The patience of Dez’s connections could be rewarded again at Riccarton this weekend.
A few years ago Dez was content spending his time leisurely grazing and wandering around the Waipukurau beef and sheep farm of his owner-trainer, Simon Wilson. But on Saturday he will be attempting to record his fifth win from 10 starts when he contests the Christchurch Casino Winter Classic (1800m).
The lightly tried seven-year-old son of Zed missed landing the main prize, the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m), on the first day of the Grand National Carnival last Saturday, but his performance for third behind Platinum Command and She’s Poppy was eye-catching.
With Lisa Allpress in the saddle, he emerged late after being handy enough halfway down the home straight and was doing his best work at the finish to suggest the step up in distance will suit him even better.
“He just hit a flat spot and he does that,” Wilson said.
”He’s still pretty inexperienced so we’ve taken it one race at a time. He’s come through last Saturday well so he can back up then I’ll give him a chance to freshen-up.”
Bought out of a Dannevirke paddock by Wilson, Dez has always shown talent. He won his first two starts during the winter three years ago, bolting in by more than six lengths in his second outing at Otaki over 1600m.
But he suffered a tendon injury after finishing fourth in his third start and did not reappear at the races until May this year with Wilson and his part-owners, Sam Lennox and Paul Mitchell being very patient.
During that 32-month absence he had one trial and, apart from that outing, the majority of his time was spent recovering on the farm of Wilson, a New Zealand show-jumping representative.
“We just wanted to give him as much time as he needed,” Wilson said. “When he came right I started working him around the farm then sent him up to Sam to work on the treadmill.”
Dez finally returned to the races at his local meeting at Waipukurau on May 3 and showed he had lost none of his ability, winning over 1600m.
Since then he has picked up a couple of placings and he sealed his Riccarton trip with a win in the Whyte Handicap (1600m) at Trentham last month.
Now with a record of eight cheques in the bank from nine starts, Dez looks set to produce another honest effort for his patient owners. – NZ Racing Desk