Canterbury galloper Upperhand loves to run third, but trainer Brian Court will attempt to improve on that result with a trip south to Invercargill this weekend. The five-year-old gelding has recorded third-placings in his last four starts, his last three on each of the three days of the New Zealand Cup Carnival.
With dry conditions in Canterbury at present, Court has elected to travel south with Upperhand on Saturday to contest the Invercargill Licensing Trust Handicap (1200m) at Ascot Park. “He’s pretty consistent,” Court said. “He started three times over the Cup carnival and was pretty competitive, he raced against some nice horses. “He has been freshened up after Cup week and I think he will be very competitive over the 1200m fresh-up. “At the moment Canterbury is pretty dry and we are chasing a track with a bit of give in it and he will have that on Saturday.
It will be the first time this preparation he has tackled the distance, having targeted 1400m and 1600m assignments, however he does have a strong record of two wins from four starts at the distance. Court is expecting a bold showing from his charge on Saturday, who has been installed as a $3.80 favourite by TAB bookmakers, ahead of Darci Mac at $4.20 and Johnny Jones at $4.50. “He will put in, he has drawn well, and he jumps from the gate well. He will put in a very competitive run,” Court said.
If he performs well on Saturday, Court is contemplating remaining South next week to target the Dynes Transport Tapanui Cup (2000m) at Gore. “We are just going to race him where there is a bit of give in the tracks in order to maintain his legs,” Court said. “If he goes well down here on Saturday, he will probably stay down for the Tapanui Cup, which is worth $55,000,”