A bold ride from leading rider Samantha Collett paved the way for promising galloper Londaro to bounce back to winning form at Hastings on Saturday.
The statuesque four-year-old created quite an impression when he broke his maiden status on the final day of the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival in October last year. Put aside after finishing midfield in one further run in that campaign, the Lope De Vega four-year-old resumed with an ordinary performance at Waipukurau last month before Saturday’s second up effort.
Caught wide on a muddling speed in the early stages of the 1600m contest, Collett strode forward with 1000m to run to sit outside the pacemaker, Pincanto. After sharing the speed to the home corner, the pair engaged in a tooth and nail struggle as they headed to the winning post. Just as Londaro beat off the challenge of Pincanto he was attacked by a fast finishing Johnny Lincoln who dived at him on the line but came up a nose short of victory.
“He had to do a fair bit of work today after being trapped wide going forward,” said co-trainer Guy Lowry, who prepares the horse in partnership with Grant Cullen.
“He stuck on really well. He is a long-striding horse so I’m not too sure if the slow tracks will suit him in the future.
“She (Collett) did a good job putting him in the race and luckily he held on.”
The victory marked a milestone for Collett as she reached the 100-win mark for the season, the first time in her career to date.
“I’ve got a lot of people to thank but it’s not the end of the season yet,” said Collett as she acknowledged her achievement after the race.
“It’s been a labour of love, not just in this season, but to get to the milestone is really great.”
Collett admitted her original plan had not been to adopt the pacemaking role on her charge.
“When I did the form before the race I had thought about settling in mid-field, one off the fence,” she said.
“There wasn’t much speed on and when the pace steadied I thought I just had to roll forward.
“He’s a big, strong horse and his run last start was better than it looked. Full credit to him as he fought like a tiger.”
Collett currently enjoys a 19-win margin over her nearest rival, cousin Alysha Collett (81), in the race for the National Jockey’s Premiership title with three and a half months left in the 2017/18 racing season.