Rangi Toa was a strong winner in his Australian debut on the Randwick-Kensington track on Monday afternoon, leading all of the way in the 1400m event under Brenton Avdulla.
The son of Shamexpress won his first two starts in brilliant style in New Zealand as a two-year-old, before he had his colours lowered by Turn The Ace in a Listed 2YO race on May 8, 2021.
The three-year-old gelding was having his first start since that defeat, so co-trainer Adrian Bott said it was “rewarding to see” him back in the winner’s circle off such a long break.
RANGI TOA’S AUSTRALIAN DEBUT WIN
“It’s very rewarding to see him respond and return in the manner which he has,” Bott told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“It was a very good effort – strong win – left the tactics up to Brenton in terms of where he wanted to be on the track, but I think once we saw how well the horse was travelling throughout the race and saw him angling out, he was obviously pretty confident how he was going at that stage.”
The former New Zealand-based galloper had trialled four times in Australia since August last year due to a few minor setbacks, so Bott was thankful for his patient owners.
“He didn’t quite show that tactical speed in his trials, over those shorter trips – he was in some fast-run heats – so it was good to see him hit the ground running today,” the trainer continued.
“He looked very interested in the way he took it up, so it was very encouraging right from the outset.
“It looks like he’s got the scope to train over a bit further, so that will be the plan – take him through his grades and see how far we can take him.”
Although Bott didn’t set the bar too high for the impressive 0.83-length winner, he was confident that the horse will continue to meet whatever bar is set for him.