A potential trip to the Queensland Winter Carnival is in line for promising three-year-old Riding The Wave after he produced a stunning display at Te Aroha on Saturday.
The Nigel Tiley-trained galloper had disappointed many after failing to win at his first two starts when warmly supported following a comfortable win at the Ruakaka trials.
Tiley felt a brief break for the Malibu Moon gelding would do him the world of good so he was put aside after finishing sixth on his home track at Pukekohe in early December. The move paid immediate dividends with Riding The Wave registering an impressive maiden victory over 1400m at Avondale last month upon his racetrack return.
That victory convinced Tiley to throw his charge in at the deep end in Saturday’s three-year-old 1400m contest, up against horses of the calibre of Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) runner-up Dawn Patrol and Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) winner, Espresso Martini.
Unfazed by the prospect, Riding The Wave enjoyed a cosy trip in transit before cruising into contention for rider Leith Innes at the 300m. Two big bounds carried him clear as he dominated the closing stages of the contest to defeat Anything But with Peaceful running on gamely for third.
“He’s a serious horse,” Tiley said.
“He just did a few things wrong with his first couple of starts so we gave him a break and started again with him.
“We changed a bit of gear with him as well and he’s the real deal I think.”
Tiley, who shares in the ownership of the horse with wife Lee, sister-in-law Mandy Rutherford and Grant Barnett, was quick to praise the efforts of Innes who has been on board Riding The Wave for each of his four starts.
“When you put a rider like Leith on, they know what they’re doing, they’ve got the horsepower underneath them and you just leave it to them,” he said.
“As soon as I saw him come out three-deep on the corner I thought ‘hello here we go’.”
Tiley will now sit down with his co-owners to decide on a plan for their charge over the next few months which is likely to include a trip across the Tasman to Brisbane.
“We discussed that (the Queensland Winter Carnival) and I said if he wins today, we are going to have to consider it,” Tiley said.
“I’ll have a chat to Leith, as I know Leith has a big rap on him, so I would think he will be on the plane.”
Connections of race favourite Dawn Patrol were left scratching their heads after their charge over-raced fiercely in front throughout before fading out to near last in the home straight. – NZ Racing Desk