By Garrick Knight
Tonight’s Melbourne Cup Day meeting at Cambridge marks the first stop in a long season for promising local filly Emmber.
The blueblood will go around as an even-money favourite in an $8,000 maiden, and co-trainer Matthew White expects a forward showing.
“She goes quite nice; I have got a bit of time for her,” he told HRNZ.
“She’s forward enough and is there to win, there’s no doubt about that.
“We felt it was a good race for her to start off in as we head towards the better three-year-old fillies’ races throughout the season.”
Emmber was unplaced in two runs as a juvenile but White says she has furnished in to her frame now.
“She’s quite a big filly and has really grown in to her frame nicely.”’
Emmber has two big things in her favour. One is her father, the all-conquering champion stallion Bettor’s Delight.
The other is her mum, former Filly of the Year and three-time Group 1 winner, Lauraella.
White is a pretty relaxed operator but when pushed he admits that together with training partner Mike Berger, they could have some real fun this season.
“I am quite excited by her; she gives me the feel of a pretty good horse.”
The stable has two other runners on the card – the resuming Arty Pharty and the departing Mhai Uptown Girl.
The latter has drawn one but strikes a handy field and White is underwhelmed by her chances.
“I think she’ll be a bit outclassed – maybe an outside place chance at best.
“She’s on the plane to Brisbane on Thursday and I think she’ll be better off over there.”
Arty Pharty has shown glimpses of ability in his career to date and White just hopes his work at home translates to race night finally.
“It’s not a strong field and I don’t think it’s a bad race for him.
“I’m not too worried about drawing one on the second line – it’s probably not bad for him.
“He’s been working well but is a horse that has done that in the past; he can show a bit in his training.
“He’s probably let the side down come race day before so hopefully he’s grown out of that this time.”
Elsewhere, the stable’s star, three-year-old colt Eagle Watch, is back in work after suffering a virus.
“We late scratched him from the sires stakes heat here and then pulled stumps for a couple of weeks.
“We’ve got him right and he’s on his way back.”
In something a bit different in honour of Melbourne Cup day, the Cambridge club has put on two two-miles races, one each for the pacers and trotters.
Each race carries a $10,000 stake plus a $2,500 bounty if the winners can break a track record for their gait and sex.
The trot only has four horses, but three of them – Temporale, Lemond and Massive Metro – are Group 1 winners which will make for a fascinating contest.