Evergreen sprinter New York Jazz capped off a run of solid form when he showed just how tough he is in a tight finish taking out the Matost 60th Celebration (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The Stephen Ralph-trained six-year-old brought up career win number eight and his third at Te Rapa when he refused to yield in a head-to-head struggle with topweight Crystallize over the final stages, taking the decision by a nose with Aero De Paris a further three lengths away in third.
Rider Tegan Newman brought up her fourth win aboard the son of Niagara and received special praise from Ralph for her patient effort.
“Wins can be hard to come by with this guy and I thought Tegan rode him extremely well,” he said.
“He is one of those horses who doesn’t tend to have a lot of luck in his races and he needs the right type of rider to help him out, so Tegan suits him really well.
“He runs on all types of tracks and gives his best each and every time, which you can see by the fact he has finished in the first five in 43 of his 68 starts.
“People tend to underestimate just how good he is, but he has competed against the best sprinters in the biggest races and hasn’t been disgraced at all.
“What we haven’t been able to achieve just yet is a stakes win as some winning black-type for the family is what we want as we own his younger full sister, who is ready for a breeding career and it would make it for her if he could get a stakes win.”
Ralph has the final of the ITM/GIB Sprinters’ Winter Championship Series (1400m) at Ruakaka on July 16 as a target for New York Jazz, despite him having never won over the 1400m journey.
“We think it is just bad luck that has stopped him winning over 1400m in the past, so I’m not worried about that for Ruakaka,” he said.
“He just needs the right run in the race and if he gets it then he will be right in it.
“Three starts ago he came from last to win running away at Pukekohe, where he clocked 33.1 seconds for the last 600m so he has the ability.
“He is a horse that absolutely thrives on stable life and he is a very happy horse at the moment.”
Ralph thought he might have been able to sneak another win on the Te Rapa card but had the misfortune of seeing promising jumper Tahuroa Height slip and fall on the flat when making a promising run into contention in the first maiden hurdle race of the day.
“We had thought Tahuroa Height was a big winning chance at Hastings at his last start, but he got badly bottled up in traffic and only managed to run fourth,” he said.
“Saturday was going to be the big day then but just as he was coming into contention, he clipped heels and lost his rider (Kelly Joyce).
“It was pretty disappointing, but I know in my heart he has a big future as a jumper on the really deep winter tracks so he will keep for another day.”