THE big money came late for Gingernuts in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate, which closed in from $4.50 to $2.70 with bookmakers, and it was money well placed.
The three-time group one winner added to its New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas titles with an action-packed finish where it narrowly edged out Tarzino Trophy winner Close Up with Kawi finishing in third after receiving some interference close to the line.
Gingernuts has attracted a cult following in New Zealand, but it had its doubters after finishing fifth in the ATC Derby behind fellow Kiwi Jon Snow, but the Iffraaj four-year-old showed why it’s return to Australia is inevitable.
“He’s still not 100 percent in the coat,” co-trainer Jamie Richards said. “Obviously he’s a good staying horse, but to win at a mile at weight-for-age and a four-year-old is a great effort.
“Big thanks to the team at home, they’ve done a super job.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
Richards made note of the betting plunge for the quality gelding which wasn’t an expensive purchase for Te Akau Stud.
“They really crunched him late. I didn’t have any of my money on, but he’s come back in good order,” Richards said.
“David (Ellis) bought him at the Ready to Run – we didn’t pay a lot for him.”
The large group of owners were decked out in their “G-Nuts” hats which added to the great atmosphere on track at Hastings.
“There’s a great team of owners and we couldn’t be happier with where he’s at,” Richards said.
“The hats say it all, G-Nuts. A very good owner, Bill Taylor, has a van with Gingernuts written on the side.
“It’s great for racing and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Winning jockey Opie Bosson rode the four-year-old a treat before pulling to the outside in the straight and letting Gingernuts’ class take over late.
“I got in behind Kawi and he gave me a beautiful track into the race,” Bosson said. “Halfway down the straight I was a little worried as he kept looking around at everything.
“He didn’t knuckle down until the other horse got up to him. He dug in deep that last bit and there’s so much improvement in him as well.
“He’s an exciting horse which is still learning his trade.”
The temptation to return to Australia could be on the cards for Gingernuts, which has the option to stay for the Livamol Classic (Spring Classic) on the final day of the carnival.
“We won’t make any decisions today. We’ll have a chat to David in the morning and see how he pulls up,” Richards added.