Stuart Pettigrew believes he has Easy Lover popping his corks at just the right time for Saturday’s Gauteng SANSUI Summer Cup bid that has been meticulously orchestrated by the English-born trainer.
Pettigrew, born in Chelmsford but a Johannesburg resident since the age of six, is unique in being the only trainer with a Summer Cup runner to boast a 100% record in the race, his only previous runner, Tyson, having scored in 2004.
That gelded son of Silvino enjoyed a three-race programme specifically organised to ensure he arrived at his peak on Summer Cup day. No wonder Pettigrew has adopted a similar strategy with Easy Lover.
He explained: “The two best horses in the race are French Navy and Power King and they are in the care of two of the best trainers in South Africa.
“However, they have each had one outing since July and after my experience with Tyson I want to be going in with the Summer Cup being at least my horse’s third run, I strongly believe that’s the way to go.
“With Tyson, by the time he got to the Summer Cup, everything I threw at him he passed with flying colours. Apart from a couple of blips at the Vaal, he ended up being almost invincible at Turffontein.
“Easy Lover was with me for three runs before coming up for the Ready To Run Cup, in which he finished third before going back to Durban, and he’s been back in my yard for his latest three starts.
“His first run was over 1450m on the Inside track and it was the wrong race to run him in.
“Next time he finished fifth in an 1800m race on the inside track before his very good run in the Victory Moon in which he was flying at the finish.”
Pettigrew sees the question of whether his charge will get the extra distance in the 2000m Cup as academic and added: “His last 400m in the Victory Moon took 23.7 seconds. I have absolutely no doubt the extra 200m is what he’s been looking for and that he will stay and is going to love it. I’m confident he will turn the tables on the horse that won the Victory Moon.”
Pettigrew is also delighted with Easy Lover’s starting gate placing in six and he concluded: “You can’t knock the draw. I’m convinced what you need for a Summer Cup is a horse with stamina, and he has that in abundance.”
Easy Lover is quoted at 16-1 to win Saturday’s Summer Cup.