Fresh off winning the first feature race on the card at Te Rapa on Saturday aboard Waitak in the Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial (1500m), South African jockey Craig Zackey added the main event of the day when he guided Prise De Fer to a narrow victory in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m).
Zackey used similar tactics to those he employed aboard Waitak as he allowed the seven-year-old Savabeel gelding to settle last before improving to join the leaders inside the final furlong and hold a narrow margin to the line to defeat the fast-finishing Taranaki visitor Sinarahma.
The win capped a superb day for trainer Mark Walker who had earlier produced the trifecta in the two-year old race with Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million (1200m) contenders Tokyo Tycoon, She Turns Heads and Talisker while also taking the first race of the day with Soprano Supremo.
Those victories complemented his winning double at Wanganui where he took the feature event, the Listed Steelform Roofing Group Wanganui Cup (2040m) with La Flora Belle and an undercard event with Inca Belle.
The Matamata mentor cut a satisfied figure after Prise De Fer captured his tenth career victory, as it was his first win in six starts in his current campaign, although he had been placed in four of those runs including finishing third in the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings.
“It was a really good effort as horses like this can be tough to place at times,” Walker said.
“They are at the top of the handicaps and this race worked out really great today.
“Full credit to David Ellis as we have had five winners today and he has bought four of them.
“The horse really deserves this and you never know, he may turn up in the Captain Cook Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) next week.
“He’s been all around it in the Group Ones, but he is getting older and that makes it tougher.
“He is a stable favourite so great work from him today.”
Zackey remained humble as he gave all the praise to his mount for the win.
“He is a superstar,” he said.
“Down the back he was getting crowded and the pace was on as he was getting bumped around.
“I just tried to save as much energy as we could before I hooked him out and said come on this is what we do.
“He has come home and produced, he did all the work and this will give him some real confidence.
“He is a lovely natured horse and he is definitely not stopping with this.”
Raced by the Te Akau En Garde Syndicate, Prise De Fer was purchased as a yearling by Ellis for $100,000 out of the Trelawney Stud Karaka 2017 draft, where he was offered on behalf of breeders Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd.
The half-brother to Australian Group Two winner Belong To Many, Prise De Fer has now won ten of his 38 starts along with being placed on another 15 occasions and stakes earnings in excess of $650,000.
Saturday’s victory was the seven-year-old gelding’s second Group Two victory, while he has been placed at Group One level on five occasions.