After a luckless run for second in the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s day, promising mare Rapid Falls returned to the scene of the crime on Saturday to exact a measure of revenge in the Collinson Forex Karaka Cup (2200m).
Prepared by Cambridge trainer Tony Pike, the five-year-old daughter of Sacred Falls had been held up for racing room on New Year’s day before storming home to get within half a length of eventual winner Dionysus.
This time rider Leith Innes ensured she had no such traffic issues as Rapid Falls angled off the fence turning for home and strode clear to win comfortably by a length and half for her many supporters that included the boisterous Boys Get Paid punters club who had invested $50,000 on her to win.
Pike was delighted with the result and happy he had done a job for the punters club who had contacted him about the bet earlier in the week.
“She really should have won the Dunstan as she was very unlucky that day,” Pike said.
“She got held up and flashed home, whereas this time we got all favours courtesy of a lovely Leith Innes ride.
“She is a talented mare who has taken a while to mature, but I think she is ready to go on with it now.
“What was also pleasing was to get the punters club off to a good start.
“The boys had spoken with me during the week and I think if she had have got beaten it would have made for a long night, I can tell you.”
Pike will now make a decision on whether to head to the Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) with the mare.
“I’m just not sure if she is ready to go two miles this time, so we’re going to let her have a quiet week and then make a decision,” he said.
“Provided she is going the right way, she can go to the Avondale Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) two weeks before the Auckland Cup and then we can reassess after that.”
While Pike got his measure of good fortune with Rapid Falls, it wasn’t the same for his two runners in the $1 million features on the day as the well fancied Pacific Dragon missed the start before closing off strongly for fifth in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), while Tutukaka was held up by tiring runners on the home bend before dashing into second in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).
“Tutukaka probably should have won as he ran out of room on the home bend and was out too late to get to the winner (Pin Me Up) in the three-year-old race,” Pike said.
“The blinkers being back on worked nicely and I think with a clear run at them he was the winner.
“He will now go to the Avondale Guineas (Gr.2, 2100m) on February 19 and then tackle the Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) a fortnight later.
“Pacific Dragon missed away for the first time in her life and with them going hard up front she just got too far back.
“She probably got a little lost out in the middle of the track in the home straight, but she has put in an enormous effort to finish as close as she did.
“She can have a short break now and then we will bring her back and try and get some more black-type with her.”
TAB bookmakers have installed Tutukaka as the equal $6 Fixed Odds favourite with the Allan Sharrock-trained Shamus for the Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 5, while Rapid Falls is rated a $16 chance in the Auckland Cup on March 12.