SELF ASSURED is seeking to become the first horse in the 140 year history of the Auckland Cup to win the feature three times and the one thing that is certain is that he is ready for the task.

“I am very happy with him. He has trained on the way I have wanted and he is ready for a big race” Mark said Thursday.

“He is a versatile horse who can run just about anywhere in the field and he has a good gate. I would rate him ahead of AKUTA because he has that edge in race fitness”

Natalie is looking forward to driving “JImmy” one of her favourite horses.

“He is just such a no nonsense guy he is underrated but he has what it takes. I think the gate gives us options too. If the lead is there I am not going to mind that or take a sit handy. It depends how it plays out but the thing is he s so versatile you can adapt to how the race is run which is what you have to do to win big races”

Natalie knows a thing or two about winning Auckland Cups, having won last year with Self Assured and in 2017 with Vincent, all owned by Jean or Bill Feiss.Jean Feiss has won the last three Auckland Cups, the middle one with Amazing Dream and a win on Friday means she will equal the record winning owner,Sir Roy McKenzie, who won the race with four different horses.

Mark however has an imposing racing record too.He won the 2019 Cup end to end with Self Assured,drove Amazing Dream in 2021, his third successive win in the race, and had earlier wins with Young Rufus,Auckland Reactor,Dream About Me and Turn It Up.

So how does he rate Akuta’s hopes?

“He’s well. I worked him Tuesday this week and he ran 2400 in just over 3.10 home in 58.5. I like the gate better than wide on the front because we have options behind JImmy drawn the ace and with his lack of racing that is the run he is going to need. You can never tell what will happen in a big race and what a top horse can do. If he gets the right run we know he can really sprint home”

MON LANCOME is well placed to add to the stable tally on Friday and Mark also gave a ittle push for trotter OSCAR BONAVENA in the time honoured Rowe Cup-a race Mark has not won for 10 years since the  I Can Doosit era and which escaped earlier stars like Buster Hanover,Sundon’s Way and Pride of Petite.

“I think something will have to happen to Muscle Mountain to win it to be honest but I am very pleased with him this week. He is trotting really freely and I am hoping for a big race.”

PIC: Natalie, Jimmy, and Mark. Looking for history in Auckland Cup




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