The South Island’s Auckland Cup contender Dee And Gee is expected to take a lot of benefit from her final dress rehearsal, the Gr. 2 Coca-Cola Avondale Cup at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Owned and trained by Timaru couple Terrill Charles and Peter Corbett, Dee And Gee has proven her staying credentials this season with a 50-to-one upset win in the Listed Metropolitan Trophy at Riccarton and a close second (at 70-to-one) in last month’s Wellington Cup.
Saturday’s 2400-metre race will give the Darci Brahma mare a valuable first look around Ellerslie. She is rated a $41 chance in the Avondale Cup and is currently at $61 for the Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup on March 9.
“She’s been doing well since that last-start run in the Wellington Cup,” Corbett told www.theinformant.co.nz this afternoon.
“She’s travelled up okay, settled in well and has galloped nicely. We’re staying at Doriemus Lodge in Matamata, which is where we stayed when we brought the other horse up (She’s Insatiable, eighth in the 2015 Auckland Cup). It has good facilities, including a water walker, and suits us pretty well.
“This is going to be a nice chance for her to have a look around Ellerslie before the main target. I’m actually there right now and having a bit of a look – it’s an unusual track, and that rise out of the straight is a bit steeper than it looks on TV. So having a race here before the Cup will be a big help.
“Everything’s going well with her at this stage and we’ll just hope for the best on Saturday. Whatever she does this weekend, we’re mainly using it to prepare for the big one on March 9.”
Dee And Gee will be ridden by central districts jockey Leah Hemi, whose only previous ride on the mare was the Wellington Cup.
“She rode a superb race at Trentham – we couldn’t have asked for better,” Corbett said. “We’re more than happy to keep her on.”
Hemi is an infrequent visitor to Ellerslie, with just two previous mounts at the Auckland track in her decade-long career.