Exciting South Island sprinter Don Carlo made it two from two in his summer campaign with a gritty victory at Wingatui on Saturday.
The Per Incanto four-year-old returned from a three month break with a victory over 1000m at Riccarton in February, with trainer Michael Daly warning then that the best hadn’t yet been seen from his charge.
Daly was of the mind that his stable star had made the necessary improvement to be a major factor in Saturday’s Prince Of Brooklyn (1200m) open sprint and so it proved as Don Carlo out-toughed his rivals to score a narrow but convincing victory.
“He has really come on since Riccarton and I thought if he got the right run he would be awfully hard to beat on Saturday,” said Daly.
“Once he jumped so well and put himself in the race I was feeling pretty confident.
“He only does enough to win which I guess is what you want as it doesn’t take it out of them so much.
“They don’t give out any extra prizes for winning by ten lengths, so I’ll take the win anyway it comes.”
Rider Kylie Williams used the gelding’s barrier speed to put him in the perfect position early in the contest as Jazzman set a torrid speed in front. Asked to quicken by Williams as they swung for home Don Carlo quickly went up outside Jazzman to hold a narrow advantage.
In a furious finish to the event outsider Koxinga burst through the pack to try and chase down Don Carlo but to no avail as he responded to the urgings of Williams to pull out to a neck advantage at the line.
“I did get a little worried when they started charging at him, but Kylie said he was always going to win,” said Daly.
“When he saw that other horse closing on him he kicked again and was holding them all at the line.
“He’s only had the 13 starts now so he still has a lot to learn about the racing game. I think you will see a much better horse next year.
“He can have one more start in this prep and then we will put him away. He will go out at the top of his game and we can then look forward to getting him back for the spring later in the year.”