Altered Image wins Group II Coupland's Bakeries Mile. Colin Berry Race Images Christchurch
Former group one winner Altered Image (5 B. G. Strategic Image – Dented Ambition, by Danasinga) regained his best form with a dominant display at Riccarton in Christchurch on Wednesday in the $250,000, Group II, 6th Coupland’s Bakeries Mile.
It was as a juvenile back in 2008 that Altered Image first showed his ability when braining his rivals in 1:10.58 for 1200-metres at Te Aroha, running time superior to older horses on the day and winning by six-and-a-half-lengths.
The $20,000 purchase from the 2007 New Zealand Bloodstock Festival Yearling Sale by Paul Moroney proved he was well above average winning all three starts as a two-year-old and he cemented the fact when he ran away from a talented field of three-year-olds to win the $240,000, Group I, First Sovereign Trust Levin Classic (1600m) by three-and-a-quarter-lengths in a blistering track record time of 1:32.50.
But then things went awry for the gelding bred by Dean Hawthorne, owned by G B D Brown, C F Lindberg, P A Moroney, A H South & B C Thomas, and trained by Mike Moroney and Andrew Clarken.
Fresh from a spell to contest the group one Mudgway Stakes at Hastings in 2009 he suffered a tendon injury and only presented back on the racetrack in September this year after a 385-day break.
His performance to win second-up at Hastings when bursting clear for a two-length win over 1200-metres in 1:09.15 indicated he had lost none of his brilliance, confirmed two starts later by overriding a capacity 18-horse field in the Coupland’s.
After beginning swiftly for rider Michael Coleman he worked across to station outside the leader, Fritzy Boy (Brilliance).
Despite the 1600m being cut out at a genuine clip in 1:34.30, Altered Image seemed to travel generously to lead early in the run home at the 400m and Coleman continued to drive him home for a two-length victory.
A line up for the minors resulted in the favourite The Meista (Montjeu) finishing second by a nose from Hold It Harvey (King Cugat), with a nose back to Fritzy Boy in fourth.
What appeared on paper to be a very even contest was reflected on the tote with Altered Image returning $7.70 & $3.30 as the third favourite.
Coleman said, “He travelled nice. When he got up outside Fritzy Boy he came back to me. He just settled and raced really even. I was pretty confident along way out as he travelled so beautifully. He’s a great horse when they get him right. He was always going to quicken in beautifully and he did.”
“The horse is group one class”, said co-trainer Andrew Clarken. “He’s come back from injury, we’ve bided our time with him, but the horse has definitely got the ability there and he’s shown it today.”
Having been aboard for each of his six wins, Coleman was praised by Clarken for his skills.
“We didn’t give him any instructions. When you’ve got Michael (Coleman) on in these races you go in very confident because you know he’ll get the job done”, Clarken said.
Altered Image has now won six of his sixteen starts for $427,150 in stakes.