Caitlyns Wish makes all at Te Rapa

Caitlyns Wish
Caitlyns Wish clears her rivals to score at Te Rapa. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Apprentice jockey Maria Sanson has been with Caitlyns Wish for almost every step of her career, and a tough front-running victory at Te Rapa handed them their fifth win together.

The $40,000 sprint was the sixth win from 15 starts for Caitlyns Wish, who has also picked up five placings and has earned more than $124,000 for the estate of the late Stan Painton. Sanson has been in the saddle for 12 of those 15 races, winning five times and placing in another four.

The pair have enjoyed a particularly successful autumn and winter, starting with an impressive win at Wanganui on April 27 and a placing at Pukekohe on May 25. With Sanson riding at the northern meeting on June 1, Ciel Butler took over on Caitlyns Wish when she made another successful visit to Wanganui – the only time anyone other than Sanson has won on the mare. Sanson was back aboard on Saturday as the pair went wire-to-wire to defeat a well-credentialled sprint field.

Plenty of pace was expected, but that script quickly went out the window when renowned front-runner Babylon Berlin bombed the start and settled at the back of the field.

Sanson seized that opportunity, going forward and dictating terms in front while another frequent leader, Johny Johny, sat just behind her in second spot.

Caitlyns Wish shook free of Johny Johny at the home turn, but then she faced another battle down the straight as Gospodin, Highlighter and Dusty Road finished strongly and ate into her advantage. Caitlyns Wish was equal to that challenge, holding out the chasing trio and winning by three-quarters of a length.

The under-rated mare is trained by Stephen Autridge, who is open to the possibility of taking on elite company while Caitlyns Wish is in such outstanding form.

“I might even look at a Foxbridge Plate (Group 2, 1200m),” he said. “She’s in good form, she loves these sorts of track conditions and she likes it here at Te Rapa.

“It was always going to be a tactical race today, and I think we were a bit lucky with the way it worked out. We hadn’t planned to ride her that way, but Maria gets on so well with Caitlyn and she judged it well in this race.

“With those good horses right up at the top of the weights, we were all the way down on the minimum and claiming 3kg as well, so that was a big plus for us.”

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