Malaysian-born rider Shafiq Rusof continued his red-hot run of form when he guided handy stayer Nymph Monte to victory in Saturday’s South Taranaki Club Egmont Cup (2100m) at Hawera.
Rusof returned to the Te Akau Racing team at Matamata earlier this year after riding for a number of seasons in Singapore for leading trainer Mark Walker.
He currently sits sixth on the Jockeys’ premiership with 15 wins, two of those at Group One level on Te Akau stable star Melody Belle who dominated the first two days of the recent Hawkes Bay spring carnival.
Having his first ride on the Grant Nicholson trained Nymph Monte, Rusof gave his mount a lovely run in transit as he sat midfield on the rail behind a hot speed set by the early pacemakers.
Asked to move into the race at the 600m mark, Nymph Monte tracked race favourite Ladies First before dashing to the front with 300m to run. Rusof kept the Tavistock gelding up to the mark as he forged clear to win comfortably from Ladies First with Strolling Vagabond closing off well for third.
Nicholson was delighted with both the win and the ride after anticipating the event would be run at high speed.
“It was a really good win,” he said.
“We knew there would be a lot of pace in this race so, drawn one, he jumped well and put him there before getting off the fence at just the right time.
“He (Nymph Monte) really has a turn of foot.
“We will play it by ear from here, although we have a few options for him. We could possibly go to the Feilding Cup.”
The victory brought up career win number ten for Nymph Monte from 48 starts with two of those coming at Listed level. – NZ Racing Desk