Promising stayer Orepuki Lad scored the biggest win of his career when he led all the way in Saturday’s Listed Fire & Mechanical Contracting Ltd Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m) at Wingatui.
The athletic Raise The Flag gelding was having just his twelfth start and first in open company in the Dunedin feature for the father and son training partnership of Graham and Michael Eade.
Placed in his last four starts, the five-year-old gained a deserved victory after doing all the donkey-work in front for rider Leah Hemi. Hemi set-up a steady speed throughout the contest and it was obvious she had most of her rivals under pressure with 600m to run.
Sent for home at the top of the Wingatui straight, Orepuki Lad never shirked his task as he maintained a powerful gallop to down another promising stayer in Aboli with Shakti finishing on well to grab third.
Graham Eade was confident of a forward showing from his charge after he had come of age in this campaign.
“He was a big gangly thing last year but once he came back from his break he really grew up,” he said.
“He’s never been a great eater but that has improved and now he has strengthened up he can round his races off much better.
“He is a real cruisy dude as nothing bothers him. In fact, he nearly went to sleep when we put him back in the box after the race.”
Eade admitted to some concerns about Orepuki Lad having his first run over 2400m in the race but was buoyed by the booking of Central Districts apprentice Leah Hemi.
“I did have a small concern about the trip, but he is from a great staying sire in Raise The Flag while his dam was shaping up over distance before she was retired due to injury,” he said.
“We were delighted to be able to get Leah to ride him as she really gets on well with our horses.
“She won the Invercargill Cup on La Nouvelle Vague with a great ride and she has done the same again today.”
Eade will now give Orepuki Lad a few light days in the paddock before deciding on any further targets. – NZ Racing Desk