Project bursts between runners for Christopher Dell to score impressively at Ellerslie today.
Tony Cole hasn’t gone away – he’s just been taking life easier.
Today at Ellerslie he showed that he hasn’t lost any of his conditioning skills when he produced Project fresh from a break for victory in the CMC Markets 1400. The big four-year-old is one of just three horses Cole has in work at his Te Kauwhata farm and has provided all three of his wins this season from 11 starters.
Home-bred Project, by Lucky Unicorn from Cole’s Dargaville Cup winner Penumbra, won twice in mid-summer, the second of them at Ellerslie in New Year’s Day, and was given a break after a below-par effort in mid-January.
Cole has had a lifetime association with Ellerslie, from the days his late father Bill was producing winners and as an amateur rider himself when at just 15 years he won a steeplechase on Alwyn’s Pride.
A week after Cole’s Matamata-based son Cody saddled up his first stakes winner, Astor, Cole was back at Ellerslie today very pleased to be taking home the thick end of a $50,000 race.
“I’m happy to have just the three horses in work when you can bring one of them here and win a $50,000 race,” said Cole, who shares ownership with long-time stable clients Robbie McDuff and Don and Mark Shuker.
“This horse is like his mother, dead honest and tries every time. He was in the money in each of his first six starts and he's really hitting his straps now.”
The other aspect of the win was that once again Project was ridden by Christopher Dell, whose career in recent years has been affected by injury. This was just his seventh win from 92 rides in the current season.
“I’m really pleased for Chris,” Cole said. “Whenever I go to the Pukekohe track and I tell Chris I’m going to be there at 5 o’clock, he’s there right on the dot.
“He’s got the right attitude and deserves any win he gets.”
Dell rode Project with plenty of confidence, content to settle well back in the big field before finding a path between runners and pulling back the tearaway leader Sound Works in the final stages.