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Mare at concert pitch for Avondale Cup

Concert Hall will contest the Gr.2 Joe McDonald Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. Photo: Trish Dunell
Concert Hall will contest the Gr.2 Joe McDonald Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. Photo: Trish Dunell

Things may not have gone Concert Hall’s way in the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie last start, but her connections are hopeful she can bring home another cup from the Auckland track on Saturday.

The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained five-year-old will contest the Gr.2 Joe McDonald Avondale Cup (2400m) and her connections are putting her last start fourth-placing behind them.

“It really just didn’t suit her at all (after the false start),” Wellwood said of the Joan Egan bred and owned mare. “Ryan (Elliot, jockey) said the first time going past the post he had a whole heap of horse under him and the second time they jumped out she wasn’t the same horse.

“She still stuck on well and ran very genuinely, so we weren’t disappointed, but the way the race unfolded really didn’t work for her.

“We will just put that behind us. She has had a good time between runs now. We have just got to look forward and not back.”

The daughter of Savabeel, who was born and raised at Trelawney, has pleased her trainers since then, finishing runner-up to Group One performer Supera in a 1200m trial at Tauranga last week.

“I thought her trial was very good, she only got out late and hit the line very strongly behind a very smart horse in Supera,” Wellwood said. “We were very happy with it and she has come through the trial well.

“She worked this (Wednesday) morning and worked very nice, so I couldn’t be happier with her.”

While pleased with the mare, Wellwood said his only concern is the 58.5kg she will have to carry this weekend.

“She is going to have to carry a fair bit of weight now, she is only one point off the top, so she won’t be getting any weight off the topweights.

“We are very happy with the way she is going and she is rated that way for a reason.

“She is a very genuine racehorse and just wants to be there. She really thrives on work and loves being a racehorse.”

All going well after Saturday, Concert Hall could be set for a Group One tilt in a few weeks’ time.

“If she runs out the race strongly we may look to head to the Auckland Cup (Gr.1, 3200m), providing she comes through the run well,” he said. -NZ Racing Desk