give her a spell after the City Of Auckland,” said Seguin. “She had two weeks off and did beautifully. She worked well last Saturday and is keen when she works so she does plenty.”

Arcenciel has been ridden in her last three starts by Mark Du Plessis for placings in the Group II DHL Counties Cup (second) and Group II Waikato Times Gold Cup (third), but Michael Coleman will be back in the saddle on Sunday. Coleman had ridden her earlier and has been aboard in two of her five wins.

Arcenciel’s performances in both the Counties and Waikato Cups proved she was a worthy Auckland Cup entrant and she had no luck in the City Of Auckland Cup.

“She got into a lot of trouble in the City Of Auckland,” said Seguin. “She was in trouble three times and was the only horse running on from behind at the finish.”

Seguin has no doubts that Arcenciel will stay the Auckland Cup distance. “I’d just like to see a little bit of rain,” he said. “She’s run good races on top of the ground, but she prefers it will the sting out.”