Young Japanese apprentice jockey Taiki Yanagida may have some good-natured ribbing coming his way on Monday morning after he guided the Lee Somervell trained Stradivarius to victory at Te Rapa on the weekend.
Yanagida is apprenticed to the Matamata training partnership of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and it was stable runner Andoyas who Stradivarius held out in a desperate finish to the rating 82 1400m contest.
Somervell offered the mount on Stradivarius to Yanagida after the O’Sullivan-Scott team opted for experienced jockey Michael Coleman to ride Andoyas. It was an inspired decision as Yanagida produced a first-class effort to guide Stradivarius home after leading throughout.
“Credit to Taiki as I told him if he was going to lead he had to be a length clear so they wouldn’t niggle at him,” said Somervell.
“At Rotorua last time he got taken on and he just can’t relax. This was a lovely ride and the ride of a boy destined to go places.”
More often a bridesmaid than a bride, the victory took the six-year-old Stravinsky gelding’s record to three wins from 40 starts with another 18 minor placings.
Former Hong Kong galloper Andoyas caught the eye with his sparkling finish, one of the few horses to make ground from the rear on a day where on-pace runners were favoured.
The eight-year-old German bred runner won three races during his Hong Kong career and will be better suited over more ground. He looks a ready-made prospect for some of the feature summer staying events for a group of well-known owners that include former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull, former New Zealand soccer player and coach Ricki Herbert and Waikato Racing Club chief executive Ken Rutherford. - NZ Racing Desk