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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Wednesday, April 18 2018

A new-look Megablast will face a stern fresh-up test in the Gr.2 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

 

Flashy grey Megablast will tackle Saturday's Gr.2 Manco Easter Handicp (1600m) at Pukekohe fresh-up. - Trish Dunell

While all his rivals have been preparing for the 1600-metre feature with recent racing, Megablast hasn’t been sighted on raceday since finishing eighth in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2000m) at Hastings last October.

However, Nigel Tiley doesn’t believe Megablast’s lack of recent racing will prevent him showing his best this weekend.

“I know it’s a big ask, but he does race well fresh and he has been in work a long time,” said the Pukekohe trainer, who also has the seasoned Brighton in the race.

“He’s come back a lot bigger and heavier than last season. He weighs 40 kilos more than last year and I’d say he’ll race 30 kilos above his old weight. He’s done so well and looks great.”

Part of Megablast’s build-up has included working on the beach under the care of Waiuku trainer Catherine Cleghorn.

“He had a spell after the Livamol then went out to Catherine before Christmas and did six weeks on the beach,” Tiley said. “Since he’s been back with me he’s had a couple of jump-outs, going a half-mile on the course proper and carrying on down the back straight.

“The Easter has always been a target, but it has been weather dependant. I couldn’t be happier with him going into Saturday and it looks like it’ll be a heavy – loose track and he should handle it.”

Megablast has registered four of his eight wins on heavy tracks and a further three on slow footing, while his other win came on a dead surface. 

Megablast will be reunited on Saturday with Michael Coleman, who was aboard in Megablast’s last two victories.

Tiley has yet to confirm plans for Megablast beyond Saturday, though he admits a Queensland Winter Carnival would be given consideration.

“We’ll get this out of the way first, but if he wins or goes really well we’d have to seriously look at Brisbane, but I’ll have to talk it over with the owners,” he said.

Brighton is Tiley’s second-string Manco Easter Handicap hope and the five-year-old has sneaked into the field on the 52kg minimum with Sam Collett, the country’s leading rider, aboard.

“He’s got the ability and he’d be right up there on a decent track, but I’m just worried about him in the ground,” Tiley said

“He won the Champagne Stakes on a heavy track as a two-year-old but he’s never raced to his full potential on heavy ground since.”

Brighton recorded the latest of his four wins over 1600m on a good surface at Pukekohe last January and his other recent runs have also been on good footing. He finished fourth in the Gr.3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) before tailing the field home in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

“He went to the beach after his last run and he’s been back in the stable a week or so,” Tiley said. “He looks well, but we’ll just have to see what happens.” 

Posted by: AT 07:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email