It was a magical day for Mark Oulaghan on Sunday.
The Awapuni trainer took out the Steelformers Roofing Kiwi Memorial Waverley Cup (2200m) with Semper Magico before collecting the Champion Jumper Award for West Coast’s deeds last season at the 2022-23 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards in Auckland.
Semper Magico headed to Waverley in good form, having won and placed in his previous two starts, and Oulaghan was hopeful of a bold showing.
The son of Per Incanto settled in just behind the speed for jockey Kozzi Asano, who asked his charge to improve three-wide turning for home, and he called on his reserves to hit the front and see out a late challenge from Kingfisher Lad to win by a head.
“That was a handy effort. He stuck on well yesterday and showed a bit of determination in the finish, which was encouraging,” Oulaghan said.
“He has always been a good galloper, but he has always had a bit of trouble putting things together on raceday. He might be starting to now and hopefully things continue going in the right direction.”
Oulaghan co-bred and co-owns the gelding, who has now won six races and more than $130,000 in prizemoney.
“We had his mother, Semper Fidelis,” Oulaghan said.
“She was a Grosvenor mare and she was quite a good race mare. She won a Trentham Stakes (Gr.3, 2400m), a Marton Cup (Listed, 2200m) and a few other races, she was a good mare.
“This is her last foal and she was getting on a bit when she foaled him.”
Another stable runner having a hit-out at Waverley on Sunday was West Coast, who had a quiet outing over 2200m ahead of Sunday’s Ben & Ryan Foote Racing Great Northern Steeplechase (6400m) at Te Rapa.
“He (West Coast) is heading for the Northern next Sunday, so we will see what he can do there,” Oulaghan said.
“He raced yesterday and pulled up reasonably well. It was a good fitness run for him and we will just chug along quietly and hopefully he is ready on Sunday.”
Oulaghan was pleased the eight-year-old gelding was crowned Champion Jumper at the Horse of the Year Awards and is hoping he can add to his credentials this weekend.
“It was quite exciting to get that,” he said. “To win a Wellington and a National in one season is pretty good."