IN Racing
Ayrton back with Group Three bang
Classy galloper Ayrton sounded an ominous warning to his Queensland Winter Carnival rivals
NZ Racing Desk | April 16, 2022
Ayrton glides clear in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield. Photo: Trish Dunell

Classy galloper Ayrton sounded an ominous warning to his Queensland Winter Carnival rivals when resuming from a lengthy break to win the Gr.3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

The four-year-old was having his first run since last September after a spider bite halted his career.

The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained galloper was given a perfect run behind the speed by Jamie Kah and accelerated when a gap presented in the straight to defeat Streets of Avalon by 1¼ lengths, with Excelida third.

A son of Iffraaj, Ayrton has now won six of his eight starts and Kah said the horse had improved in his time away from racing.

"He's just improved each time I've ridden him," she said. "From when I first rode him at Bendigo, he felt like a nice horse but didn't give me any exciting feel but today is probably the best he's felt and he accelerated.

"He hasn't just run along in front and kicked away, he's had to stop and go again and if they can keep him ticking along there's no doubt in my mind that in his races he'll be really competitive."

Price was delighted to see Ayrton commence with a soft win, knowing there is good improvement to come.

“He had one 1200 metre trial. We were trying to fit a race into a Queensland program for him, so usually I don’t come to the races without two trials and I thought ‘well, he’s going to be underdone’,” he said.

“But a beautiful ride and the race worked out perfectly.”

The Cranbourne trainer paid credit to his partner Shona Drechsler along with the South East Vet Clinic as Ayrton faced a challenging road back to health.

“He was at South East Vet Clinic. When they go there sometimes it is a one-way ticket, sometimes not, but always it is intensive treatment,” Price said.

“Big bill, intensive treatment, great vets out there, and then we nursed him on the farm at home.

“Shona and I, she’s done a great job Shona. The horse needs that sort of ‘TLC’, he spent a long time there and he’s come back nice and sound and in one piece and off to Queensland he goes.”

Price confirmed that Ayrton will have a three-race campaign in the sunshine state, including the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m), Gr.1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and Gr.2 Q22 (2200m).

Ayrton was bred by Cambridge accountant Greg McCarthy, who remains in the ownership group after a private sale was negotiated by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo after the horse finished second in his only trial in New Zealand at Te Teko for trainer Lauren Brennan.  – NZ Racing Desk