ADMIRAL sails home in the Listed Haunui Farm Karaka Classic
$50,000 Feature Winner
Former Pukekohe trained galloper Admiral made a triumphant return to his former home patch when he streeted his rivals in Sunday’s Listed Haunui Farm Karaka Classic (1600m).
Although most pundits expected the free-going Align gelding to make the pace in the race, popular opinion had it that he would be found wanting by his better credentialed rivals at the business end of the contest.
Admiral and rider Viktoria Gatu initially followed that script as they set off at break neck speed to establish an early lead on their rivals however, as they approached the home turn, it became apparent no-one had told Admiral how the story was supposed to finish.
Gatu had the powerful gelding pinging along beautifully and increased the lead margin as they rounded the home bend as their rivals started to become urgent in their chase. The pursuit was ineffectual though as Gatu and Admiral maintained a spirited gallop throughout as they relished the heavy underfoot conditions to lead all the way and score easing down by just over five lengths at the winning post.
Cambridge visitor Blizzard closed strongly from well back to grab second while former Hong Kong galloper Willie Cazals showed he was returning to his better form with a tidy effort for third.
Ecstatic trainer Stephen Ralph, who is now based at Te Rapa after moving from his initial Pukekohe base, admitted he was one of those who had concerns about how his charge would cope with the 1600 metre journey after having never previously won past 1200 metres.
"That light weight really does help, it was what we needed,” admitted Ralph after the race.
"He was coming back home as this is where he started off so he knows the place well.
"I thought he was going to faint when they were so far out in front but good on Viktoria, a job well done.”
Ralph also admitted he hadn’t initially planned to tackle to contest with Admiral but was persuaded to do so by the gelding’s owner, Stuart Seath.
"I wasn’t looking at the race but it was Stuart who wanted him in the field,” he said.
"That’s what we did so good on him as well.”
The win was the fourth for Admiral from 24 starts and took his prizemoney close to the $100,000 mark. - NZ Racing Desk