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Puccini & Turn Me Loose Straight To Melbourne
Kiwi Gr1 winners Puccini and Turn Me Loose will head straight to Melbourne this week following the abandonment of Saturday's Windsor Park Plate meeting at Hastings, reports theinformant.co.nz. Puccini, a winner of the New Zealand Derby & Thorndon Mile, has been entered for a 1700m handicap at Caulfield on Saturday, while plans are yet to be finalised for last year's New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Turn Me Loose. Connections have cited the lack of domestic opportunities as the reason for the early trip. "There's nothing suitable for him for ages back here," Puccini's co-trainer Peter McKay said. "He's not ready to run 2040 metres in the Livamol Classic on Saturday week, so there's no option but to head to Melbourne before we really wanted to." McKay said he will assess Puccini's performance on Saturday before deciding on an exact path to the Cox Plate. "He was ready to run against our Group One horses on the weekend but I wouldn't say he could go up against the good ones over there [Australia] in a race like the Underwood on Saturday," he said. "This way by running him in a handicap we'll hopefully get a line on him. If he went really well we could consider backing him up in the Turnbull Stakes or we could look at the Toorak over 1600 metres a week later." He added: "The main thing is there are plenty of options for him, so we'll get over there and then work it out." The Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) will now be run at Trentham on 24 October, Cox Plate day.