Gobstopper outlasts rivals to win Group 3 New Zealand Cup

Gobstopper was simply too tough for them in the Group 3 New Zealand Cup at Riccarton on Saturday and now bigger cup races might be on the cards. Photo: NZ Racing

GOBSTOPPER has pulled off one of the toughest New Zealand Cup wins in recent history by leading from the outset over the two-mile distance.

The Andrew Campbell-trained stayer was sent forward by 1000 Guineas-winning jockey Sam Spratt and after being taken on by Lexus Stakes placegetter Pentathlon at the top of the straight, Gobstopper pulled out all the stops in the run to the line.

A brother to Hong Kong champion Werther, the well-bred son of Tavistock x. Baggalollies adopted its usual role in front, but not many punters expected the $7.30 chance at Sportsbet.com.au to get such a big lead down the back straight.

“He was having a day out, he could have gone around again,” Spratt said. “He got into a rhythm, they came up to us and he kicked.”

Spratt didn’t want to fight Gobstopper and instead opted to let the five-year-old go at its own steam, which proved to be the winning of the race.

“The more you pull on him the more he pulls against you. I thought there was no point both of us pulling,” Spratt said.

“I was a little worried about the trip, but I think if he can get into his rhythm he’ll go all day.”

The ride was commended by Campbell, who could have been searching for a rider had Spratt not committed to ride Hasahalo in the 1000 Guineas.

“It was a brilliant front-running ride,” Campbell said. “We were so happy when Hasahalo came down, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a rider.”

Gobstopper looks like a natural cups horse for the future and Campbell had indicated his plans for the Auckland Cup when we spoke with him earlier this season.

“He’s a lightly-framed horse that doesn’t need much racing,” he said. “He’s only going to get better with time and like his brother Werther, hopefully we’ll get a nice cup later on next year.”

The John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon didn’t lose any admirers in finishing second after travelling back to New Zealand from Melbourne. The six-year-old failed to make it into the Melbourne Cup, but a placing in the Lexus Stakes and the New Zealand Cup will make connections happy.

Placing in third was Kaharau which was trained by Ken and Lisa Rae, who lined up Prom Queen in the Guineas earlier in the day.

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