Sprinter back to his front-running best

Southern Icon ran his rivals ragged in the open sprint at Te Rapa. Source: Trish Dunell.

A lengthy period of frustration with Southern Icon ended on Saturday for trainer Alan Tait when the talented sprinter returned to winning form.

The six-year-old produced a commanding front-running performance to add the BCD Group Handicap (1400m) to his record.

“Everything has gone wrong in the last two years,” Tait said.

“Hopefully, we’ll be back here in a fortnight and then look toward the spring.”

Plagued by a serious virus and a subsequent leg injury, Southern Icon had opened his campaign seven days previously at New Plymouth where he finished fourth behind the highly-regarded Art Deco.

“I thought his run at Taranaki was good, he had 58.5kg,” Tait said.

“He came through it well and he just loves this place, it doesn’t matter to him if it rains.”

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Southern Icon travelled boldly in front and, after surging clear 350m from home, he strolled home by a length and a-quarter to post his fifth victory on the course.

“It was a good run first-up and when he’s a happy horse he’s a good horse,” said Mark Hills, who has now won eight races on the son of Big Brown.

Awapuni visitor Mighty Solomon got home strongly from last to take second and the stayer Pacorus gave a bold account of himself to finish third in his first outing for six months.

“We had a minor set-back with him six weeks ago with a back issue, but we’ve got that sorted,” trainer Chris Wood said.

Winner of the Group 3 Rotorua Cup (2200m) last season, Pacorus’ effort bodes well for his winter preparation as he gets over more ground.

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