Consistent performer Tokorangi finally got the luck she needed when she stormed to victory in the Group 2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa.
The Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard-trained three-year-old had had to settle for minor placings in several stakes races prior to Saturday’s effort, having placed third in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) before running on strongly for fifth in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) during her spring campaign.
Another solid effort for fourth in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) preceded Saturday’s performance where she was sent out fourth favourite at $7.00 behind Montre Moi ($2.00) for the Group Two feature.
The 2000m of the contest was expected to suit the daughter of Redwood and so it proved as she sat nicely in midfield for rider Andrew Calder before easing into contention approaching the home turn.
Calder asked Tokorangi for a serious effort at the 150m and she bounded to the front before clearing away from gallant pacemaker Zee Falls who held on gamely for second from the fast-finishing Perfect Scenario and favourite Montre Moi, who came from last to finish fourth.
Gerard was swamped by members of the large syndicate who race Tokorangi as they excitedly waited for their pride and joy to weigh in after the race.
“They are great owners who having been waiting quite a while for this,” Gerard said. “She’s shown a lot of promise all the way through, although a little frustrating, but with the 2000m today she has shown them what she can do.
“Earlier on as a two-year-old she came out running and that’s how we thought she would be.
“She has come back as a three-year-old and has wanted to get off the bit and has been hard work to get going.”
Gerard has a number of options to look at for the filly, who hails from the family of noted Hong Kong performer Regency Dragon and was a $30,000 purchase by Paul Moroney from the Bradbury Park draft at the 2019 Book 2 sale at Karaka.
“We’ll have a chat with the owners and with Mike (Moroney) to see where we go next,” Gerard said. “She may go straight across the Tasman next, but for me the Derby (Group 1, 2400m) is the one we want to look at.”
Tokorangi holds a nomination for both the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 6 and the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 20 where she is at a Fixed Odds quote of $6.00 (Derby) and $8.00 (Oaks) respectively.
Calder, who was having just his second ride on the filly, was delighted with performance by his mount.
“She has got plenty of ability, but she has been unlucky in the past,” he said. “Today she was nice and quiet before the start and was able to use her good gate (4) to get into a nice position.
“When I gave her a click down the back, I knew I had a fair bit of ammo underneath me and when she got out, she was pretty explosive and very impressive.”