Sydney star back where it all began Mon, 01 Sep 2014

NZ Racing Desk
Zacinto Stallion 2014

Coup Ay Tee is back home with Michael Pitman, who successfully launched the Australian Group Three winner’s career.

The seven-year-old returned last week and the trainer, now in partnership with son Matthew with stables at Riccarton and Trentham, is looking longer-term at the New Zealand Cup carnival with the gelding.

Coup Ay Tee has a nomination for the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate, but Pitman has ruled out the trip to Hawke’s Bay.

“He looks well and he’s in good order,” he said. “We won’t be pushing him though, so he won’t be going to Hastings.

“We’ve worked him here and he’s really free in his action. We’ll be going to the beach with him and that’s a tried and true formula that keeps the older horses sharp.

“He’s the sort of horse you can keep fresh and he could run well in a race like the Stewards and possibly look at the Coupland’s Mile. He’ll let us know when he’s ready.”

Pitman prepared Coup Ay Tee to win two of his first three starts for leading South Island owner Ray Coupland before the horse furthered his career in Sydney with Chris Waller.

He won seven times there and last year claimed both the Gr. 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup and the Listed Winter Challenge at Rosehill. He placed in the 2014 renewal of the latter event earlier this month.

Meanwhile, stable veteran El Chico is ready to resume at Riccarton this weekend.

“It’s the best he’s ever spelled in the whole time I’ve had him,” Pitman said. “He’s been working terrific – he might be 10, but he doesn’t know it.”

The son of Stravinsky has been an outstanding servant for Pitman, who races the veteran with John and Evelyn Carran.

They purchased El Chico as a tried horse for $20,000 and he has since won 15 races, including the Easter Cup and the Stewards’ Stakes at Group Three level and finished third in the Gr. 1 Telegraph Handicap in 2012.