Promising three-year-old White Noise had a class edge on his rivals when landing Sunday’s Listed Te Akau Gingernuts Salver (2100m) at Ellerslie, confirming his status as a genuine Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) contender at the same venue in March.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained son of El Roca justified his $2.40 favourite quote when he came with a determined finish for rider Ryan Elliot to down second favourite Regazzo in a stirring duel over the final 200m.
Elliot was content to go back on White Noise after he jumped awkwardly before improving between runners into a striking position approaching the home turn.
The jockey extracted his mount from a tight position at the 300m to join issue with Regazzo, as the pair cleared away from their rivals before White Noise asserted his superiority to win by half a length with Arjay’s Flight a further three lengths back in third.
Forsman was pleased to see the breaks come White Noise’s way after his good effort for sixth on New Year’s Day when making good ground in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m), which was run at a pedestrian tempo.
“On paper it looked a bit tricky as he had a wide draw (9) and we weren’t sure how much pace there would be,” he said.
“That brought him undone in his last start here on New Year’s Day as he got back and had to come wide to get anywhere near them.
“It was a better run than it looked on paper and really tidied him up nicely as we’d given him a short break after he won the Wellington Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m) and he probably needed that first up run.
Forsman will now sit down with Baker to discuss the options for White Noise as they plot a path towards the New Zealand Derby.
“We haven’t really made any plans for him at this stage, but he is heading to the Derby,” he said.
“We’ll take a look at the Waikato Guineas (Gr.2, 2000m) or the Avondale Guineas (Gr.2, 2100m) and also whether he may need another one before he tackles one of those races.”
Successful in the Wellington Stakes, run at Otaki, back in November, White Noise has now added a second stakes victory to his handy record of four wins from eight starts as he prepares for his attempt at the Derby.
Owned by a large syndicate that includes his breeders Mike Gatt and Matthew and Allan Fenwick, White Noise is out of the unraced Sir Percy mare White Nymph, the dam of useful stayer El Nymph.
TAB bookmakers reacted to the victory by moving White Noise into a $14 quote in the New Zealand Derby market which is headed by Dark Destroyer at $10.