Encosta Colt Favourite for NZ Derby

Progressive stayer Puccini (3c Encosta de Lago x Miss Opera, by Paris Opera) has been in hot form in New Zealand and landed another feature win in the Group II Avondale Guineas on Saturday.

A half-brother to six-time Group I winner Sir Slick, the Peter McKay trained colt scored another bold front running win in the 2100 metre contest and is primed for the New Zealand Derby next month for which he is now a $4 favourite.

“He was very impressive at Te Rapa (last start) and he’s really matured this time around,” co-trainer Jacob McKay said.

“He’s always been a bit weak behind and he’s put on 10kg and holding his condition well.”

Retained by his breeders Paul and Cushla Smithie of Monovale Farm, Puccini has the overall record is now four wins and four placings from 13 starts.

One of 100 stakes-winners for champion sire Encosta de Lago, Puccini is one of six winners from six foals to race from stakes-winning Paris Opera mare Miss Opera.

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