Te Akau Racing capped off a strong day at Riccarton on Saturday with a brave win by Swing Note in the Listed Christchurch Casino Spring Classic (2000m).
The tangerine and blue colours had been prominent throughout the day, with Wide Awake and Remington winning their respective races before Swing Note secured her first stakes victory.
She settled off the pace for in-form hoop Shafiq Rusof, before looming wide on the turn. Despite looking all out with 200m to go, Swing Note surged again to beat home the Kevin Hickman-owned pair of Zentessa and The Heiress by a neck.
“It was a good tough win, she looked beaten half-way down the straight, but kicked back so we’re very pleased with that,” trainer Jamie Richards said.
Swing Note’s last-start fifth-placing over a mile at Timaru was disappointing for Richards, but he said he was pleased with her two previous wins this campaign and was buoyed by the feedback from Te Akau’s South Island team, headed by his father Paul.
“We were just a little bit disappointed with the run,” he said. “She was probably looking for 2000m already and she was sort of tripped up by the wet track.
“We have put a line through that and the team in the South Island have been very pleased with her and that gave us a bit of confidence to push on.”
Swing Note is currently nominated for the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) and Gr.3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton next month, but her staying ability has her team leaning towards testing her over the two-mile distance.
“We’ll just give her a couple of days, but there are more black-type races through the carnival for her,” Richards said.
“She’s still in the New Zealand Cup and the Coupland’s, if we wanted to freshen her up and drop her back. But I’d say by the way she is racing she looks like she is going to stay well this year, so there are plenty of options for her.”
Meanwhile, the Cambridge stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will have another strong contender for next month’s Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) after The Chosen One’s dominant victory in the Listed Zacinto Stakes (1600m).
The unbeaten son of Savabeel went into the mile feature as a dominant $2.80 favourite after winning on debut at Waverley earlier this month, and won accordingly.
He was pushed forward from the jump by jockey Matt Cameron and was able to dictate terms throughout, winning by two and a quarter lengths over In A Twinkling.
“It was a very good run, he won quite easy,” Baker said. “I thought he was a chance from what he has shown.”
The Chosen One will now head towards next month’s 2000 Guineas where he will be joined by fellow Baker-Forsman runners Madison County and Qiji Express.
“We’ll probably go to the 2000 Guineas, but it’s a much stronger class,” Baker said. “It is only his second start, so he should improve a bit.” – NZ Racing Desk