Karaka graduate Crosshaven broke a 14-start drought when running out a ready winner of Saturday’s Gr.3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1400m), holding off game runner-up Norwegian Bliss by a comfortable three-quarters of a length.
Prepared by Ben and JD Hayes, Crosshaven promised plenty as a three-year-old where victories in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and Gr.3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) were split by a fourth placing in the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) won by Ole Kirk.
The now five-year-old has plenty still to offer. After sitting just behind the speed and tracking Streets Of Avalon throughout, Crosshaven finished too powerfully and staved off the challenge of the hitherto unbeaten daughter of El Roca, Norwegian Bliss.
"We've had to be very patient with him. He's often threatened and just been narrowly beaten and the owners have been very patient with us which has been good and together we've got a result like that,” Ben Hayes said.
“Well done to his breeder Daniel Nakhle in New Zealand, who shares in the ownership and to everyone at home.”
Hayes praised the ride of Mark Zahra, with the jockey deriving the benefit of riding the son of Smart Missile two starts back when fifth.
“He's quite a difficult ride and he's got a very awkward action. He gets his head up. Mark got him to relax today which was the key and it's good to see him really hit the line,” Hayes said.
"He was getting frustrating but to win a big race on a day like this is rewarding. We'll have a good think about it, his rating is going to go right up now so we'll have to look at what's around, I don't think there is too much but maybe over Christmas there could be a good race for him.
Bred by Auckland-based Daniel Nakhle, the five-year-old gelding is one of five winners from as many to race out the Group Two winner Irish Colleen, who Nakhle had purchased for $8,500 at the 2005 NZB National Weanling Sale and enjoyed racing with father Elias.
An $80,000 yearling graduate of Haunui Farm’s 2019 Karaka Book 1 draft, Crosshaven was initially passed in before selling to Lindsay Park with Nakhle retaining a share.
Now the winner of six of his 22 starts, Crosshaven advanced his career earnings to A$836,203.