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Puccini To Be Ridden Quietly In Cup
Trainer Peter McKay says he will instruct Craig Newitt to employ conservative riding tactics aboard top-class Kiwi galloper Puccini in Saturday's Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington, reports horseracing.com.au. Puccini won last year's New Zealand Derby as a 3YO when leading all the way, but his front-running style proved less successful when he crossed the Tasman to take on Australia's best 3YOs in the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby in which he finished 12th and 5th respectively. Since then, McKay has spent time teaching Puccini to settle and it has reaped dividends with the Encosta de Lago 4YO scoring an explosive win from off the speed in the Gr1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham earlier this year. "He has strengthened up and the difference is that we have had to change his way of racing," McKay told RSNs Racing Ahead. "As a three-year-old once he got over ground he ended up racing forward and leading in his races and it was just a matter to teach him to be more relaxed and become a race horse." He added, "When you are coming to Australia and taking on the best here you can't always be one dimensional when you just have to jump and lead, so we have taken a lot of time just to teach him to relax and run home in the last part of his race. He will be able to settle back and produce his best run late."