Lightly raced stayer Arby continued a purple patch of form for the father and daughter training combination of Darryn and Briar Weatherley when he stormed to victory in the Gr.3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2000m).
The son of Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir, Arby had won his maiden over 1600m at Pukekohe two starts back before finishing off strongly for sixth in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham a fortnight ago.
Settled near the rear of the field on Saturday by rider Sam Weatherley, the third of the Matamata family involved in the mix, Arby relished the step up to a middle distance for the first time as he launched an irresistible late finish to down race favourite Desert Lightning and gallant filly Cheval D’or.
Arby is the younger half-brother of Listed New Zealand St Leger (2600m) winner Ess Vee Are, who had lashed out at Darryn Weatherley in the Trentham birdcage after that win, causing the trainer to spend a number of days in hospital due to a damaged artery in his thigh sustained during the incident.
That irony was not lost on Weatherley as he spoke after the win.
“I’ve held up good and will be trotting up in front of the vet on Monday,” Weatherley joked.
“It was good field at Wellington last time and he (Arby) had no favours and really got to the line generously in a good field.
“He looked like he was looking for the 2000m and with the speed on today, he hit the line well.
“He is a half to Ess Vee Are so we are lucky to have the breed in the stable with the owners who have supported me.
“When he started out he won two trials which was the same as Pier (Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner) and I couldn’t separate them.
“I’ve always held him in high regard and he is giving the owners a great thrill.”
Arby is raced by the Clothier family under their RBC racing banner after breeding him from of their O’Reilly mare Reiveke, who hails from the family of Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) winner Centaurea.
Sam Weatherley was taken with the performance by Arby and was keen to steer his connections in the direction of the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) during the Brisbane Winter Carnival on May 27.
“That meant a lot,” he said.
“I really hope they have a think about Queensland, as I think we have the right horse to go over and I wouldn’t mind a holiday.
“I was so confident a long way out when they stepped the pace up, as he came up underneath me and it is a shame that he didn’t make it to the Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) due to a few issues, but that may have been a blessing.”
Arby becomes the thirteenth individual stakes winner for Proisir with six of those coming during the 2022/2023 racing season.