Michael Pitman may be laid up in hospital, but it hasn’t stopped him making plans for his stable star Savvy Coup.
The Riccarton trainer fulfilled a dream when he got to Moonee Valley to watch Savvy Coup contest the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) on November 27, even though the Group One winner tailed home the seven finishers behind champion Winx.
He was planning to be in Melbourne again for Savvy Coup’s Australian finale in the Gr.2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday, but was instead back in Christchurch Hospital after complications arose from his bowel operation last month.
Pitman, who trains in partnership with his son Matthew, watched the televised coverage of the Matriarch Stakes, in which Savvy Coup settled back and beat only two home.
“She didn’t fire at all,” he said. “She pulled up good and she’s coming home on Thursday.
“She will have 10 days to a fortnight out spelling then we’ll get her back and set her for the Thorndon Mile at Trentham. She can then go to Auckland for some of those good races later on.”
The Pitman stable did pick up one win (with Smiling Assassin) and a few placings on the first day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival at Riccarton last weekend and will be out in force on the second day on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a good team in on Wednesday and some good chances,” Pitman said.
The Pitman stable will be represented in each of the three black-type races with Son of Maher attempting to record successive Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) wins after deadheating for first with Shadows Cast (a rival again) last year.
He won the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile Prelude (1400m) at Riccarton two starts ago, but faces a huge task against the hot favourite Te Akau Shark.
“Unfortunately he’s drawn awkwardly (11). He’s better drawn in,” Pitman said.
Enzo’s Lad heads the Pitman attack on the Gr.3 Lindauer Stewards Stakes (1200m) and, though he is also drawn out (12), the stable likes his prospects.
“He’s much-improved, way better than when he won the Telegraph last year,” Pitman said.
“I was rapt in his first-up run. I’d have been happy if he had run fifth, but he got up for third.”
Pitman is particularly excited about the chances of Montoya Star in the Gr.3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m).
Montoya Star finished second to Heni in the feature last year and since then she has won three races, including the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, and finished a close fourth in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie.
She was spelled after finishing eighth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha last April.
“She is coming up really well, her work has been great,” Pitman said. “The only worry is she hasn’t had a trial and hasn’t raced for a while.”
Stablemate Morse Code will be a rival for Montoya Star in the Breeders’ Stakes after winning fresh-up over 1000m at Riccarton in September then finishing fourth of five in the Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) last Saturday.
“We’re doing the same with her that we did with First Serve,” Pitman said.
“First Serve ran in the Pegasus then backed up and won the fillies and mares (Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders Stakes).”