Rangi Toa wins Australian debut
Former Kiwi Rangi Toa made a winning start to his Australian career when victorious over 1400m on the Kensington track at Randwick on Monday.
The three-year-old son of Shamexpress showed a lot of promise last season as a juvenile for former trainer Tony Pike, for whom he won his first two races before going down by a short head to Turn The Ace in the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1100m) last May.
Rangi Toa made his race return on Monday, pleasing his new trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian with his performance.
“It’s very rewarding to see him respond and return in the manner which he has,” Bott told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“It was a very good effort – strong win – left the tactics up to Brenton (Avdulla, jockey) in terms of where he wanted to be on the track, but I think once we saw how well the horse was travelling throughout the race and saw him angling out, he was obviously pretty confident how he was going at that stage.”
Rangi Toa had trialled four times in Australia since August last year due to a few minor setbacks.
“He didn’t quite show that tactical speed in his trials, over those shorter trips, he was in some fast-run heats, so it was good to see him hit the ground running today,” Bott said.
“He looked very interested in the way he took it up, so it was very encouraging right from the outset.
“It looks like he’s got the scope to train over a bit further, so that will be the plan, take him through his grades and see how far we can take him.”
Excelida on target for Anniversary Vase
Ben Hayes is bullish about the chances of Excelida in the Listed Anniversary Vase (1400m) at Sandown on Saturday.
A benchmark 78 grade winner at Caulfield on Boxing Day, Excelida has had three subsequent starts, finishing third in the Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield last start.
"It was a huge run at Caulfield last start," said Hayes, who trains in partnership with his brother JD.
"She was beaten by two good horses, and she's come out of it excellent, so I'm expecting her to be competitive.
"She really deserves a stakes race win and Sandown should suit her.
"She's run well at Sandown before and we've kept her nice and fresh through her whole campaign, and if she can repeat her last start, I'm sure she'll be right in the finish on Saturday."
The daughter of Exceed And Excel races in the colours of Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay.