In heavy rain Demonetization (Jason Waddell) takes the Auckland Guineas from Endowment.
Nigel Tiley has begun 2018 in the best possible way with a feature race double on Ellerslie’s big New Year’s Day programme.
The Pukekohe trainer struck first with Melt, who made it two from two in the Gr. 3 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes, and two races later Demonetization completed the stable double with an equally dominant win in the Gr. 2 Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas.
Rain that began shortly after the Eclipse Stakes forced two track downgrades to an eventual Slow7 for the Auckland Guineas as well as a change in tactics by the time the field lined up for the three-year-old feature.
Tiley and jockey Jason Waddell decided the best approach with Demonetization would be to take a forward position and it proved a winning move. Endowment took the early lead, shadowed by Demonetization, and after a brief tussle with challengers lining up across the track on the home turn, Demonetization put his head down and headed to victory.
Endowment held second a length and a quarter behind the winner, with half a length to On The Rocks, who kept going bravely to the line, and the same margin to Iffindoubt.
“He doesn’t really like that ground but he still coped with it,” commented Waddell. “Put it this way, I’d rather see him running on ground like that than on a Good2 track.
“When the rain came we had to change our tactics but he still gave me a good feel. He ran it right out and he’s only going to get better.”
Demonetization, a $220,000 Ready to Run Sale purchase in 2017, is raced by the Balia Family Trust headed by retired Auckland pharmacist Narendra Balia.
“We’ve raced a few horses over the years and have had some success,” Balia said. “This is our first Group winner though, he’s becoming a very special horse.”
Tiley now must decide whether to send the son of former star Australian galloper All Too Hard south for the Gr. 1 Levin Classic on January 13 or remain in the north.
The big colt’s ultimate target is the $1 million Vodafone Derby back at Ellerslie on March 3, for which he is now the $9 second favourite, one point behind Ellerslie Boxing Day winner Age Of Fire.