Concert Hall’s standing will force her to concede significant amounts of weight to her opposition in Saturday’s Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m), but connections believe it is the best means to an end for their quality mare.
With a rating of 105, the seven-year-old is head and shoulders above her Ellerslie rivals in the Wallen Concreting-sponsored feature. She will shoulder 59kg and give away 5kg to those closest to her in the handicap and 7kg to the rest of the field.
“She has got a bit of weight and that’s not ideal, but we felt it’s a better race for her than the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) as we want to give her a chance at the Auckland Cup (Gr.2, 3200m),” said Robert Wellwood, who trains in partnership with Roger James.
“Going a mile and a-half this weekend suits better, if she had gone to the Herbie Dyke we would probably have had to run her again before the Auckland Cup.
“That’s our main target and at set weights and penalties that really should be a great race for her.”
Successful in last season’s Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m), Concert Hall has been in good touch this preparation with victories in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) and the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m).
Wellwood said little notice should be taken of her last-start failure in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m).
“She was dropping back from a mile and a-half to a mile and she had a torrid run from a wide barrier and it was certainly a forgive run. We will head to Saturday with a bit of confidence,” he said. -NZ Racing Desk