The Matamata training partnership of Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard secured an early double with a pair of debutants at Hastings on Saturday.
Redwood filly Petrachor was the first on the board for Ballymore Stables, winning the Carrfields Primary Wool/Carrfields Livestock 1200.
The three-year-old was pushed forward from her outside barrier of 12 by jockey Cameron Lammas to settle outside leader Kate Louise.
She took the lead at the top of the straight and held on to secure a half-neck win over Chosen Peak, with a further half-length back to One Way Street in third.
Gerard was pleased with the win and said her diminutive filly appreciated the Slow8 track conditions after showing a disliking for tracks at opposing ends of the spectrum.
“It’s not the size that counts really, it’s the size of the heart. She’s a tough little filly and trialled up nicely in the summer, she just didn’t really like the hard tracks.
“I brought her back and she trialled really well at Taupo. I thought she wanted some cut in the ground.
“I galloped her up on some heavy tracks at Matamata and she hated it, so it’s good to see a slow track here at Hastings.”
The Moroney-Gerard barn made it a winning double just 30 minutes later when Lily d’Or took out the Stock Co 1200.
Jockey Donavan Mansour surprised Gerard by pressing forward for the lead, but it paid off with the daughter of Cape Blanco running away to an easy 3-3/4 length victory.
“I was quite surprised to see him keep going (for the lead), I thought she was going to sit outside the leader. She can get lost and still hasn’t learnt a lot,” she said.
Gerard said her owners have been patient with the filly and she believes a big future is instore for Lily d’Or.
“She is a lovely filly and is just going to get better. Obviously 1200m is way too short for her.
“She trialled up well (winning her 1025m heat at Taupo). It was a long way up to Ruakaka when we got late scratched, but hopefully today has made up for it (for the owners).
“She still has to learn a few things, but she is very natural and very sensible. She’s a lovely filly.”
The spelling paddock could beckon the rising four-year-old with Gerard wanting to take her time with the promising filly.
“She might even go for a bit of a spell now, we’ll just see how she pulls up,” she said.
“I just want to keep her head right and Cape Blanco’s go better with a bit more time and over more ground. I would just like to see her go right through (the grades).” – NZ Racing Desk