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Stronger Puccini Ready For Hastings
Trainer Peter McKay was feeling more optimistic about Puccini's Gr1 Windsor Park Plate prospects after the 5YO worked at Matamata yesterday morning, reports NZ Racing Desk. Puccini (Encosta de Lago-Miss Opera, by Paris Opera), who will be second-up in the Hastings feature on Saturday, has a good record at 1600m and had been a joint third favourite, at $8, in the fixed odds market. He also had two trials before resuming in the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) on the first day of the Hastings carnival. However, McKay had been concerned that the horse might still be a run short for the Windsor Park Plate. "He's bigger and stronger this year and it's been a bit harder to get him ready," McKay said. "He's not too heavy for an entire but he's definitely stronger and has matured." McKay considered racing Puccini in the open 1200m at Ruakaka last weekend but opted for a couple of strong gallops on the course proper at home instead. "We were able to work him on the course proper last Thursday and again this morning [Tuesday]. He came home in 37.5 this morning, on a slow 8 track. It was a nice gallop and his recovery rate was pretty quick," he said. "I was pretty happy after the gallop and hopefully he won't be a run short [on Saturday]." Puccini has won 8 of his 29 starts, including Gr1 victories in the New Zealand Derby and Thorndon Mile.