(By John Jenkins)

A change of plans will see last Saturday’s impressive Riccarton winner Atlanta Peach now line up in the Group 3 $100,000 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup on the same track next Saturday.

Hastings-based Guy Lowry, who trains the Bullbars mare in partnership with Grant Cullen, had indicated she would return home and be aimed at the Group 2 $100,000 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on April 27.

“We’ve had think about that since the weekend and this Saturday’s race at Riccarton might suit better,” Lowry said today.

“She’s down there so it means she won’t have to travel any distance for her next start and if she can pick up some black type it will add to her future value as a broodmare.”

Atlanta Peach demolished a Rating 72 field over 1800m at Riccarton last Saturday, cruising up to the leaders on the home turn before racing away in the final stages to win by 5 lengths, and was being eased down at the finish by jockey Terry Moseley.

The Bullbars mare relished the heavy track conditions and Lowry said she would need another wet track this Saturday to be competitive under the weight-for-age conditions of the Canterbury Gold Cup.

“The forecast is for some more rain down there later in the week and that will definitely help her,” he added.

Atlanta Peach is one of two horses the Lowry/Cullen stable sent south for the Canterbury autumn meeting,  the other being Mohaka who recorded a creditable seventh in Saturday’s Listed Airfreight Stakes (1600m).

Mohaka’s main assignment is next Saturday’s Listed $50,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) and Lowry said blinkers will be added to her gear for that race.

Experienced South Island jockey Jason Laking has been booked to ride both horses next Saturday.

Atlanta Peach was recording her third win and has never finished further back than fifth in seven starts for her Cambridge owner Tony Rider, a loyal client of the Lowry/Cullen stable. Her three victories have all been on heavy or slow tracks.