IN Our Horses
Elcheikhali Might Overshadow Stablemates
By RON GURNEY | February 22, 2024

Elcheikhali put her hand up to be counted for Otaki on Saturday when she galloped nicely at Awapuni this morning.

Fast work during a quiet session for timing was on the plough (good), with just one gallop recorded on the synthetic track.

Elcheikhali used the plough and looked very comfortable over 800m in 54.3, the last 600 in 37.9.

The Sweynesse mare is one of three Lisa Latta-trained acceptors in the r65 1400m at Otaki, with Popsagoosey and Platinum Attack both last-start winners.

However, Elcheikhali has been knocking on the door recently and will carry just 53.5kg on Saturday with northern apprentice Ace Lawson-Carroll in the saddle again.

Her maiden stablemate Good Craic (by Per Incanto), freshened since racing in November, gathered speed from the 1000m (1.12.3) to finish with 600 in 38.2.

Pepeha and Call A Friend were paired over 800m in 54.8, the last 600 in 39.6, and Gum Basher sprinted 600m in 40.1.

Otaki runner Kattegat (r75 2200m) did a quiet round before galloping 1000m in 1.10.6, the last 600 in 40.8.

She was not far away over a mile fresh up last start, and the extra distance on Saturday will suit her more. Gary Grylls, who won on stablemate Sailor Jack at Ellerslie last Saturday, takes the ride.

Manifique, heading north for the Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata on Saturday, did two quiet rounds with a sprint up the straight each time.

She was far from disgraced running fourth in the Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes last start, and jockey Michael McNab is sticking with the ship.

On the synthetic track, Bryce Newman-trained maiden filly Vavoom (by Vadamos) was timed 1000m in 1.14.9, quickening up for the last 600 in 40.7.

She has recorded a second and two fourths from her five starts so far, but has not raced since just before Christmas.