Miss Wilson (Vinnie Colgan) holds out Thee Auld Floozie for a well received New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes win.
Two years after one of the saddest days in his training career, John Bary returned to Te Aroha today for the ultimate redemption.
Back in 2016 the Hastings trainer saddled up his dual Group One winner Recite in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes, only for her to suffer a catastrophic leg injury mid-race that left no option but to euthanise her.
Recite had finished second as a three-year-old in the fillies and mares’ feature and last year Miss Wilson had to settle for fourth in her final start of a campaign marked by wins in her previous four starts.
“This race has been in the back of our minds since then,” said Bary, who trains Miss Wilson for Hawke’s Bay couple Richard and Liz Wood. They also bred and raced Miss Wilson’s half-brother, Horse of the Year Jimmy Choux.
“This is a great result for Richard and Liz, and for me it just puts some demons to rest.”
One lesson Bary learned from last year’s result in the Fiber Fresh-sponsored feature was that Miss Wilson races best with her races well spaced, and with that mind he freshened her after she had finished eighth in the Telegraph at Trentham in January.
The Stratum mare lined up today second-up from an unlucky third on her home track six weeks ago and made the most of first-time rider Vinnie Colgan’s skilful handling.
While early leader Ruud Not Too was joined mid-race by Nicoletta in setting up a solid tempo, Colgan had Miss Wilson travelling sweetly in the trail. That meant she had to pull others behind her into the action, but Colgan was unperturbed.
“She travelled up a treat and was always travelling well,” he said. “She gave me a good feeling when it was time to ask her to lengthen and I thought if anything can catch us, good luck to them.”
Miss Wilson had the leaders well contained with 200 metres to run, but then top-rated mare Thee Auld Floozie loomed large on her outside. For a brief moment it looked as though the grey was going to take Miss Wilson all the way to the wire, but she was unable to bridge the gap and had to settle for a half-length second, replicating her placing 12 months ago behind Charmont.
Nicoletta was brave holding onto third a length and quarter back, with Heni and Coldplay next to finish. The two disappointments were favourite Darscape Princess, fading to tenth after racing handy, and second favourite Cote D’Or, who also took a position behind the speed but found no extra and had to settle for sixth.
Colgan’s contribution to Miss Wilson’s big win was acknowledged emphatically by part-owner Richard Wood. “That was the ride of the century, sensational!” he said. “We’ve been served up with some ordinary rides and I might have been had up for assault if I had been on-course.”