Progressive galloper Howbowdat got his timing just right when he stormed home out wide to score over 1400m at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The strapping Any Suggestion gelding completed a winning treble for trainers Bob and Jenny Vance with daughter Maija aboard for all three victories. The win provided joy and a welcome distraction for the Vance family who were mourning the death of Jenny’s father earlier in the week.
Sporting a black armband in a tribute to her grandfather, Maija Vance put on a polished display aboard Howbowdat who travelled keenly throughout the early stages of the rating 75 contest. Vance kept the strapping Any Suggestion gelding deliberately wide as she searched for the best footing available on the heavily rain affected surface.
Allowed to stride forward approaching the home turn, Howbowdat joined issue halfway down the straight before forging clear to record his fourth victory from just 9 starts.
Co-trainer Bob Vance admitted he had been worried about the state of the Te Rapa track before the race.
“When you can break 33seconds for the last 600m I really didn’t think he would handle the track,” he said.
“I thought he could get some of the money, but I really didn’t think he could win.”
Vance was quick to praise his daughter who followed his instructions to the letter during the race.
“She did exactly what I said, just ride him back, settle him and ride him wide,” he said.
“She did everything right.
“She’s riding terrific, but she just hasn’t been getting any good rides.”
Vance is confident that his charge has what it takes to make it through to open company.
“He will just go through the grades now,” he said.
“He will eventually end up in open company and I think he can win a black-type race, but he will go through the grades first.
“I think 1400m is his best trip as I don’t think he will get 1600m the way he travels.”