Scott Brunton had visions of Cox Plate-day celebrations with Lady Pluck until Mother Nature decreed his star filly would be better off in a paddock.
The daughter of Vinery sire Pluck (USA) is spelling in Tasmania instead of fronting the fever-pitch excitement of a sold-out crowd at Moonee Valley. “She was going to run in the (LR) Crockett Stakes on Saturday but her hormones kicked in and I had to tip her out,” Brunton said this week. “It was very disappointing – she had pulled up perfectly after that last start in Melbourne.”
Lady Pluck was right in the mix first-up on the mainland. She was coming off an Elwick maiden win and skirted the outside fence for a tip-top third in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes LR at Flemington.
“We were thrilled with that performance,” Brunton said. “It was a quality field but we had full faith in the filly and it was exciting to see her measure up.”
Lady Pluck (3f Pluck – Deelites by Excites) will be set for the Magic Millions 3YO Classic at Mowbray in February before returning to Melbourne where there’s a host of features for 3yo fillies during the autumn carnival. “She will be on the treadmill for a fortnight after spelling and then we will get serious,” Brunton added. “Hopefully, we can make up for missing this weekend when she comes back next prep.”
Another Pluck with potential is his 4yo gelding Awesome Pluck who was also placed first-up a fortnight ago in the $1.30 million Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick.
Despite the flashing-light, trainer Jenny Graham is taking a low-key approach to his latest campaign. “It was an enormous run and Tim (Clark) said he just felt the pinch late on the heavy track. But he’s still not there mentally and I’m going to take him to Queensland next month as part of his education.”
Jenny Graham is pictured with Randwick winner Victorem and her partner Shane Conroy holds Awesome Pluck
Awesome Pluck (4g Pluck – Shackelite by Mossman) will be entered for a short-course Class 3 Plate in the Sunshine State. “He’s a nice horse and the trip up there will help him become a bit more level-headed,” Graham said. “Then we will get him ready for the NSW Country Championships.”
Hong Kong agents have been chasing Awesome Pluck but owner Dale Miller has resisted several offers – he bought the Vinery graduate for $68,000 at the 2016 Inglis Classic Sale.
The Plucks have been making inroads in Hong Kong – Jade Theatre won again at Happy Valley on Wednesday night for Zac Purton and trainer Manfred Man taking his earnings to HK$3.21 million.
He raced as Gasoline in New Zealand and was the first ever winner for Pluck at Ellerslie on Boxing Day 2015. His stablemate Winwin Ruby has also saluted in Hong Kong after winning races in NZ as Pluck That.
Pluck is a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-winning son of More Than Ready and stands for a $6,600 (inc GST) fee at Vinery.