Ōpaki mare Ruby Rocks rocked over the closing stages and cruised to a convincing win in the TAB Bonus Back Wairarapa Cup [2050m] at Tauherenīkau on Tuesday.
To the cheers of the large Waitangi Day crowd, the seven-year-old daughter of Burgundy raced away to win by two lengths as she recorded the biggest win of her 40-start career.
Rider Sam Weatherley was content to sit back in the early running as tearaway pacemaker Love For All set up a torrid speed out in front.
Weatherley and the rest of the field began to get urgent at the 600m and started chasing down the leader with Ruby Rocks swooping to the front around the home bend.
Weatherley kept her up to the mark as she maintained a strong gallop to defeat race favourite Achieve and Lincoln Star, who both battled on bravely in the run home.
Trainer Roger Allen was delighted the mare he co-bred with wife Ann had bounced back from a pair of midfield efforts at Trentham where she hadn’t received a lot of luck in the running.
“It was a very tough win and great to get her back on a firm track,” Allen said.
“She doesn’t like it shifty, and her last two starts at Trentham really didn’t suit the way the track was there.
“It was also a perfect ride by Sam as he got her settled and put her in the race like we had asked him.
“She seems to be thriving now at a middle distance, so I think there is a rating 75 2200m at Ōtaki in a couple of weeks, which is where she is likely to go next.”
Allen was looking forward to heading home with the mare and enjoying a cold beer and a dip in the pool after battling the stifling heat on-course.
“It’s stinking hot here today, so it will be good to get home, feed up, then settle in for a beer and a swim,” he said.
“It’s a pretty big group of owners in her, including plenty of locals and some friends of my daughter from up Waiuku way, so I’m sure they would all have got a kick out of the result today.”
Ruby Rocks is out of the Black Minnaloushe mare Rapidpower and has an extended family that includes Australian stakes performers Voli Dream and Shankhill Lass.
She has now won seven of her 40 starts and more than $132,000 for her owners, the Bindy One Syndicate.
A stunning display of resilience and courage in the heat of battle saw progressive mare Town Cryer win the feature Clubs NZ @ The Races Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes [1600m] in a torrid three-way tussle.
The Roydon Bergerson-prepared six-year-old was one of the main fancies in the listed race after finishing third in the Anniversary Handicap [1600m] at Trentham last month.
Jockey Craig Grylls was content to sit outside surprise pacemaker Flower Of Wānaka during the early running before taking control of the race, rounding the home bend.
That lead was short-lived as she was immediately headed by Sugah Sweet while Matamata visitor Snazzytavi was also joining in further out.
The trio set down to a stirring battle as Town Cryer kicked back under vigorous riding from Grylls to reclaim the lead at the 100m and hold out Sugah Sweet by a head at the line, with Snazzytavi just a long head back.
Bergerson paid tribute to the determination of his mare, saying, “She is such a tough mare, and she never knows when she is beaten.
“Gryllsy said all the way down the straight she kept lifting, and he thought she could have gone another 400m and still held them out.
“When she got headed, I did think we might be running for the minors, but she doesn’t know when to give up and got the lead back and the win,” Bergerson added.
– Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk