It’s been all smooth sailing for Kia Ora Star who’s made an immediate impact since a stable transfer to Albany trainer Roy Rogers.
Kia Ora Star is unbeaten in two outings for Rogers and is favourite to make it a winning hat trick at Mount Barker on Sunday. Following his win in the Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m), Kia Ora Star can claim a Great Southern double in the Tabtouch-Mt. Barker Sprint (1300m).
“He should win it again and it’s a similar line up to what he beat in the Fitzpatrick Plate,” Rogers told The Races WA. “I’m pretty confident he has come through the run really well and he should just keep improving.
“There should be plenty of pace and he will just sit smoking his pipe before putting pressure at the top of the straight.”
Rogers says a different environment and a change in training routine has been the key to Kia Ora Star’s winning form.
“He hasn’t exceeded my expectations at all,” Rogers said. “I saw the ability that he had and thought if I could switch him around to handle the heavy sand and get a bit of condition on him because he’s always been a light horse.
“He’s now carrying a lot more weight and seems really happy. He’s got a lot of scope and I honestly think he’s another Luke’s Gold, another horse that can quietly go through the grades and get to Listed company.”
Kia Ora Star carries 58.5kg, a rise of 2 ½ kgs and jumps from barrier six for jockey Brad Rawiller. The former Victorian hoop gains a welcome opportunity to ride the eight-year-old, replacing the suspended William Pike. “Brad was meant to ride the horse last start, but he couldn’t make the weight,” Rogers said.
Kia Ora Star is rated $3 with Tabtouch. The Great One for Steve Wolfe is $4.20 and the Luke Fernie-trained Ziebell is $8.
Rogers said Luvachat, Can’t Get Enough and Sneaky Fox are also strong winning chances from his stable on the Mt Barker programme.