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Good gate vital for cup hope
14 Feb 2017A handy draw is crucial to Pentathlon’s chances when the New Plymouth stayer resumes on his home track this weekend.

While the 1800 metres of the Gr.3 Platinum Homes Taranaki Cup will be well short of his best, the Goodwood Stud graduate is in good shape to open a fresh campaign.

“I’m looking at the Auckland Cup with him so he’s only got two races leading into it – this one and the Nathans,” trainer John Wheeler said.

“A lot will depend on the barrier draw on Saturday. If he draws in close and can get a nice, soft run then he can be competitive, but if he draws wide and has to do too much work then it would be too tough for him.”

Pentathlon established himself as one of the country’s leading stayers last year when he won the Chalmers Two Mile Premier and placed in the Gr.2 Wellington Cup and the Listed Marton Cup. He also finished fourth in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup.

In the spring, the Pentire gelding crossed the Tasman and in a four start campaign he finished third in the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Cup and earned $A125,000 when a creditable ninth in the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup.

“He had a month off after that and he’s come back well,” Wheeler said. “He’s had a couple of jump-outs and he’s going along nicely. I’m pretty happy.

“There’s obviously quite a bit of improvement in him, but he normally goes a nice race fresh.”

Lisa Allpress has been booked for the ride on Pentathlon on Saturday.