Five-year-old mare Alta Leonie has come to mean a lot to Cambridge trainer Kyle Marshall.
The daughter of Big Jim provided the Waikato horseman with his first training win in September and she has now given him his first Cups win after taking out the Otaki Cup (3000m) on Sunday.
Alta Leonie finished runner-up in the Wellington Trotting Cup (2200m) on Friday and was able to go one better in the staying feature at the Horowhenua course, capping off a great weekend for her connections.
Marshall was delighted with the win and said he was pleased for the owners who had made the journey down to Otaki.
“We were rapt with the win, the horse means a lot to us. A couple of the owners made the trip down and it’s been a good weekend,” he said.
“She pulled up well from the first day and got the better result today.”
Marshall said he was pleased with Alta Leonie’s runner-up performance in the Wellington Trotting Cup and so were punters, who sent her out as a $2.70 favourite on Sunday.
“We were rapt with her run on the first day and she probably improved off the run a wee bit. Scott Phelan said she was waiting for them for a bit and just got beaten for speed the first day,” he said.
“It’s a shame Scott couldn’t drive her again, but he fell ill, so we got Todd Mitchell on and he did a great job.
“It was a good tough effort, any 3000m race is hard for them, especially backing up from Friday. It was a good gutsy win and Todd said she was doing it easy on the line.”
After this weekend’s success, Marshall is now eyeing more grass track spoils with his mare, with a likely trip to Taranaki later this month on the cards.
“We’ll chase the grass cups and we’ll just see how she pulls up,” Marshall said. “We will probably look at heading to New Plymouth.”
Marshall is in his first season of training and has recorded a great strike-rate, posting seven wins from just 33 starts.
“I couldn’t be happier with how it’s going,” he said. “We struck a hard patch, with a virus going through the stable, but we have bounced back and we’re going well again.” – Cambridge Raceway