Debutant Codigo provided dual success for his connections when he produced a brave effort to win the Waikato Stud@Karaka 2023 (1200m) two-year-old contest at Matamata on Tuesday.
Raced by his breeder, Dame Lowell Goddard along with race sponsors Waikato Stud, Codigo becomes the first winner for his sire Ardrossan who was retired to stand at Waikato Stud in 2019 after a racetrack career that saw him win four of his nine starts including twice at stakes level while also finishing third in the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
Unbeaten in two trials leading into his raceday appearance the Stephen Marsh-trained Codigo was expected to be prominent on debut, although he had to cede the favourite’s tag to the Mark Walker-trained filly She Turns Heads, who had finished runner-up to her unbeaten stablemates Trobriand and Tokyo Tycoon in her first two starts.
The pair settled down to fight out the finish to the contest soon after straightening, with Codigo gaining the upper hand in the closing stages to win by a head after a stirring battle.
Marsh was thrilled by the manner of the victory after his charge had been attacked in front most of the way but still found plenty in reserve to fight off the challengers.
“He was brave as he was marginally slow from the barrier and then he got headed in the straight, but fought back like a good horse,” said Marsh, who trained Ardrossan for the majority of his career.
“He knew where the line was and was doing his best work there.
“He is actually a real chip off the old block as he looks like his old man and seems to have inherited plenty of that ability.
“We’ll see how he comes through this but I’d like to take him to Trentham later in the month for the Wellesley Stakes (Listed, 1100m) as I think he would be suited to a big, roomy surface like that.”
Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick was on hand to celebrate the victory along with Goddard, who made the trip from Wellington for the race.
“The whole story is just so good around this guy as Dame Lowell bred him and then we got involved when he was a yearling,” Chittick said.
“She is on track to see him race today and I think that has given us all a thrill and it is a great reward for all of the syndicate who have supported Ardrossan.
“The syndicate has worked tirelessly to boost his numbers and I think the wonderful thing is that he appears to have really stamped his first few crops and is leaving consistently good types.
“The other fun fact is that Codigo is named after a quality brand of tequila and I would think there may be a few to be drunk later tonight in celebration.”
Ardrossan will be well represented at the 2023 National Yearling Sale at Karaka later this month with seven individuals on offer during the Book 1 sale and a further 12 in the Book 2 sale. The sale will run for six days starting on January 29.
The first two-year-old event on the card was also won in impressive fashion by the Satono Aladdin filly Firestorm, who overcame a tough run three-wide outside the pacemakers throughout, to dash clear in the run home and register a one and a half-length victory.
Prepared by Paul Mirabelli at Cambridge, the filly had won an 800m Avondale trial last month and was expected to be one of the leading chances in the event which she proved with a tenacious performance.
Out of the Istidaad mare Dancing Embers, Firestorm comes from an extended family that includes dual Australian Group One winner Zarita.
Woburn Farm will offer a half-brother to Firestorm by Sweynesse as Lot 727 during the Book 2 sale at Karaka.