The Clint Lundholm trained Nepenthes edged closer to a spot in the $50,000 NSW Picnic Racing Association Picnic Champion Series final after running second at Coonamble on Saturday.
After contesting the 1400m Class B Handicap, the Dubbo trainer was happy with his five-year-old mare that was beaten just shy of three lengths by Step ‘N’ Dollars at only her second run back this preparation.
“She was a run short from peak fitness the other day, but we were still happy with the effort,” Lundholm said.
The top 12 picnic gallopers in NSW will gain a start in the final that is scheduled to be held at Coonamble on October 10, and after Saturday’s meeting, Nepenthes is 17th in the order of entry with 16 points, but only trails the 11th placed Madison point by two points.
With only one picnic meeting left this season, Lundholm and connections will send Nepenthes around at Gunnedah on August 28, hoping for points and a place in the rich final.
“We were always trying to sneak her in, and she got to a point last prep where she had enough,” Lundholm said.
“She was right on the borderline of making it, and after her second at Coonamble, she is now a big chance, so she will be going to Gunnedah, and we will try and sneak a win and get her in.”
The Mulaazem mare looks a progressive type, boasting three wins from 23 starts, and her trainer said she would only improve ahead of Gunnedah and a potential crack at the Picnic Champion Series final.
“She hasn’t been tested against those Open Class horses at the country cups, but she will be on the up and I reckon she will hold her own and be a hope for sure,” Lundholm said.
“That’s what I explained to the owners, there is $50,000 on offer and they got on board pretty quickly, and now it’s just a matter of trying to sneak her in.”
After riding her to a second placing at Coonamble, Will Stanley looks the most likely option to guide her to points at Gunnedah and in the final if she qualifies.
“Will Stanley rode her the other day, and he hasn’t been booked for anything and I let him know that’s the path we are on, so it’s up to him,” Lundholm said.
Regardless of what happens with Nepenthes at Gunnedah, Lundholm said she still had plenty to offer at TAB and community meetings.
“Even when she comes back to the TAB races, she is still only a class one and has more wins in her,” Lundholm said.
For more details on the Picnic Champion Series and a full list of the top 20 runners, readers can click here.