Apprentice Wiremu Pinn added another highlight to his burgeoning riding career when he produced a daring ride aboard Marton visitor Uareastar to take out the Group 2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie.
Pinn, who has had a chequered-start to his apprenticeship and only recently returned from a lengthy suspension, had registered his first Group One victory just last month when guiding Mascarpone to victory in the Group 1 El Cheapo Cars WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki.
He has now added the feature two-mile race to his achievements, taking the bull by the horns when making a mid-race move to get handy to the pace on the Fraser Auret-trained five-year-old mare, which proved the winning of the race.
From barrier 16, Uareastar raced back with cover early, but under a calculated Pinn ride eased forward down the back straight to join pacemaker He No Opilio.
Urged to the front with 600m to run, Uareastar shot three lengths clear rounding the home turn as race favourites Concert Hall and Sound began to hunt her down.
Despite wandering around under pressure over the concluding stages, the daughter of Jakkalberry clung gamely to the lead, outlasting Concert Hall by a neck with Sound a length back in third.
It was an impressive training feat by Auret who had backed his judgement not to race the mare since her last-start fifth in the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) back in January.
“It’s just fantastic and about seven weeks between runs for her,” Auret said.
“I purposely didn’t start her again (after Wellington) and I was hoping I hadn’t done the wrong thing as every other horse had run within the last fortnight.
“She is very good fresh and if we were in England, they do it all the time (space their runs).
“I actually thought she got lost at Wellington as the ultimate trip at two miles is not something that comes naturally to them, so we were happy enough with that run.
“She is very cantankerous, so the staff have done a great job with her.
“This is our first big win here, so it is a shame they are going to rip the track up now.
“She is still only five so still has some growing up to do, but she has been worth the wait.”
Auret was referring to the major track renovations that are about to commence at Ellerslie which will see the current track replaced with a Strathayr surface, with racing to be put on hold at the venue for at least eighteen months after Monday’s trials at the venue.
Despite being unseated by the mare on his way back to the birdcage, Pinn was taking the victory in his stride and was keen to thank Auret for the opportunity presented to him.
“We drew the widest gate and she had a tough run, so full credit to both her and Fraser,” Pinn said.
“She hasn’t run since the Wellington Cup, so it was a pretty good training effort.
“During the run I didn’t think there was any point in sitting out three-wide, so I thought it was better to go forward and save some ground.
“I’ve taken off early and she has shown her toughness and held on nicely.
“Most of Fraser’s horses are that tough and it’s good to get a win like this for him as he is my biggest supporter and I appreciate everything he does for me.”
Uareastar becomes the third individual stakes winner for former Novara Park stallion Jakkalberry who tragically passed away in 2018 after standing just four seasons at stud in New Zealand.
Bred by Dan Myers, she is out of the Danehill mare Enchanteress and has now won six of her 15 starts and over NZD$387,000 in prizemoney.