Christopher Grace’s celebrations on Saturday were topped off in style at New Plymouth.
The prominent Hunterville breeder and owner’s familiar green jacket and gold sleeves were home at the head of the Group 3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) after Rosie Myers guided to victory.
“It’s Christopher’s birthday today so this is a good present,” Awapuni trainer Roydon Bergerson said. “I thought the horse would be a big chance.”
A winner two runs back, Beefeater came into the race off the back of a fourth placing in the Group 3 Anniversary (1600m).
“He came through Trentham well and he probably needed the race at Wellington after missing a run at Awapuni,” Bergerson said.
Beefeater has now won six of his 23 starts and a crack at the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa next Saturday is now up for discussion.
“I’ll speak to Mr and Mrs Grace and we might chuck in a late nomination,” Bergerson said.
A son of Alamosa, Beefeater settled back in the field before Myers put the pre-race plan into action.
“I said to Rosie to get him going at the 600m mark and keep him rolling, he’s a big horse and it was a good ride,” Bergerson said.
Beefeater strode to the front in the straight and fought off the challenge of Scapolo, who was giving the winner six and a-half kilos, to win by a neck with Travimyfriend a solid third in front of Brighton.
“You can’t afford to get held up on him and when we got to the front he pulled up,” Myers said.
“To his credit though, when Scapolo came up he really fought hard.”