Marea Alta lifts for Kiwifruit Cup win Sat, 23 Jun 2012
Noel Harris and Alexander Fieldes were left shaking their heads after Marea Alta had come from a hopeless position to down the brave topweight Indikator in the Listed Amcor Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga today.
Halfway through the 2100-metre feature the Fieldes-trained mare looking anything but a favourite elect, with just one rival behind her and being tapped up by Harris to improve her position.
“I was 100-to-one to win at the 1000 and she was going nowhere,” said the most experienced jockey in the business. “That changed luckily when I angled her out wide and I felt her lift, but even then I thought she had too much ground to make up.
“When we swung wide towards the turn and straightened I was looking at the starting gates on the outside of the track, but we got enough room and she did the rest.”
Indikator, chasing his third win in the race, had worked into the race from the 600-metre mark and another win looked on the cards, but try as he might under his 59-kilogram impost he had no answer to the five-kilogram lighter weighted mare.
“Harry might be 57 years young but he’s the man,” commented Fieldes, who also paid his stable star a big compliment, saying “She might look beaten but when the chips are down she has a go.
“Halfway through the race I really thought she was going to run last. Even with a round to go she looked no chance, but that’s the thing about her, you can never write her off.”
The combined efforts of Fieldes and his partner Kara Oulaghan have tuned the Montjeu mare’s career around since she was handed over by Kara’s trainer brother Mark Oulaghan in late 2010.
“After she couldn’t get warm in a Stratford maiden Mark stopped off on his way home and suggested we try a few different things with her,” Fieldes recalled. “Being a Montjeu she basically doesn’t need galloping, that’s been the secret to her.
“Since she won at Waverley (on June 3) the closest to fast work she’s had was the 600 metres I let her run on Wednesday morning. Even then she only ran 42 when anyone else was running 38.
“That doesn’t really add up when you’re asking them to go out and run around in such a testing conditions as this, but it works with her.”
With six wins now on the board, Marea Alta may have just one more start before being retired to stud. Fieldes revealed that an attempt at back-to-back Taumarunui Cup wins at Te Rapa is the rising seven-year-old’s late winter target before co-owners Mark Oulaghan and his mother Pam make a decision about her stud career.
Reese Jones pulled no punches in his assessment of his mount Indikator’s effort to run second. “The two-kilogram mare allowance in these handicap races is a joke, it gives a gelding like this bloke no chance,” he said with feeling.
“The ground could have been looser for him and he didn’t take me into the race like he can. He still tried his heart out but I knew when I heard the mare coming that we had no chance.”