Queensland Still A Possibility For La Crique

Dual Group One winner La Crique has certainly been a test of patience for trainers Simon and Katrina Alexander, with the couple faced with their sternest test with the mare in the last couple of weeks.

Fresh off recording her second elite-level victory in the Gr.1 Otaki-Maori WFA Classic (1600m) in February, the daughter of Vadamos was a heavily supported favourite heading into last month’s Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie but was forced to scratch following issues relating to a longstanding foot issue.

“It was really disappointing having to scratch out of the Breeders’ Stakes. We fought hard to get her there, but it just wasn’t going to happen,” Katrina Alexander said.

“It is the same foot issue. It started off as a blowout through the coronet and as the foot has grown down, we have had hoof wall separation. It is just a case of moisture and debris gets in and then causes a bacteria build-up.

“We got the vet and farrier together yesterday and there is always an evolving plan with her. We have come to the conclusion that we really need to stop patching her foot up and keep her on track. It is now or never that we need to get it right, so we did a bit of work on her yesterday, changed her shoeing, and had some other ideas in the pot.”

La Crique returned to work this morning following a 10-day freshen-up and Alexander was rapt with how she felt under saddle.

“We hadn’t had a saddle on her back since scratching her until this morning,” she said. “I am very happy to say that when I rode her this morning she felt as good as what she has since the Group One that she won (Otaki WFA).

“We just have to keep that (foot) clean and tidy as the hoof wall grows down and stop that separation from happening.

“She felt very good to sit on this morning, so hopefully we can keep going now.”

While it has been a frustrating process for the Alexanders, they have found La Crique’s racetrack success incredibly rewarding, and they are hoping to build on her record of seven wins and seven placings from just 18 starts, and nearly $1 million in prizemoney.

The Queensland Winter Carnival was the primary objective for La Crique this preparation, and the husband-and-wife duo are hopeful they can still get their mare across the Tasman.

“I have lost a lot of sleep in the process of having her, but when you get her right she is so rewarding,” Alexander said.

“If we can just keep her sound for a period of time that would be great. Ideally we would still like to get to Brisbane but we will just have to wait and see.

“Technically she has only had 10 days of not being ridden, so that was a nice freshen-up for her and we know she doesn’t take much to come to hand. If we can keep her sound and happy, hopefully we can keep going through the winter.

“If we had managed to get to the Breeders’ Stakes we had a plan going through that we had mapped out quite nicely. I dare not make plans at the moment, so we will just see how we go.”

Meanwhile, Alexander is looking forward to resuming stablemate Midnight Scandal in the Ellerslie Events 1200, with an eye towards winter racing.

“She always gives 110 percent and has just been unlucky in the past. She seems to enjoy being a front-running horse and gets into a nice rhythm,” she said.

“We have given her a freshen-up and she is kicking off again. It is probably a bit short for her but she hasn’t had a trial this time heading into the races and with the trials programme I thought we would give her a look at Ellerslie and see how she comes out of that. She is a better horse right-handed and there just wasn’t a lot of right-handed options for her.

“Whatever she does she will get a lot of improvement from. Her work has been very good, she has always been a good track worker. She is a stronger mare this time round and has benefitted from the spell. She is looking good going into the winter where she will appreciate a bit of cut in the track.

“Without stereotyping them, a lot of the Belardos have shown they do like a bit of cut in the track and she is certainly one of them. I have never had her on a heavy track before because she has just been a little bit weak and has taken a little bit of time to furnish and I didn’t want to force that issue too much in deeper ground.

“I am hoping at this part of the season she will get to come through on tracks in the Soft range, which will be ideal for her.”

– NZ Racing Desk

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