A truly run race set up the perfect conditions for Cambridge three-year-old Lord Arthur who stormed to victory in the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie.
A half-brother to dual New Zealand Horse of the Year, Bonneval, the Camelot gelding is prepared by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, who had produced stablemate The Chosen One for victory in the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick barely thirty minutes earlier.
Touted as a staying prospect earlier in the season, Lord Arthur had been thereabouts in his recent starts that included an eye-catching run for sixth behind The Chosen One in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni.
Allowed to settle well back in a strung-out field which was led at a true pace by fellow Cambridge raider, Gehrig, Lord Arthur and rider Jake Bayliss lobbed along quietly before making their run at the 600m.
Promising filly Intrigue struck the front with 250m to run but just as she was being hailed the winner, Bayliss brought Lord Arthur down the outside to swamp her with another Baker/Forsman runner in Bobby Dee clinging on well for third.
“That was very impressive,” Murray Baker said.
“He’s a half to Bonneval who has been a little bit immature. We’ve spaced his races and given him plenty of time.
“I gave him a stayer’s show today with plenty of pace on. He showed good acceleration.”
Baker had the inkling his charge was starting to round into form after strengthening up in recent weeks.
“He’s been a bit weak, but he’s started to get it together in the last month or so,” he said.
“There is a possibility he could go on to Brisbane from here.”
Bayliss was all smiles after picking up the ride on Lord Arthur on race morning.
“I came in with a fair bit of confidence after picking the ride up this morning,” he said.
“There was good speed on throughout the whole race and he was travelling so well coming to the corner.
“He gave me a good turn of foot although when we got to the front, he started to do a little bit wrong.
“In twelve months-time he is going to be a key stayer for the cup races.” – NZ Racing Desk