By Jonny Turner
Eastern Southland pacer Sagwitch will return to his happy place to contest Sunday’s Tuapeka Cup.
The Syd Breen-trained 6yr-old returns to racing in the 2700m feature at Forbury Park after a mild ailment ended any chance of him heading towards the New Zealand Cup.
Sagwitch was among several southerners rushed off their feet in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on September 22 when Spankem ran a blistering 53.3sec last 800m to win.
Sagwitch picked up a minor bug in the days after the Hannon and has not raced since.
“He just got a bit crook after he went to the Hannon,” Breen said.
“I was quite happy with him in the Hannon after he missed away and lost a bit of ground. But afterwards, he went a bit off-colour, so we eased up on him and gave a freshen-up.
“He is brightening up now and I am quite happy with him.”
Sagwitch will attempt to resurrect his season and endorse his claim as a country cups specialist on Sunday.
The Lis Mara pacer will attempt to add the Tuapeka Cup to his Winton Businesses Cup, Wyndham Cup and Northern Southland Summer Cup titles from last season.
And he will do it at a track where he often races well. Sagwitch has won three times and placed once in eight starts at Forbury Park.
He has not been to trials or workouts since his Hannon run
but Breen is confident his horse can go a good race.
“He can get a bit fired up at the workouts and I have been trying to stick to stands [standing starts] with him.
“It is not an overly strong field, so I am hoping he can step away and make one run at them.
“If he steps, they will know he is there.”
Robyns Playboy looks the horse to beat in the feature following his strong effort in last weekend’s Riverton Cup.
The Ross and Chris Wilson-trained 4yr-old fought on for third after working around the field in a quickly run race won by Paddyproudfoot.
Robyns Playboy and Sagwitch share the 20m back mark, 10m behind Cast No Shadow.
Cast No Shadow resumed with a dominant win after free-falling down in grade in his first run for the season at Methven.
The race should hold no fears for the Paul Court-trained pacer who spent the tail end of last season racing the country’s best 3yr-olds.
Bettathanfast and Swamp Major look two of the best chances off the front mark in the Tuapeka Cup.
Trainer Cran Dalgety will be aim for back-to-back cups after producing the ill-fated Pat’s Delight for a sensational win in the race last year.
He and training partner Nathan Purdon start Bettathanfast, who must improve on his manners after botching the beginning of his last start at Addington.
The injury plagued but talented Swamp Major gets a prime opportunity to turn around his form.
Westwood Beach pacer Spirit Of St Louis will attempt a repeat of his impressive last-start win at Forbury Park nine days ago.
The 3yr-old bolted in, beating Tuapeka Cup contender Triroyale Brigade, in what was his first start for over six weeks.
Spirit Of St Louis should strip fitter for that run and should be very hard to beat.