Talented mare Tokorangi was back in the winner’s circle for the first time in more than 12 months when coming from near the rear of the field in the Yulong Stud Handicap (1400m) to score in emphatic fashion.
The Michael Moroney trained daughter of Redwood transferred across the Tasman as the winner of last season’s Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) from his Matamata barn headed by training partner Pam Gerard.
But a series of setbacks, including an injury suffered on a horse walker, had seen her present on raceday on just one occasion, with a lone start in spring.
The Kiwi import was the class horse of the field and showed she had lost none of her ability when powering over the top of Vasmee and Beltoro as she looped the field under a well-judged Logan McNeil ride.
“She’s obviously thrived, she’s in great condition,” stable representative Glen Thompson said.
“Michael was really happy with her heading into today, really happy with the jumpouts and her class shone through in the end.
“I don’t think there were too many plans past today, we just wanted to see how she came back and see her perform like she did today and off the back of that she’ll be able to measure up to better company than that.”
Winning jockey Logan McNeil made the most of his sole ride on the programme, with the apprentice’s three-kilo claim important in reducing the carded weight of 61.5kgs.
“She gave me a good feel then, she’s got some good form over in New Zealand,” McNeil said.
“She’s a horse that will get better over more ground so it’s good to see her win first up over that trip.”
The Gr.2 Queen Of The South Stakes (1600) in Adelaide next month looms as an ideal target for Tokorangi, while there are also options in Queensland.
Bred by Matamata’s Glenice Dando with her son Casey, Tokorangi is from a family they have nurtured for over 30 years, after Glenice and her late husband Ron purchased her third dam Mezmerize as a yearling, with the mare going on to win at Listed level.
Tokorangi was selected by Paul Moroney and bought as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2019 Karaka Book 2 Sale, from the draft of Bradbury Park.
By Group One winning stallion Redwood, she is the second foal from Agent Ziva, a young Savabeel who won five races up to 1250m.
Tokorangi sports the colours of well-known owner Ozzie Kheir, who bought into the Kiwi galloper after she finished fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) as a spring three-year-old.
Kheir races the mare in a syndicate which includes Glenice Dando and prominent racing journalist and administrator Dennis Ryan, who named the mare Tokorangi after an area in the Redwood forest just outside Rotorua.