Robbie Patterson has already successfully raided the Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) this season, and the New Plymouth trainer has another two northern staying features in his sights over the next few days.
Patterson trained a career-best 50 winners last season and has started 2023-24 in a similar vein. He already has 20 wins to his name, headed by Puntura in the Gr.2 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), along with One Bold Cat in last month’s Counties Cup at Pukekohe.
Last-start winner Nom De Plume is the $2.80 favourite to continue Patterson’s strong form in Saturday’s $80,000 Harcourts Taupo Cup (2000m), while Mary Louise is rated an $8 chance for the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m) at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day.
Patterson was delighted with Nom De Plume’s performance at Trentham on December 16, charging home from last for an emphatic victory over 1600m.
“She was very impressive at Wellington last start and has continued to go ahead since then,” Patterson said. “I’m really happy with her. She’s going to appreciate the step up to 2000m on Saturday and won’t mind if there’s any easing in the ground, so she should be a good chance.”
With another strong performance at Taupo on Saturday, Nom De Plume could earn the opportunity to pursue black-type targets through the rest of her campaign.
“If she acquits herself well at Taupo, I’m keen to get her to the Trentham Stakes (Gr.3, 2100m) on January 13,” Patterson said. “It would be great if we could add some black type to her record.”
Mary Louise heads into Monday’s $220,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup as the winner of six of her 13 starts, and she was a last-start fourth behind Dionysus, Prise De Fer and Coruba Jak in the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa on December 16. None of those three rivals are in the New Year’s Day line-up.
Mary Louise has the second-highest rating in the field with 87, but will share the 53kg bottom weight with seven of her eight opponents. Platinum Invador is the clear topweight with 58kg.
“It was a solid enough run at Te Rapa,” Patterson said. “She was just a little bit one-paced when they sprinted, but she stuck on okay. She gets in well for this race and won’t mind at all if they have any rain around leading into the meeting.”
Nom De Plume and Mary Louise will be the only runners all weekend for Patterson, who had 12 entries for Friday’s abandoned meeting on his home track.
“It’s pretty disappointing to lose the local meeting, and as it turned out we probably haven’t really had the amount of rain they were expecting, so we might have been okay to race,” Patterson said. “But that’s racing. At least we’ve got a couple of decent chances to look forward to over the weekend."