Consistent campaigner Paisley Park rewarded trainer Graham Richardson’s decision to head north to Ruakaka on Saturday with victory in the Marsden Metals Bream Bay Sprint (1400m).
Jockey Warren Kennedy settled the eight-year-old at the tail of the seven-horse field where he bided his time before finding a gap between runners with 300m to go, and Paisley Park rallied late to run down former Hong Kong galloper Not Ideal to win by a head.
“I was expecting a good run, that’s why we brought him up here for the better track,” said Richardson, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall.
“The idea was to give him a run at Pukekohe (last start on a Heavy10 track) knowing the track would be too wet, but he went really well there (running third).
“It’s a big thrill today, I am just really happy. It was a good gusty effort with 58.5kg on his back.
“It was a good ride and Warren [Kennedy] didn’t panic.”
The Matamata conditioner has identified the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m) on October 7 as his gelding’s next main aim, but said he now needs to work out a path to get him to his home feature.
“The horse’s peak distance in my mind is 1600m. He might just get run off his feet over 1400m next time,” Richardson said.
“It just depends what’s around, the tracks have had it around the North Island and that’s no one’s fault, it’s just the rain we’re all getting.
“I want to head towards the Matamata Cup, we’ve just got to work out what’s between now and then.”
Later on the Ruakaka card, stablemate Snazzytavi had a luckless run to finish a strong third in the Mathias Currie Insurance Rating 65 (1200m) after being caught wide throughout and closing well in the straight under Kennedy.
“Nothing went right for her. She’s pulled up well, she was three-wide in front. It wasn’t the rider’s fault by any means,” Richardson said.
“She’s run around greenly with the ears pricked and she’s just got a lot to learn.
“She’s gone from winning first-up and stepping up in grade, which is always hard, then going from 1400m back to the 1200m fresh-up, so it was a gusty effort.”
Richardson said the Tavistock filly will also be searching for better footing in her next start.
“It all just depends how wet they (tracks) are,” Richardson said.
Richardson took three runners to the Ruakaka meeting in search of better ground, which they were provided with the Soft5 track.
“It’s been great and (the track’s) great,” he said. “It’s the best track in the North Island at the moment.”