Maygrove too tough in SsangYong Counties Cup

As tough as teak stayer Maygrove produced a never say die effort to take out the Gr. 3 Ssangyong Counties Cup (2100m) in a thrilling four-way finish.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained grey had to lump the equal topweight of 60 kilograms and give weight to all bar stablemate Saint Emilion in the Pukekohe Park feature, a fact that had his connections concerned about just how effective he could be in the contest.

"I rang Lib before the race and told him he would have to bring him home for a jumping horse for his son, who loves his equestrian, as we didn’t expect him to win with the weight,” said Bruce Perry, speaking on behalf of owner Lib Petagna, after the race.

"He’s just so game, he’s brilliant.

"At one stage Murray wasn’t going to come here as the horse doesn’t like going this way around, but we thought the good thing would be he might run some rating points off which would make him competitive next time.”

Despite the dire predictions class shone through as Maygrove, aided by a gun ride from Johnathan Parkes, produced his very best to down Five To Midnight by a short head with local galloper Promise To Reign just a long head away in third from the fast finishing Francis Drake who finished a similar margin away in fourth.

"He’s a great horse, great for the public and just great for everyone,” said Perry.

"Lib is watching down in Wellington. He tried to come up but couldn’t make it. This one makes up for Francaletta who only just got beaten earlier today.”

Parkes, who is unbeaten in two rides on the horse having taken the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at his last start, had plenty of admiration for his charge’s effort.

"He’s a cracker horse isn’t he having to carry the 60 kilograms,” he said.

"From the jump the pace was on, so I managed to get him to fall asleep down the back straight and all the gaps came nicely as we headed into the run home.

"He’s been headed about 100 metres out, but he’s kept giving in a super effort. He’s just a good old warhorse.”

The win was Maygrove’s ninth career victory with five having come at stakes level including the Gr. 2 Wellington Cup in 2015 and Gr. 2 Awapuni Gold Cup last year. – NZ Racing Desk

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