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Pop 'N' Scotch will be ridden by Robert Thompson

Telegraph Handicap contender Odyssey Moon will not be the only Australian-trained horse chasing feature race success at Trentham in New Zealand this weekend.

The Robert Smerdon-trained Odyssey Moon has drawn wide but is at single figure odds for Saturday’s Group One Telegraph (1200m), while in the Group Three Wellington Cup (3200m) Richard Laming has Sly Romance and Liam Birchley will start Pop ‘N’ Scotch.

Pop ‘N’ Scotch will be ridden by Australian record holder Robert Thompson.

Laming said the Wellington Cup had been on the radar with Sly Romance, a last-start winner over 3000m at Moonee Valley.

“It was always in the back of our mind,” Laming said.

“It’s over two miles which suits him. It’s worth $250,000. The timing was right and the horse is in good form and won nicely at the Valley. So it seemed common sense to take him.”

By Pentire, sire of 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance, Sly Romance also won metropolitan races in Victoria over 3400m and 4000m last year.

Laming said the five-year-old had settled in well since arriving across the Tasman a week ago.

“It’s hard to weigh up the form but they tell me that he’s right in it. I spoke to a few people over there that know the horse’s form from here,” he said.

“We’ve drawn barrier four, we’ve got a good rider (Jonathan Riddell), he’s going to get a good run and the conditions suit.”

Laming’s trainer father Bevan is with Sly Romance who will travel from Cambridge to Wellington on Friday morning.

“He settled in well and galloped on Tuesday morning and his work was good,” Richard Laming said.

Laming will wait and see how Sly Romance performs before deciding whether to keep him in New Zealand for the Group One Auckland Cup in March.

Pop ‘N’ Scotch has finished second in the past three Queensland Cups over the Wellington Cup distance and finished third over 2200m at the Gold Coast at his most recent start.

 
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