Consistent galloper Dougie rewarded his many supporters when he delivered an emphatic victory in open company at Te Rapa on the weekend.
The Peter Lock-trained four-year-old had placed in both of his starts in his current campaign after closing out a summer programme with a win at Ellerslie back in December. A fast-finishing effort for second at Ruakaka last month saw him installed favourite for the J Swap Contractors 1600 on Saturday and he didn’t disappoint as he sprinted clear in the run home to score in the hands of leading South Island rider Chris Johnson.
Lock joked he was more concerned about his riders strike rate for the stable rather than the Te Rapa track surface when questioned after the race.
“Everyone is a bit worried about the track at the moment but when I looked up the stats it wasn’t the track I was worried about,” he said.
“I think he’s had six unplaced rides for me, so I was more worried about that.
“He’s a horse on the move who has just got better and better this time in.
“He travelled into it really nicely today and at the half mile he was always going to win the race.
“He was a very weak and immature horse early on but he always showed he just needed time.
“We work him on the treadmill we have at home now and that has really settled him down.”
Lock advised the horse would undertake an Australian campaign, where he will accompany stablemates Mr Luigi and Hiflyer.
“I’m pretty sure we will be heading to Australia with him now,” he said.
“There’s a benchmark 1600m race for $100,000 in a fortnight so that will be his first target.
“Mr Luigi will also run for $100,000 in his grade at Rosehill this Saturday while Hiflyer will tackle a Listed 1400m handicap race there as well.
“Johnathan (Parkes) is coming over to ride Hiflyer and if he does everything well then we will look at something bigger and better later on.
“Our main aim is to go there to look at that and see how we go.”
The victory was win number 101 for Johnson this season, who has made an admirable fist of defending his National Jockey’s Premiership crown from last year. He currently sits in second behind runaway leader Samantha Collett who added a double on the day to move to 121 wins with just over three weeks of the season left to run. – NZ Racing Desk
Dougie bolts home at Te Rapa