Just as pundits were set to talk of the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 5 as a one-horse race following La Crique’s dominant victory in the Gr.2 AJC Avondale Guineas (2100m), late-bloomer Pinarello added another layer to the million dollar feature.
The well-bred son of Tavistock landed a Rating 65 event, the Ecochill 2100 in impressive fashion and despite a stop-start four-race preparation for Roger James and Robert Wellwood, has a sense of timing heading into the blue-riband event.
Having missed a planned run after a trackwork mishap before a below par third at Ruakaka earlier this month, Pinarello showed he was right back on track when cruising to a four and a half-length victory over his older rivals.
Pinarello settled midfield in a sedately run race and one off the fence before rider Vinnie Colgan was on the move 700 metres from home and let down strongly to defeat Castle Bay and Super Sid in 2:13.47.
As the winner of two of his four starts, with a further two placings, the Brendan and Jo Lindsay-raced gelding is now a $6 second favourite for the March 5 feature in a market headed by La Crique at $2.60.
“I can’t wipe the smile off my face and it’s a relief – we’ve been telling Brendan and Jo that he was a Derby prospect and he was disappointing at Ruakaka,” co-trainer Robert Wellwood said.
“This was only his fourth run and it was nice to see him do what we thought he could. He relaxed with the blinkers on and he was super impressive, we’re very proud of him.
“He is still learning and we’re hoping he can put his best foot forward in the big dance.”
Colgan’s confidence was boosted by Pinarello’s performance in what was an indifferently run contest.
“He was disappointing at Ruakaka, but that track can trip a few up. The blinkers sharpened him up and in a muddling run race he still got over the top of them and was strong through the line,” he said.
A half-brother to stakes winners Bavella and Vernazza, Pinarello is out of the Zabeel mare Zonza, who won the Gr.3 Ladies’ Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield for James.
Zonza has an unraced Tavistock two-year-old filly named Zazon, a yearling daughter of Almanzor and was served in 2021 by Bivouac.