Local runner Paisley Park showed he had taken plenty of improvement from his first-up performance at Te Rapa last month when he came with a withering late burst to score in the Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup (1600m).
The Graham Richardson and Rogan Norvall-trained eight-year-old had given plenty of cheek over 1200m in his campaign opener before weakening late in the piece and stripped in better nick for his home track feature.
A well-judged ride by Wiremu Pinn, who had already completed a winning double aboard Pennsylvania and The Intimidator earlier in the day, saw Paisley Park settle back near last in the early rush for positions before improving into a striking position approaching the home bend.
Pinn got every inch out of the son of Azamour in the final 100m as he dropped on White Noise and Markus Aurelius to win by a head with the judge unable to separate the other two who dead-heated for second.
Richardson had been quietly confident of a good performance by his charge and was thrilled to get the victory, his third in the race after success with Platonic (2001) and Atom Cat (2010).
“He was the big improver in the stable and I got it right for a change,” he said.
“We had a bit of a setback with him a couple of months ago when he copped a virus and that put us on the back foot.
“We tipped him out then brought him back and he went a nice race at Te Rapa first-up over 1200m, but it was a big effort to do what he did today.
“It’s the third time I’ve won this race so I’m absolutely stoked.”
Richardson will now wait to see how his charge recovers before deciding on future assignments.
“We were really just targeting today,” he said.
“I’ll wait to see how he pulls up and then we will look at making a plan with him.”
Pinn was also thrilled to get the win on one of his favourite mounts.
“He has been a very good horse to me as I’ve won three on him now,” Pinn said.
“He’s very versatile as last time over 1200m it was a huge effort and with the extra ground today on his home track, he has won very well.
“He jumped out nicely but I was grateful there was some pace on even though he had to do a bit of work to get around them.
“He really hit the line well, so it was a good effort.”
Raced by his breeder Garry Christini and good mate Dave Trubshoe, Paisley Park has now won eight races and over $271,000 in prizemoney.
Richardson was also delighted with Derryn gelding Channel Surfer who showed plenty of fight to finish third in the Gr.2 AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) one race earlier and advised the horse would be kept to future age-group races with an eye on the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) in March as the ultimate target.