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Puccini Pleases Ahead Of Derby

Tuesday, 25th February 2014

Trainers Peter and Jacob McKay report that New Zealand Derby (2400m) favourite Puccini (Encosta de Lago-Miss Opera, by Paris Opera) is in great shape ahead of this weekend's 3YO classic at Ellerslie, reports theinformant.co.nz. Puccini has had a tremendous campaign thus far winning three of his four starts, including the Gr2 Waikato Guineas and Gr2 Avondale Guineas, with his only defeat coming in the Gr1 Levin Classic behind the brilliant Recite. Saturday's Gr1 feature presents Puccini with his biggest test to date, but the McKays say everything is in place for the son of Encosta de Lago to run a big race. "I had his blood taken and he was scoped this morning just as a precaution and everything came back 100 per cent," said Peter McKay. "I didn't want to find out any problems after I gallop him." He added, "It's all good at this stage and Michael (Walker) has confirmed he is ready to ride him. We're got our fingers crossed we don't have any problems." Walker won the Derby a few years ago on Military Move and he has been bullish about Puccini's blue riband prospects for quite some time. "Michael is confident and everyone keeps telling me we're going to win the Derby, but you can never be confident in a Group One, especially a race like the Derby," McKay said. "It's a hard race to win and I'm happy to have a horse good enough to run in it. At this stage he's done everything right."

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