Last season’s champion jockey Sam Collett guided The Bandito to a brilliant front-running win in today’s Listed Bramco Marble & Granite Flying Handicap at Awapuni.

Drawn in the extreme outside gate, Collett allowed the $17 outsider to roll forward and take the lead after 300 metres.

The Pins gelding was loving his work in front and travelled smoothly up to the home turn, then produced a kick to go two lengths clear at the 350-metre mark.

Beefeater began to eat into that margin through the last 200 metres, and the defending champion Magnum got warmed up out wide, but The Bandito held on strongly in a driving finish. The 1400 metres were run in a quick 1:22.36.

“It was a great ride by Sam, and you’ve got to ride this horse that way,” Hastings trainer John Bary said. “She let him slide forward, then dictated terms with a light weight.

“He’s a tough horse and he’s been good all season. He also ran 1:22 when he won a race at Wellington earlier in the summer, so he’s shown that he can do it.

“Big thanks to my staff, who have done a great job with him. I’m really happy for the owner, Heath Newton, who’s in Australia and is an absolute champion bloke.”

The Bandito was a $50,000 yearling purchase at Karaka in 2013. He has now had 42 starts for four wins, 18 placings and more than $139,000 in prize-money.

Today’s win continues a remarkable season for Waikato Stud’s late stallion Pins. Since August 1, he has sired 61 winners including nine at stakes level – Madison County (New Zealand 2000 Guineas, Levin Classic), Pinmedown (Eight Carat Classic, Sunline Vase), Emily Margaret (Wellington Guineas), Princess Kereru (Waikato Stud Sprint, second in the Railway), Residential (South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes), Flamingo (Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes), Sir Plush (Gosford Gold Cup) and The Bandito.