A rails-hugging ride paved the way for Hastings visitor Peso to land his biggest career win when he took out the Listed Jakkalberry Classic (1950m) at Rotorua.
The Paul Nelson trained gelding brought good form into the race having been narrowly beaten on his home track on the middle day of the Hawkes Bay spring carnival at his last start.
Rider Rosie Myers took full advantage of an inside barrier draw as she positioned Peso nicely in the trail after disputing the early lead. Switched off the heels of the tiring pacemaker Peacock approaching the home corner, Peso dashed through on the inner again to grab control in the final 150m as he held out Woodsman and Highlad in a desperate finish to the contest.
Success in a lower-class event over the same distance at the corresponding meeting twelve months ago had Nelson believing the lightly-raced seven-year-old was a big chance to emulate his deeds from that day.
“I didn’t like to say but when he won here last year he ran faster than the open grade horses,” he said.
“On that you had to think he could probably do it (today).”
Nelson, who shares in the ownership of Peso with wife Carol, admitted the inside barrier draw and a heady ride from Myers had played a major role in the victory as his thoughts turned towards the opportunities available to his charge over the next few months.
“Without a doubt it helped as I think if we had of got that draw at Hastings he would have been a lot harder to beat,” he said.
“Just for a minute when Peacock went back we thought he might have got carted back but Rosie got around him so it was a nice ride.
“There are lots of nice races around, so we’ll just assess it from here and hope we don’t get too carried away.”
Imported mare Igraine, who started favourite in the race, caught the eye with a flashing finish for fourth after finding traffic problems back in the field when attempting to move into contention. – NZ Racing Desk