Promising chaser The Arabian Duke showed he could be a force to be reckoned with in next season’s major jumping events with a devastating victory in Sunday’s Bayleys Waikato Hunt Cup Steeplechase (4250m) at Te Aroha.
Patiently handled by one of the stars of the jumps season in Aaron Kuru, The Arabian Duke sat back off a torrid early pace set up by race favourite Yipson. Kuru set his mount out after the leaders with 1000m left to run before swooping to the front with two fences left to clear.
The Arabian Duke negotiated both safely as he forged clear to win by two and half lengths from Yipson who battled on gamely to shade southern visitor Delacroix in a photo-finish for the minor placings.
The win was just the fourth in a 52-start career for The Arabian Duke however he has now won twice from just three attempts over the bigger fences.
Earlier in the day outsider Hesalljazz dented a few reputations when he took out the day’s feature hurdle event, the Faulkner Drainage Maramarua Hunt Hurdle (3100m).
The Stephen Ralph trained runner led for the final 700m to land his biggest career victory in the hands of rider Lemmy Douglas.
The victory capped a good weekend for Ralph who produced underrated mare Santa Monica to win the open sprint at New Plymouth on Saturday. – NZ Racing Desk