Favourite upset, but stud still celebrating

16 Sep 2017

The familiar colours of Cambridge Stud dominated the finish of the open sprint at Ruakaka, although the result went an unexpected way.

They bred and retain an ownership interest in Hiflyer, who was sent out a warm favourite in Saturday’s New Zealand Bloodstock Finance Handicap (1200m) only he had to bow to Ronchi, another product of Sir Patrick Hogan’s powerhouse nursery.

Trained by Bruce Wallace and Allan Peard, Ronchi went into the event off the back of an unplaced run when resuming on the course earlier this month.

“Last time out he got blocked so it was a good run and we expected him to go forward and be very competitive,” Peard said.

Rider Grant Cooksley took Ronchi to the front and the Stravinsky five-year-old made the running and held all challengers at bay in the run home.

“Very happy with that,” Peard said. “He’ll go to Hawke’s Bay next, there’s a 1400m race there for him.”

Hiflyer was making his first appearance since he finished runner-up in the Gr.2 Easter Stakes at Ellerslie in April.

At Ruakaka, he was lost for early speed and settled at the tail of the field before rider Johnathan Parkes urged him closer near the turn and the Tavistock gelding ran home generously for second.

“Instead of trialling him on heavy ground we decided to come here for the better track,” trainer Peter Lock said. “He’ll improve a ton.”

The Te Aroha horseman said he has set Hiflyer for the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap at Trentham at the end of next month, though he could join Ronchi in contesting the Gr.3 Sprint Sprint (1400m) at Hastings on October 7. – NZ Racing Desk