Thrilling finish to Herbie Dyke Stakes

Tiptronic
Tiptronic (outer) has his nose down at just the right time to take out the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) Photo credit: Race Images – Kenton Wright

A nail-biting finish to the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa was settled in favour of last year’s runner-up Tiptronic when he stuck his nose in front at just the right time to down a gallant True Enough in the day’s middle-distance weight-for-age feature.

With South Island raider Camino Rocoso setting a breakneck speed in front, it was left to True Enough and Tiptronic to drag the field up to the tearaway who still led by six lengths approaching the home turn. The pair went to war shortly after straightening as they quickly collared the pacemaker with no more than a neck between them over the final 350m.

Just as True Enough put his head in front, Tiptronic fought back to get the deciding stride in for his first Group 1 victory and sixth career win from 30 starts.

Rider Jason Waddell, who had earlier picked up the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) aboard Jennifer Eccles, was nearly speechless when asked for his reaction after the photo-finish had confirmed the Graham Richardson-trained runner had got the win. “Wow I’m a little bit lost for words,” he said. “Congratulations to Graham and Rogan Norvall (assistant trainer) and their whole team, as the horses are prepared magnificently and trained right down to the second. “I got into a lovely spot, right where I wanted to be and geez we had a good battle down the straight and it’s not often you out-tough one of Murray’s (Baker) so I’ll take great pleasure in doing that.”

Richardson admitted that from his vantage point he feared Tiptronic had been beaten for the second time in the race after finishing behind On The Rocks in 2019. “I’m just really proud of him as the horse deserved it,” Richardson said. “He’s always been the underdog so it’s a perfect result. “Actually, I thought he had run second again but it was a great ride by Jason as he worked it out. “I couldn’t be happier for the owners and especially for the horse.”

Richardson was also delighted with how the O’Reilly six-year-old has bounced back to his best this season after his form had dropped away following the race last year. “He was just growing and had had a couple of hard runs,” he said. “He’s just so casual about things and takes it all in, but sometimes they go through a season like that and need a good break before they come back. “I don’t know what’s next for him but if we can keep fresh legs in him then he will be happy.”

Richardson admitted he was toying with a start in the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 7 but would not make any plans until he had monitored the horse’s recovery from his exertions.