Progressive galloper Dawn Patrol overcame a wide run and some talented opposition to register his second win from as many starts when he scored over 1400m at Matamata.
The Frank Ritchie trained gelding had been all the talk when he stepped out at the same venue last month to register a comfortable victory over 1200m when breaking his maiden status on debut.
Nominated for next month’s Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, the youngster relished the increase in distance to 1400m on Saturday as he glided clear of his three-year-old rivals in the hands of Opie Bosson despite sitting three-wide, albeit with cover, for the entire journey.
“It was a step up as he still has a few things to learn,” Ritchie said.
“We talked about it and I said (to Bosson) that I’d like to see him get a bit of cover because he can be aggressive when he is out in the open.
“It was a bit of a worry but he managed to get him cover and he got the job done.”
Ritchie will now sit down and work out where he goes next with his charge with some thought being given to bypassing the 2000 Guineas in favour of a richer prize closer to home.
“I’m worried about the trip home from Riccarton, coming back by road,” he said.
“It takes a bit out of your horse and you need a month off.
“He’s nominated for the Karaka Million three-year-old so we’ll have a think about it and work it out.
“He’s still only so-so to go there (Riccarton).”
The Listed Karaka Million Three-year-Old (1600m) sports a $1million prize pool and will be run at Ellerslie on 26 January.
Dawn Patrol is raced by former Auckland Racing Club board member Rex Jensen who paid $20,000 for him from the Monovale Farm draft during the Select session of the 2017 National Yearling Sale at Karaka. – NZ Racing Desk