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Sangster tightens grip on Auckland Cup

February 20, 2013

Sangster tightened his grip on the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup with a totally dominant win in the Cardinal Logistics Avondale Gold Cup at Ellerslie today.

Just eight days after a long awaited return to form in the weight-for-age Darci Braham International Stakes, the 2011VRCDerby winner rammed home the message that he was back to his best by carrying topweight of 59 kilograms to a two-length win in the 2400-metre handicap.

With all of half the distance remaining, the Savabeel gelding was being hailed the winner as he travelled strongly midfield and it was just a matter of Opie Bosson angling him into the clear at the top of the straight.

Sangster responded with an impressive turn of foot to stride clear of his rivals, hitting the line with a flattering two-length margin over a resolute Savanah Rush, a half-length to late finisher Chaparrone and lightweight Princess Kyoto heading the remainder.

Myscotsgrey weakened late to cross the line ninth, while Blood Brotha beat only a handful after settling in the rear.

TAB odds-setters reacted by slicing Sangster further at the top of the Auckland Cup market from $3 to $2.20. Other shorteners are Savanah Rush ($31 into $12), Chaparrone ($8/$6) and Princess Kyoto ($81/$41).

Blood Brotha has drifted markedly from $8 to $21, and Mysctosgrey from $7 to $12.

Even with the demanding regime of two tough assignments in consecutive weeks behind him, Sangster may yet have one further start before the Auckland Cup on March 6. 

“He’s the sort of horse you have to throw a lot at and after seeing the way he got on the bit early on today he might need another run,” explained co-trainer Trent Busuttin.

The obvious race to top off Sangster’s Cup preparation is the 2200-metre Nathans Memorial on the first day of the Auckland carnival. Like today’s race it carries a penalty-free clause, meaning Sangster’s Cup handicap of 54.5 kilograms will not alter.

That will set Bosson something of a challenge, having failed to make 55.5kg at New Plymouth yesterday, but judging by his post-race comments, it’s a challenge he’s prepared to meet.

“He was cruising from the 1000 and I just knew he would win,” Bosson said. 

photo and story: The Informant