Locally trained mare Lil Miss Swiss caused a major boil-over when she nabbed hot favourite Orepuki Lad in the shadows of the winning post to capture the Listed Carriers Arms Hotel Riverton Cup (2147m) on Saturday.
Sent out at odds of $42, the Rip Van Winkle five-year-old was having her first start in open company for owner and trainer Kelvin Tyler, who prepares the mare in partnership with daughter Aimee.
Apprentice Tanya Jonker, who had won on the mare at her last start, produced a gem of a ride as she bided her time at the back of the field throughout before beginning a searching wide run as the field approached the home corner.
Punters who had installed Dunedin Gold Cup winner Orepuki Lad as the warm favourite were on good terms with themselves at this point as rider Leah Hemi took a wide berth on the home corner before forging to a clear lead with just 300m to run.
Lil Miss Swiss and Jonker were still four lengths behind the leader at that point but making up ground steadily along the outside fence. Lil Miss Swiss hit overdrive at the 100m and with three huge bounds she grabbed Orepuki Lad in the final stride to record the biggest victory of her career to date.
Jonker was beaming when interviewed, although she admitted she had mentally settled for second before the final placings were announced.
“I thought Leah (Hemi) and Orepuki Lad had got up,” she said.
“I was just really happy with her (Lil Miss Swiss) performance and the way she pushed herself at the end (although) I didn’t think I had got it.
“It’s kind of her style and works for her when she gets a clear run. I just didn’t know if she had the wheels to beat some of the really good horses in the race today.
“She’s got a big heart and it paid off.”
Lil Miss Swiss is the first foal of Flying Spur mare, Miss Swiss and was bred by Andrew Wong and Stephen Yan who, along with trainer Gary Hennessy, raced multiple Group One winner and now successful stallion, Ocean Park.
The win marked a red-letter day for the Tyler pairing who took out the opening event with two-year-old He’s Got Power before closing off the third leg of a winning treble with Valetina Vittoria in the last race on the programme. – NZ Racing Desk