Trainer Peter Lock hopes he has found in Hiflyer the exceptional horse that could win a major race after the quirky gelding burst away winning the $35,000 New Zealand Red Cross over 1400m at Te Rapa on Friday.
Lock has been patient with the talented untapped five-year-old going through the grades, only stepping up to Group company three starts back when a close second behind Close Up in the Gr.2 Easter Stakes but bigger plans are afoot including a tilt in Sydney.
Sent out odds-on favourite, Hiflyer ($1.90) the gelding settled midfield three wide but with cover, challenging turning for home, comfortably holding out his rivals. Group One winner Consensus (A.Collett) finished a length back in second with Wellington Cup winner Maygrove a nose back in third.
“I didn’t want to be too far off them after watching the first race, so we raced a bit handier. We got some cover and they didn’t go overly fast. He was travelling so sweetly at the 600m mark and he’s shown a good turn of foot,” Johnathan Parkes said.
“I feel he’s up to Group One and I feel he’s certainly going to get further than a mile later on.”
The win was the son of Tavistock’s fifth win and with three second placings in his last eight starts.
Hiflyer’s winning time was 1:24.76 (last 600m in 34.83) on an improving Dead6 track.
“I think we had a fair bit of help” trainer Peter Lock said in reference to his mother Ruth, passing away the previous day.
“He’s a very special horse and it’s a special day today. One I’ll always remember. We changed our riding plans today. We normally ride him a little further back than that, but after watching the first race, the first three at the turn were the first three home so we decided to ride him handier.
“He’s still a little back in his coat, so there is improvement in him so we are looking forward to going to Wellington with him. We are aiming for the Thompson, and we’ll decide what to do after that, whether to go to Australia or other plans. It’ll be a highlight of my career if I can win a big one with him.”
Bred and owned by Cambridge Stud’s Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, Hiflyer is raced in partnership with the Go Henry Syndicate.
It was Hiflyer’s sixth win and with seven second placings from 16 starts, takes his stakes to $153,785. - Waikato Racing Club