Hypnos’ victory in the Gr.3 Powerworx Taranaki Cup (2000m) at Awapuni on Friday proved to be a sentimental one for co-trainer Roger James.
The Group One performer is owned by long-time stable clients Ron and Fran Dixon and James said it was an emotional win as a result.
“I got a big thrill out of it,” said James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood.
“He is not the easiest horse at distances further than a mile, but he has always had a lot of class and he is an elder statesman in our stable now.
“It was for my first ever owner, and an owner who he and his wife have become great friends.
“We have had wonderful success over the years, it just meant a lot to us to do that today.
“He is probably getting to the twilight of his career and that was a neat win.”
Hypnos jumped away well from his ace barrier and took an early trail behind pacemaker The Mitigator where he remained until he was asked to improve turning for home by jockey Ryan Elliot and he was able to respond, winning by 1-3/4 lengths over Zola Express, with a further short neck back to The Mitigator in third.
It was the first win of the season for the Reliable Man gelding, having placed in the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m), Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m), and Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m).
He subsequently ran sixth in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) and eighth in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) last start.
“All season his runs haven’t been bad, they have lacked a bit of luck, except his last start when he ruined his chances by pulling far too hard on not a real genuine pace,” James said.
“I sent him to Taranaki thinking that it was a really good race for him, 1800m was the ideal trip, and it looked like a race with a lot of pace in it.
“When it went out to 2000m (when transferred to Awapuni) we wondered whether there was going to be enough pace to help him settle, but it proved that way and it was a good ride by Ryan (Elliot, jockey).”
James said Hypnos will now likely head for a spell.
“He probably goes to the paddock now and we will look at another prep in the spring,” he said.
James won’t have to wait long to get his next stakes racing fix, having two Group contenders at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Group Three performer Achieve will tackle the Gr.2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) while stakes placed Charmario will contest the Gr.3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m).
While pleased with both runners heading into the weekend, James said he was slightly concerned about the wet weather and is hoping the track doesn’t deteriorate from its Dead5 rating on Friday afternoon.
“I am a little bit concerned about the track conditions. We have had quite a lot of rain here in Cambridge,” he said.
“They are both contenders. I am very happy with them both and I think they are both well placed.”