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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Thursday, June 15 2017

Grand National Steeplechase champion Upper Cut is making encouraging progress in his early build-up toward the defence of his Riccarton title.
Upper Cut - Race Images South


The Yamanin Vital gelding finished a respectable seventh on the flat to open his current campaign and he then beat subsequent Ellerslie winner Max over hurdles at Hawera last month.

Upper Cut will stick to the smaller fences at Trentham on Saturday in the Manawatu ITM Awapuni Hurdles.

"He's coming up pretty well and I couldn't be happier with him," part-owner and trainer Mark Oulaghan said.

"He'll have this run and then he'll go to Hastings for the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase.

"He's had a few things go wrong in the past, but he's good now and going well."

Upper Cut struck for the third time over country when he won the Manawatu Steeplechase in 2015, but was subsequently side-lined for nearly a year with a tendon injury.

He came back to top form last winter and was second in the Koral Steeplechase a week before claiming major honours in the Grand National Steeplechase. He then ran fourth in the Great Northern Steeplechase, but he is unlikely to head north again this year.

"Probably not, but we'll make that call a bit later on," Oulaghan said.

Upper Cut was ridden for the first time at Hawera by Shaun Phelan and he will again be aboard at Awapuni, where he will also partner the Mark Brooks-trained Joking in the L.J. Hooker Manawatu Steeplechaser.

The seven-year-old fell at the final fence in the Waikato Steeplechase when in contention before he was unplaced in the McGregor Grant Steeplechase on a demanding Ellerslie track.

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 03:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email