By Michael Guerin
Trainer Brent Mangos couldn’t have been happier with how South Coast Arden’s spring campaign has started until he saw the weather report for Canterbury this week.
The Pukekohe trainer is still in the South Island after his stable star caught the eye storming home into fifth in the Canterbury Classic at Addington last Friday in the first start of his new campaign.
Going into the race on the back hoof fitness-wise and with his coat still to have fully turn, South Coast Arden pleased Mangos with everything he did.
“It was a race we couldn’t win at the half way stage with the tempo up front and being his first run back he wasn’t ready for me to take off on him,” says Mangos.
“So to see him close it out so well was great and it has already brought him on a lot.”
South Coast Arden is entered for the Methven Cup on Sunday and that is where the Canterbury weather forecast starts to worry Mangos.
“It is supposed to snow down here. Snow!” says Mangos in near shock.
“I didn’t come down here expecting that and Lee Pilcher was at the barn this morning and told me it hasn’t snowed in this part of Canterbury in October since something like 1969.
“I don’t know if that will happen but I am not looking forward to that. We aren’t used to that sort of cold up home.”
What is of more concern would be if the snow was heavy and then melted at the Mt Harding track, raising the possibility of a damp surface on Sunday.
With an improved forecast for later in the week in the Methven area that looks unlikely but Mangos admits a wet grass track would be less than ideal a month out from the IRT New Zealand Cup.
“I am not saying I know what will happen with the weather but if, and it is only an if, the track came up wet on Sunday we wouldn’t want to start so that is my only concern.
“But if it is a good grass surface like we are hoping for then I think it will suit him because while he has never raced on the grass he is one of those horses who keeps going and I think the big grass track will suit.”
If the weather calms down later in the week the Methven Cup looks a pivotal New Zealand Cup marker, with Self Assured, Spankem, Alta Wiseguy and Kango set to join South Coast Arden.
Defending Cup champion Copy That is likely to start in the Victoria Cup at Melton on Saturday night should be be totally recovered from a minor bleed last weekend while Rock N Roll Doo is also in the Vic Cup making this weekend one of the most crucial on the road to the great race.