If on-course patrons at Riccarton thought the noise after Who Dares Wins won last week was at fever pitch it got even louder on Saturday when he backed up to take out the Gr.3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m).
Trainers Tony and Lyn Prendergast, who had performed a remarkable feat last week to get the imposing six-year-old gelding into the winner’s circle over 1600m after a four-month layoff, deserved even greater accolades after the Iffraaj gelding simply out-stayed his rivals over an extra 400m on Saturday.
Settled beautifully in the trail behind free-going pacemaker Dee And Gee, Who Dares Wins travelled kindly for rider Samantha Wynne throughout. Who Dares Wins issued his challenge at the top of the straight as Residential, who finished runner-up last weekend, went with him as the pair shot clear of their rivals.
A titanic battle was settled in the favour of Who Dares Wins who forged clear in the final 100m to win by a length from Residential with Dee And Gee battling on bravely for third.
The victory proved a fitting result after Wynne and Who Dares Wins had been beaten by the barest of margins by Saint Emilion in the event 12-months earlier.
“It was in the back of our minds about last year as he was beaten on the bob by Saint Emilion,” Tony Prendergast said.
“It is nice to get some revenge and he deserved this one.”
Prendergast admitted there had been a few worries about backing the horse up a week after his tough run first-up but the gelding’s trackwork had convinced him he was at the top of his game.
“We only gave him some light trotting and cantering but he just thrived,” he said.
“Any worries we had were put aside and I think his fitness really showed through in the closing stages.
“He did over-race a bit early on, but once Samantha got him in a rhythm he travelled sweetly and was going away on them at the line.”
Prendergast doesn’t have any set plans over the next few weeks for his charge, preferring to play it by ear as to where he lines up next.
“We had thought about the Riverton Cup bit it would mean running three weeks in a row and he would carry the Town Hall weight-wise,” he said.
“I think we will just take him home and tick him over before we pick something out for him.
“He is far more settled horse this time in and racing really well because of it. We have changed his gear slightly by replacing the norton bit we were using with just a conventional one and that has worked well.
“We think there is more in store for him so if we stay patient hopefully, he can deliver for us.” – NZ Racing Desk