Back-to-back wins at his home track on Saturday continued a remarkable season for New Plymouth trainer Robbie Patterson. The first leg of the double came from Aridity, who scored the sixth win of her 24-start career in the Thrifty Car Rental 1600. It was her fourth win from just eight appearances this season. Just 35 minutes later, the highly promising Coventina Bay was too good for her opposition in the Energy Vets Taranaki 1200. From just five career starts, the daughter of Shamexpress has now won four races.
“It was another great day yesterday and we’re having a boomer of a season,” said Patterson, who has won 17 races from 50 starts in 2019-20. He is rapidly closing in on his career-best total of 20 wins from 128 runners in the 2013-14 season. “We’ve had a really good strike rate this year. “I think the main difference has been that normally all of my best horses are sold – that’s just the nature of the beast. “But most of my top performers this year have been mares, and I’m lucky enough that the owners have turned down offers to buy them and have decided to keep racing them themselves. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to keep training these horses – they look like real black-type contenders, so it’s exciting.”
Patterson is particularly excited about Coventina Bay, who he is now aiming at the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on March 14. “I think she’s right out of the top drawer,” Patterson said. “I expected her to win yesterday, just because she does things on the training track that most other horses can’t do, but she was only at about 70% for that race. “After she won at Te Rapa in November, she had an ailment called kissing spine. She was a bit sore and needed treatment. “She’d made good progress since then, but she was still a long way from the top of her game for that run yesterday. So it’s onwards and upwards from here.
“There’s a 1400-metre fillies and mares’ race at Matamata on February 22, or a Rating 82 at Ellerslie a week later. She’ll run in either of those and then on to the Cuddle Stakes. “We might look at the Cuddle for Aridity as well.”
The other standout performer for Patterson this season has been Dezella, who won three of her seven starts and placed in the Group 3 Waikato Cup (2400m) in December. The Zed mare’s campaign ended with an 11th placing in the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m). “She basically did all of that on her first preparation, all the way up to the Wellington Cup,” Patterson said. “It was a great preparation, but she was a pretty tired horse at the end of it. We’ll give her a good, long break now – she’ll be out for about four months. “We might look at the New Zealand Cup (3200m) in the spring.”
Patterson was born and raised in Southland but formed a friendship with Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow through the purchase of subsequent Gore Cup (2000m) winner Something Happened in the 1990s. That led to a move north and a stint working for Thurlow, followed by a training partnership with fellow Waverley trainer Kevin Gray, which coincided with the career of multiple Group One winner Legs. The pair parted amicably in 2006 when Gray decided to relocate to Palmerston North.