Promising three-year-old Run To Perfection got his timing spot on when he lunged late to score in age group company over 1200m in the first race at Ellerslie on Sunday. The Stephen Marsh-trained galloper hadn’t been sighted since finishing a gritty fourth behind Catalyst in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton back in November and went into the race without a lead-up trial. Handled patiently by in-form rider Jason Waddell, the Sepoy colt sat behind the early pace in the six-horse field before angling into the clear in the run home.
Pacemaker Madam Hass looked as though she might keep her winning form-line intact as she was holding the challengers at bay at that point but Run To Perfection drove hard to collar the filly right on the line. “He’s a colt that we have a lot of time for,” Marsh stable representative Todd Pollard said. “He’s one of the better three-year-olds in the stable. “The 1600m might be a touch too far for him at present so sprinting might be the caper for him, but he’s a bloody nice horse.” Pollard indicated that Run To Perfection would now be set for the Group 3 Henley Park Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night (January 25).
The Marsh stable made it a winning double when talented mare Santa Catarina bounced back to winning form in the second race on the programme, the open 1200m contest. It took Waddell an extra race to claim his double but he did it in fine style with a perfectly executed front-running effort on Pimlico in the day’s other three-year-old contest, the Barfoot & Thompson (1500m).
Prepared at Cambridge by Andrew Campbell the Proisir gelding had used similar tactics to score over 1400m at Matamata at his last start. Just as with that performance he never looked like being headed once Waddell cuddled him up in front before asking for a serious effort in the last 300m.
Pimlico responded gamely to stride clear of runner-up Hasstobegood with the other Campbell-trained runner Tibetan making up good ground late to finish third. “He’s improving out of sight and it was a great ride by Jason to stack them up and not give much chance to the ones behind him,” Campbell said. “His main aim is the Karaka Mile and it was good to see him get around this way as last time at Tauranga he hung badly going this way around.”
Campbell was referring to the $1million Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 25 for Pimlico, a race that Tibetan could also feature in although both horses also hold nominations for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at the venue on February 29. “His (Tibetan) main aim is the Derby but he’s also qualified for the mile and he went really well,” Campbell said. “He will improve out of sight from the run and he hit the line good, so I’m real happy.”
Rich Hill Stud will offer a full sister to Pimlico as Lot 985 during Book 2 at the National Yearling Sale series at Karaka later this month. Marsh and Waddell combined for a third win later on the day when Lincoln King took out a rating 72 2100m contest.