Nigel Tiley’s home meeting on Friday ended a whole lot better than it started.
The Pukekohe trainer produced Brighton to beat his stablemate The Justice League in the Ssangyong Handicap (1600m), a result that eased the disappointment of scratching the top colt Demonetization from a supporting Rating 75 event.
The pre-post Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) favourite remained at home after getting cast in his box overnight.
“He’s a little bit sore behind, hopefully in three of four days he’ll be back to normal,” Tiley said.
“It’s not the end of the world though and there’s a similar race for him at Te Rapa next month as a lead-up to the Avondale Guineas and the Derby.”
Stable spirits were lifted after Brighton made full use of a race run at a genuine clip to enable the five-year-old to show his true colours.
“He needs speed in his races, he’s got a good closing 200m,” he said. “As long as he comes through this okay I’m going to back him up in the Taranaki Cup where the 1800m won’t bother him.”
Brighton sat three back on the fence and when the gaps opened for him he hit top gear for a convincing win over the front-running Justice League, who was a month between runs after missing the Group 3 Anniversary (1600m) at Trentham with a foot infection.
“I thought the last 200m might find him out, but he was brave,” Tiley said. “He met a fitter horse on the day who was really looking for the mile.”