Raise The Flag dominates Dunedin Gold Cup
By Jonny Turner
A plan hatched between trainers John Phillips and Danny Crozier produced the perfect result when Raise The Flag mare Madam De Soir won the Dunedin Gold Cup at Wingatui on Saturday.
The nine-year-old was having just her second start for Crozier when she powered home from off the speed to take out the listed 2400m feature.
Phillips had prepared Madam De Soir (Raise The Flag-Grace De Soir-Volksraad) for more than sixty starts before sending her to Crozier’s Riccarton stable so she could be aimed at Saturday’s race.
“Johnny really wanted to have a crack at this race, but it wasn’t easy for him to get her ready in Winton,” Crozier told NZ Racing Desk.
“The track conditions down there made it pretty hard, and there wasn’t much else for her to work with down there.”
“I’ve got a nice team at Riccarton that she could train with on some decent tracks, so he sent her to me.”
“Now she’s come out and done the job today, so it’s worked out really well for all of us.”
Madam De Soir provided Crozier with his first black-type victory and with a timely boost after he was recently in hospital.
A listed win on her pedigree page was also timely for Madam De Soir as she approaches her 10th birthday and eventually, retirement.
The victory came courtesy of a patient ride by Tina Comignaghi, who sat the mare off a fast pace in the middle stages.
“She’s a nine-year-old mare now, but she’s a tough old rooster,” Crozier said.
“She got a great ride from Tina, you can’t win races like these without that, and the mare finished it off pretty strongly down the straight.”
“It’s just great to pick up a bit of black type for her.”
Raise The Flag also produced the third-placegetter in the Dunedin Gold Cup in Orepuki Lad.
Orepuki Lad (Raise The Flag-The Star Gazer-The Gladiator) was very brave in defeat after being taken on in the lead a long way from home.
Raise The Flag’s rising star Ray’s In Command went down by just a half a neck in the Group 3 White Robe Lodge Weight For Age at Wingatui on Saturday.
The victim of a muddling speed, Ray’s In Command got keen in the middle stages before digging deep for his narrow runner-up effort.
Ray’s In Command (Raise The Flag-Kay’s Command-Towkay) produced his second placing in just his fifteenth career start and it continued his excellent progression this season.
Trainer Terry Kennedy is likely to start at Wingatui again next month before feature races in the North Island will be considered for him.
Raise The Flag’s hot form was also helped by former New Zealand galloper Guns Ablazing, who made it two wins from his last three starts at Moonee Valley on the eve of the Champions Day meeting.
Guns Ablazing (Raise The Flag-Kiko-Yamanin Vital) strode out powerfully to score over 2500m for trainers Amy and Ash Agari and rider Jamie Kah.