Appoint Percy A1 for Randwick — Trainer Luke Pepper

Former Kiwi Appoint Percy looks well-placed to rack up his second Australian win in tomorrow’s TAB Highway Plate (1600) at Randwick.

The Canberra-trained gelding won an Albury BM65 (1400m) at just his second outing for the Luke Pepper stable — and just missed two weeks ago in a TAB Rewards BM71 (1550m) at Canterbury.

Pepper says everything has gone to plan since Appoint Percy arrived from New Zealand.

“He’s improved every start,” Pepper says.

“When I first galloped the horse I knew he had ability but he did a lot wrong and I honestly didn’t think we would be at Randwick this early in his Australian career. 

“It just shows the improvement he has made and he’s done everything we have asked of him.

“He’s still doing a few things wrong, but he has good natural ability.

“I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s pulled up well from Canterbury.

“It was very hot that night and being from New Zealand he would never have experienced that sort of heat, but he handled it really well and hardly sweated up.

“He came home and has been A1 ever since.”

Pepper says Appoint Percy was a highly strung horse when he arrived in Canberra.

“He had a tendency to over do things in his few New Zealand starts. It’s been just a matter of teaching him to relax.

“He showed a good turn of foot in his first start over there and looked a smart horse, but after that tended to bring himself undone. 

“We have ironed those things out and we couldn’t be happier with him really.”

Pepper says Appoint Percy was originally destined for the Matt Dale stable in Canberra.

“Matty was actually full at the time and couldn’t fit the horse in and he kindly recommended me to the owners.

“Matty and I have been mates for a very long time and help each other out when we can, and I am grateful for the way things worked out.”

Before taking up training Pepper was acknowledged as one of the country’s top track work riders and did much of the ground-work on the champion galloper Takeover Target — including accompanying the horse when he raced in Japan.