Sadhana and Nathan Williamson return to the winner's circle. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
Passionate is the way Aaron Swain describes the group of four owners he hadn't even met before he bought Sadhana to race with them.
And at Ascot Park on Saturday afternoon, the story had a happy ending when the Swain-trained filly delivered over 1700 metres to make the four first-time owners first-time winners.
It all began about a year ago when a friend of Swain’s told him that the youthful group of builders, boat builders and fishermen - Hayden Stronoch, Connor Hillis, Shane Stronoch and Scott Leader - were keen to buy a horse.
Ahead of the Christchurch all-age sale, Swain's father Murray had looked at two daughters of the one-win In The Pocket mare Gem Power.
“Dad liked the look of them and I liked the look of the breeding,” said Swain, who picked the two-year-old by Western Ideal.
His father bought them both and kept the three-year-old by Bettor's Delight.
He paid $4500 for it and $4200 for Sadhana, already broken in.
“I met the (new) owners after he'd bought her, we own 20 percent each,” Swain confirmed.
“Dad tried the Bettor's Delight, it wasn't good enough. When I gave Sadhana her first preparation I didn't think much of her either but then the penny dropped.”
Last September, by then a three-year-old, Sadhana won a workout and a trial. She qualified at Winton in 3:02.1, all but nine seconds within the time required.
“I wanted to turn her out after that but the others were itching to go to the races.
“So, she went to Invercargill, finished seventh of nine and then had six months out.
“She's a lot stronger and more mature now, and they are just the best bunch of owners.
“They come and see her once a week and have been to all her workouts and trials.”
From five off the gate in the hands of Nathan Williamson, Sadhana went forward early in search of the lead but it wasn't there for her.
She was forced to sit parked to the turn, found the front and had to fight all the way home to hold it.
“That wasn't the plan, I didn't think she'd be strong enough, she really had to be tough,” said Swain, adding it is too soon to think about where to take her next.
The win was the second of three on the day for Williamson who earlier guided Crusher Collins to victory in the rating 50 trot. His third was in the R46 pace aboard Dachy who was recording her fifth win at her 50th start.
Shane Walkinshaw also bagged three, winning with his own horse Glens Of Tekoa, the Robin Swain-trained Magnetic Watch and Doug McLachlan's Franco Huntington.
It leaves him just three short of 300 driving wins in New Zealand.
The Nugget final went to the Butterworth Racing Syndicate's unbeaten filly Born To Boogie, winning her second race in a week after debuting just a week earlier.