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Jumper given early licence to thrill

Thenamesbond (right) clears the last on his way to victory. Ooee (centre) finished third with Just Got Home (left) fourth - Trish Dunell
Thenamesbond (right) clears the last on his way to victory. Ooee (centre) finished third with Just Got Home (left) fourth

Trish Dunell

A Te Rapa game plan for Thenamesbond was executed to perfection by jockey Will Gordon for the pair to earn major honours in the Waikato Hurdles.

The hardy jumper was urged to put the pressure on his rivals a long way from home in Saturday's PJR Porritt Sand-sponsored feature by the gelding's rider and that proved the winning of the race.

"I wanted to get the others off the bit a long way out and turn it into a real staying test," part-owner and trainer Stephen Ralph said, explaining the tactics.

"Will managed that perfectly, full credit to him. When he started riding pretty hard down the back I thought good on you, the horse can stay."

Although Thenamesbond was headed three flight from home, his reserves of stamina came into play and he came back strongly to defeat the longshot Yardarm and Ooee.

"He's a really tough horse and very much a one-pacer so the plan was put the pressure on the others early," Gordon said.

"He's quick and economical over the jumps and he fought back really well."

Twice successful on the flat, Thenamesbond has now won seven times over hurdles and last winter he was successful in his debut over the big fences at Te Aroha.

"He's only eight and he's probably got three, if not four, years left for steeplechasing so there's plenty of time and we don't want him to get too high up in the weights just yet," Ralph said.

The disappointment of Saturday's race was the 2013 winner Sea King, who drifted to last 700 metres from home and didn't jump the final fence. – NZ Racing Desk.