Unlucky run costs Katie’s Cove Queensland trip

A desperately unlucky at Hawkesbury last Saturday has cost exciting Cambridge filly a trip to Queensland.

Trainer Roger James was hoping Katie’s Cove, an impressive winner of two lead-up races in New Zealand, could win the Gr.3 A$150,000 Blacktown Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m), but after being blocked for a run in the home straight she had to settle for second to Chautauqua, ridden by James McDonald.

Katie’s Cove was beaten a length and a half and there is little doubt she would have won had rider Jason Collett stuck to the fence. Switching off the rails enabled McDonald to dive through on the winner while Collett had to drag his mount sideways back to the inside to get a gap.

Katie’s Cove picked up A$30,000 for her second placing, but even combined with her New Zealand prizemoney her stake earnings of A$43,209 fall short of the required amount needed to get a start in the Gr. 2 A$350,000 Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 31.

“I was hoping she could win the Hawkesbury Guineas and she should have won it,” said James. “That would have been enough to get in the Queensland Guineas.

“She is owned in Queensland and it would have been good to take her up there, but going on last year a horse needs $70,000 to get a run in it.

“Instead of going on to Brisbane she can stay in Sydney and have one more run there before coming home for a spell. She’s going to be a lovely mare next season.”

Back in New Zealand, James will be attempting to win the Gr. 3 $70,000 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup at Rotorua on Saturday. His stable will be represented by Zonza, to be ridden by Leith Innes, and The Tidy Express, the mount of Danielle Johnson.

“They’re both good chances but I’d like to see some drying of the track,” said James.

Zonza has been unplaced in her last two starts, though she hasn’t been far off the winner each time. She was 13th, three and a quarter lengths behind Albany Reunion in the Gr. 1 Manco Easter Handicap on April 12 then 10th, four lengths behind Lauren Tate in the Gr. 2 Travis Stakes at Te Rapa on April 26.

“I was a bit disappointed in her Te Rapa run but in hindsight she had been racing over 1400 and 1600 and may have lost that bit of zip,” he said. “She’s better than that.”

The Tidy Express goes into Saturday’s race with a last-start second behind Intransigent in the Gr. 3 Windsor Park Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup when beaten three-quarters of a length.

“It wasn’t one of Vinnie’s (Colgan) better rides,” said James. “She tried hard and comes in on the minimum on Saturday.”