By Michael Guerin
Expect a bigger, stronger South Coast Arden when the Jewels winner returns to the track in a few weeks.
That is the word from trainer-driver Mangos as the star of the later part of last season starts to warm up on a IRT New Zealand Cup campaign that he starts as third favourite for the great race in November.
South Coast Arden was last seen when destroying his four-year-old opponents in the Emerald at Cambridge and went to the paddock straight after for a four-week break.
“I only gave him the four weeks off because it was wet and there was no point him standing around in the rain,” said Mangos.
“But even with only a month out he filled out and has come back in great condition.
“So he has been back four weeks and everything is looking good.”
South Coast Arden is set to be given two workouts before his intended comeback race at Alexandra Park on September 24.
“I am hoping that race goes ahead and asking around some of the other trainers I think we will have the numbers.
“So at this stage the plan is to take him to Cambridge for a day away and a workout in the first week of September and then maybe a more searching one at Pukekohe two weeks later and have him ready for the 24th.”
While the open class programming and scene still feels very fluid for this season Mangos hopes to give South Coast Arden another Alexandra Park race in early September but is that race is looking unlikely to go ahead he could head straight to Canterbury.
“He has a potential programme down there of the Canterbury Classic, the Methven Cup and the Flying Stakes at Ashburton before the Cup.” Mangos will travel with South Coast Arden for at least part of that and will be his fulltime trainer and driver after Natalie Rasmussen filled in driving last autumn when Mangos was suspended.
While South Coast Arden is a 1:51.6 miler he also won over 3200m at Addington before that and Mangos says the best way to sum the big horse up is he is a great stayer. “That is why I think the Cup suits him because he can run those good sectionals back to back and keep going.
“Often those horses are good milers too.” Mangos has finished second as a driver in two New Zealand Cups with Luxury Liner and Alta Serena and knows how rare it is to have a horse rated third favourite in the IRT Cup market.
“It is getting harder and harder to get Cup horses so it is really exciting and I am looking forward to the spring.”
South Coast Arden sits at $5 third favourite behind Copy That at $3.50 and defending champion Self Assured at $3.80, with Amazing Dream at $8 even though there are major doubts about the Auckland Cup winning mare being at Addington.