Lagertha and Josh Dickie, taking out a South of the Bombay Series race. Photo: Trish Dunell
A drop in grade and aggressive drive paid dividends for Lagertha at Alexandra Park, the daughter of American Ideal’s victory one of two on Friday night for John and Josh Dickie.
Competing in a ‘South of the Bombay’ race, designed to cater for horses that would usually race away from Auckland, she fired off the arm and led the whole way in the hands of Josh Dickie.
She had galloped down the straight at her most recent outing and had been comfortably outpointed at the start before that.
Dickie said he felt before the race that she would benefit from taking on some easier opponents and that proved the case.
“She’d probably been racing in harder fields to be fair, she got a nice drop back and it worked out perfectly.
“Craig Smith had been doing a good job driving her for us but I thought I would drive her myself this week to get a line on where she was at.”
Despite drawing on the outer half of the front line, Lagertha showed impressive gate speed to lead easily and from there Dickie was able to rate her to a nicety.
The race looked all over at the quarter when Dickie turned up the wick and she put clear air between her and those closest to her.
“She was just sort of mucking around a bit in the running, but when I asked for her at the quarter she felt like a winner.
“In the end she did it quite comfortably.”
Lagertha was bred in the deep south by Dickie stable clients Ben and Karen Calder, who sent her north as a young horse and gave John Dickie’s partner, Linda German, a share in the horse.
“It was a good for them (Calders) because they’ve had a hard week; one of their horses had to be put down.”
The last race on the card was only a five-horse affair and it predictably developed in to a sprint home.
And by showing the most ‘toe’, New York Rain got a well-deserved second career win nearly 17 months after her first.
She’s raced at Group 1 level three times in between times, recording a third and fourth, but she’s had a few tricks in her arsenal that have frustrated the Dickies.
“She’s been a hard one to figure at times,” said Josh.
“She’s a big filly, quite a lanky thing, and is prone to running in and out and being quite clumsy which means she can lose her gate.
“It’s been quite hard work, really.”
She was second up from a spell, one which saw her miss both Oaks and the Jewels.
“She got crook after the Sires Stakes Final on New Year’s Eve and we tried to get her through but she had to go out.
“Then, I wasn’t that happy with her two trials this time in, either; she galloped both times.
“But we sort of noticed a couple of things that weren’t quite right and have focused on sorting them out.
“I was rapt with her fresh-up run and was pretty confident heading in to this week.”
She, too, is an American Ideal filly and is also owned by Linda German, along with John Dickie.
Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett continued their outstanding 2018, winning a further three trotting races with Makarewa Jake (at his 100th start), Mr Good And Evil and Monarchy Invasion.
And Northland’s only trainer, Matthew Collins, scored his second win of the season with Spirit Of Love, one of only two New Zealand winners by Modern Art.