Promising stayer Seajetz provided Paul Richards with his first winner back training when he took out the opening event at Hawera on Saturday.
The four-year-old son of Iffraaj is the first horse that Richards has produced since restarting his training business after spending the past few years working for Te Akau Racing where son Jamie was head trainer before he accepted a position to ply his trade in Hong Kong.
Raced by Bill and Sandra Duell, who are longtime clients of Richards, Seajetz was having just his second run in a new campaign after finishing an eye-catching fourth first-up at Pukekohe.
Rider Lisa Allpress made full use of an inside barrier to trail the pace throughout before driving hard along the rail in the home straight to register his fourth career victory from just 13 starts.
Richards believed his charge was a good chance for success and was pleased to pick up the victory as he contemplates the options available to him over the next few months.
“It was great to get the win so quickly now I’m back training again, as we don’t have too many in work at the moment,” Richards said.
“He had been very good first up and I thought he would be hard to beat if Lisa could get him in a good position out of the gates.
“The rail was the place to be early on as it was new ground there and once he began well I was keen on his chances.
“He handles soft ground well and is quite a promising stayer who I think has a few more wins left in him.
“It does leave us with a few options to consider as he is nominated for the Stayer’s Winter Championship Series at Ruakaka, while I also have thoughts of taking him across to Sydney as another possibility.
“At this stage he will have a run over a mile at Pukekohe in a fortnight and then we can see where we go from there.
“I do think he is a better horse going right-handed so that’s why Sydney is an option as the way the weather has been over there, he would strike the type of track he likes and it is at the right time of the year when some of the better ones are in the paddock.”
While Richards enjoyed a quiet celebration at home on Saturday night, he was delighted to receive a congratulatory text from his son moments after the Hawera victory.
“Jamie left for Hong Kong at midnight on Friday and he wouldn’t have been there that long when the race ran at Hawera,” Richards said.
“His was one of the first messages we got to congratulate us on the win so that was pretty special.
“He will be in a hotel in quarantine for a week and then he will be pretty busy getting organised up there.
“The first job he has is to sort out a visa for Danielle (Johnson, fiancée), which he has to sponsor, so she can then make her way there to be with him.
“My wife Leanne and I are hoping we can head up there around Christmas time to visit as long as all the quarantine restrictions have settled down, so we are looking forward to that.”