Kitaya looks set for profitable winter after upset victory

Kitaya notches his first New Zealand success at Pukekohe. Source: Race Images.

Ghostly grey gelding Kitaya relished the testing underfoot conditions as he sprang a minor upset in the feature sprint at Pukekohe on the weekend.

The former European galloper arrived in New Zealand last winter after a lengthy stint in Hong Kong and proved a model of consistency without securing a victory in a ten-start campaign.

Allowed to freshen up while the hard tracks of summer prevailed, the Danica Guy trained eight-year-old resumed with a promising showing on his home track at Matamata last month before tackling Saturday’s rating 85 Haunui Farm 1200.

Expertly handled by three-kilogram claiming apprentice Rebecca Scott, Kitaya lobbed along in midfield before issuing a strong challenge early in the run home.

After establishing a break on his rivals Kitaya fought strongly to hold his rivals at bay by a length and three-quarters at the line. “I was pretty confident with him,” said Guy after the race.

“We took the three kilos off him as I knew the track would be wet. His work has been great and he deserved that today.”

Guy was quick to praise the effort of Scott who registered her seventh career victory and fifth for the season with a capable performance.

“He tries very hard every time he goes around but he needs things to go his way,” she said. “She rode him beautifully and quiet. “She didn’t dig him up too much and he had something in the tank for the finish.”

It was the fifth career victory for Kitaya who has now accumulated over $370,000 in stakes earnings.