Belardo gelding Fellini broke through for his maiden victory at Pukekohe on Monday when taking out the Tuakau Cossie Racing Section 1000.
He was the first two-year-old presented this season by trainer Jamie Richards, when a brave third over 1000m at Matamata in October.
Fellini subsequently won an 800m trial at Matamata last month before his second raceday assignment.
Jockey Opie Bosson took advantage of their ace barrier and headed straight for the lead on Monday with debutante stablemate and second favourite Bellano alongside.
Felini kicked clear at the 250 mark and ran away to a comfortable 1-1/2 length victory with the Stephen Autridge and Kris Shailer-trained Val Di Zoldo edging out Bellano for second.
Trainer Jamie Richards was pleased with Fellini’s efforts after a short freshen-up.
“I thought he ran well on debut and we just wanted to give him a bit of time in the paddock and let him strengthen before preparing again,” Richards said.
“He came back in, trialled well at Matamata, and obviously the strength of the trial was vindicated with (stablemate) Taviarma finishing second to Wolverine in Wakefield Challenge Stakes (Gr. 2, 1100m) at Te Rapa.
“He drew well (1) and Opie rode him beautifully. He went forward, controlled the tempo of the race and it was all pretty pain free.
“I’m happy with him and he’s starting to hit his straps at the right time. We won’t have to do too much with him now and he’ll go to Ellerslie on January 9. We like to use that race day as a lead-up to the Karaka Million.
“He’ll have a few days at the water walker now, but he’s qualified for the Karaka Million and we’ll give him a look around Ellerslie beforehand.
“He’s in good shape. He’s a mature type of horse and natural two-year-old.”
Richards won 21 two-year-old races last term in a record-breaking season in which the champion trainer won 164 races across both New Zealand and Australia, amongst them 40 at stakes level and 15 Group One wins. The Matamata trainer has sent out three two-year-old winners so far this season.
Te Akau principal David Ellis purchased Fellini for $40,000 out of Valachi Downs’ New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft in January.