McNab lifts Mehzebeen to Taupo Cup triumph

Mehzebeen (outside) beating Town Cryer in the Taupo Cup (2000m) on Saturday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

The feature event on the programme at Taupo on Saturday came down to a battle between two of the best riders in the country with victory in the Taupo Cup (2000m) going the way of Michael McNab on Mehzebeen ahead of Town Cryer and Opie Bosson.

Bosson, who recently became only the eighth local jockey to register 2000 career wins, was at his brilliant best aboard the front-running topweight Town Cryer (60kgs) as they attempted an all-the-way victory for trainer Roydon Bergerson only to be pipped by McNab on the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-prepared daughter of Almanzor who enjoyed a 6kg pull in the weights.

McNab sat back near last in the 10-horse field as Town Cryer raced away in front and at one stage was more than eight lengths in arrears of the pacemaker.

McNab picked a path one off the fence approaching the home turn before finding clear air at the 300m as the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) runner-up charged to the front with 50m to run, downing a gallant Town Cryer with Pep Torque three lengths adrift in third ahead of favourite Nom De Plume.

Sam Bergerson was delighted to see the mare burst back into winning form in her first start since returning from the Riccarton Spring Carnival in November although he admitted the victory made it a little awkward in the jockeys room where he watched the race with his father.

“We had a big swing in the weights which was probably the winning of the race in the end, along with a magical ride by Michael,” Bergerson said.

“She was really stiff down at Riccarton when finishing sixth in the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2600m) and she has done really well since she got back home.

“She has really matured in the last six months and we think there is more to come from her as she continues to strengthen up.

“We’re not sure where she will go to next but there is a special conditions race over 2100m on Wellington Cup Day at Trentham that is worth $350,000 so that holds a lot of appeal given she absolutely thrives on a big roomy track like that.

“Some of her owners are here today so it is good to be sharing this with them, although I watched the race with Dad (Roydon) in the jockeys room and when they went past the post I was trying to celebrate while also feeling for him.

“All I can say is I’m glad Christmas is over as if we had done this beforehand the presents may have been a little scarce.”

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