Hart eyeing more Group 1 glory

Charlotte Lu looks hard to beat in her heat of the $50,000 Selwyn-Rakaia Vet Services New Zealand Oaks. Photo credit: Yvette Bodiam.


Off the back of a successful New Zealand Derby campaign, Tony Hart’s team is ready to fire for heats of the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks and Group 1 New Zealand St Leger.

Three heats of the $50,000 Selwyn-Rakaia Vet Services New Zealand Oaks will take place at Addington on Thursday night, and Charlotte Lu will be aiming for a hat-trick in the second of the heats (Race 5) for Hart.

Her most recent victory came at Group 2 level at Cambridge, when she dug deep to score in the Lois Henley Memorial Trophy. While she has come up with Box 7 on Thursday, she will be aided by the small field and vacant box to her inside.

“I’m really, really happy with her,” enthused Hart. “She worked really well on Monday, and she had a post-to-post last Thursday where she went 11.75, with a 12.10 run home.

“I don’t think the draw will concern her – it’s just a matter of her leading and being able to hold on. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

“She’s probably back to her best now, so hopefully she can get there!”

Later in the programme, Diego Jem lines up in a heat of the Active Electrical NZ St Leger, off the back of his impressive New Zealand Derby win last month. The son of Fabregas and Jemima Tee has won eight races from 11 starts, and he looks poised to continue on his winning way this week in Race 9.

“We’re really, really happy with him, too,” said Hart.

“He had a post-to-post as well, and he went 11.78 and 12.12, which is about half a length off Charlotte Lu.

“Our only concern with him is his last 40 or 50 metres. Whether or not he gets the 520m or not, we’re not quite sure yet. We’re hoping that he can get a good break on them and say goodbye! Hopefully with all the extra work he’s had, he’ll see out the 520m.”


By Liz Whelan

Posted on 04 May 2022

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