The Awapuni track was upgraded from Dead4 to Good3 immediately after the first race on today’s Gr. 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes programme, which was won by course specialist Korakonui.

The upgrade came as no surprise to the winning jockey in the opening event, premiership leader Johnathan Parkes.

“There’s some very slight give in the track, but it’s such a nice day and I think you’ll probably see it end up a Good3,” he said.

Korakonui is trained in Cambridge, but Awapuni is her home away from home. Following a dominant victory in today’s $30,000 Landmark Homes Premier, the All American five-year-old is unbeaten in three starts at the track.

A last-start fourth in the Listed New Zealand St Leger at Trentham, Korakonui stepped down to Rating 72 grade this afternoon and had only four opponents.

After trailing the early leader Vittachi, Korakonui put her head in front at the 600-metre mark and swung around the home turn with a clear lead.

The favourite Hoist moved up on her outside 300 metres from home, but Korakonui kicked again and drew out to win by three and three-quarter lengths.

Trained by Ralph Manning, Korakonui has now had 30 starts for five wins, five placings and more than $82,000 in prize-money.

“She usually gets back in the running, but she jumped pretty well today,” Parkes said. “Being a five-horse field, I decided to ride her handy. We quickened up a bit at the 600, and she’s just outstayed them.

“I think she’s a pretty progressive horse, and I think the further she goes, the better she’ll be. She might be a New Zealand Cup horse next season.”