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Loire chasing Lowland win

Loire winning the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). Photo: Race Images South
Loire winning the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). Photo: Race Images South

Trelawney Stud's Group One-wining filly Loire set to contest the Gr.2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday.

Trainer Tony Pike is pleased with Loire, who is on-track for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on March 14 and believes the daughter of Redoute’s Choice will come on from her last start third in the Gr.2 Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa, when well held by key rival Jennifer Eccles.

“She’ll improve a lot off her Te Rapa run,” Pike said. “She got caught back and had to come wide in a slowly run race but I had been very soft on her after Wellington (when second in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes). 

“Just bearing in mind what we hopefully have coming up, I may have left her a bit short as well at Te Rapa. She’s worked really well since and has definitely improved off that run.

“She’ll get a good trip from gate three this week and I don’t think we’ll have to get as far back from the draw as she has been in past starts and two of the other favoured runners have drawn a touch wide, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see her turn the tables on Wednesday, but obviously it’s not the grand final with the Oaks two and half weeks later.”

A trip to Sydney awaits Loire, should she perform to expectations at her next two starts, while she is also in contention for the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series in which she is currently second behind Jennifer Eccles.

Pike is also sceptical about the form from the Te Rapa meeting, believing the margins flattered some of the winners, with Loire 6.3 lengths behind Jennifer Eccles in the slowly run race.

“I think you’ll find that a lot of the horses that raced in those three-year-old races will finish a lot closer next start,” he said. -NZ Racing Desk