Veteran raises the roof with Cup victory

Veteran raises the roof with Cup victory10 Dec 2022

Hardy veteran Viktor Vegas struck a blow for the older generation when he plowed through the wet underfoot conditions at Te Rapa to blitz his rivals in the Gr.3 SKYCITY Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m).

The nine-year-old son of Tavistock has been reinvigorated under the guidance of trainer Casey Lock and belied his advanced age as he backed up the form that saw him run close up in third in the Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) at his most recent start.

Rider Kozzi Asano allowed his charge to find his feet in the early stages of the contest, which was run on a Heavy8 surface that had been badly affected by persistent heavy showers earlier in the day, as he dropped out to a clear last in the first 800m.

With the pacemakers taking a wide berth down the back straight and around the home bend, Asano took full advantage as he picked a path between runners to strike the front early in the run home.

Asano went for the doctor with Viktor Vegas responding to his urgings as he skipped away to a four-length lead which he maintained to the winning post to defeat Dionysus and Aromatic, who chased gamely to the line.

Lock was overjoyed with the win in a race that she had dreamt of success in since riding 2002 Waikato Cup runner-up Lord Mellay in trackwork twenty years ago.

“I don’t know what to say other than I am just so lucky to have such an amazing horse like him,” she said.

“He is my best mate as we do everything together and I’ve known from day one he just needed ground.

“I used to ride a horse called Lord Mighty Mellay in trackwork and he came second in this race and I have always wanted to win this one for me and for Dad.”

Lock advised Viktor Vegas will spend a week in his paddock and then she would aim him for the Gr.3 NZ Campus for Innovation and Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham on January 28.

Asano was all smiles as he accepted congratulations from friends and family after the race.

“The way he was travelling down the back straight I was in trouble as I just had to get out,” he said.

“Once he got away at the top of the straight, he was just too good for them.

“I wanted to stay wide on him but there were too many horses doing the same, so I couldn’t.

“In the end it didn’t matter as the horse is just so capable.

“My parents are still here visiting so it is great to get the job done in front of them.”

Bred by Bob Emery and now raced by Lock, Viktor Vegas began his career in the hands of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable where he won twice before transferring to Lock’s father Peter who won a further three races before being taken over by Lock where he has recorded two wins from seven starts to take his overall record to seven wins from 35 starts and $234,000 in prizemoney.

The win capped a special day for the Lock family with Peter producing gallant mare Faithful Feat to win the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m) earlier on the card. – NZ Racing Desk