Our Abbadean (centre) gives Danielle Johnson a third consecutive stakes win at Awapuni.
Danielle Johnson completed a stunning black-type hat-trick at Awapuni this afternoon when Our Abbadean took out the Gr. 2 City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup.
Johnson won the Gr. 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes on second favourite Avantage, then added the Listed Bramco Granite & Marble Flying Handicap on the 11-to-one chance Magnum.
Shafiq Rusof was originally booked to ride the 17-to-one chance Our Abbadean in the Awapuni Gold Cup, but was unable to make the mare’s 53-kilogram weight. Johnson picked up the mount and guided the daughter of Lookin At Lucky to a valuable first black-type win.
After dropping back to seventh in the nine-horse field as last-start Group One winner Saint Emilion set a solid pace, Our Abbadean quickened stylishly in the straight to hit the lead.
Five To Midnight snuck through along the inside with a determined challenge in his first start since placing in the Auckland Cup, while the defending champion Sampson ran on out wide. But Our Abbadean kept fighting and clung on by a head.
Bred and raced by the Hawkins family’s Llanhennock Trust, five-year-old Our Abbadean has now won six of her 21 starts and more than $143,000 in prize-money.
Our Abbadean is trained by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, who also won the day’s Group One feature with Avantage.
“It’s been a really good day for all of us,” Richards told NZ Racing Desk. “We think the Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup (April 14) will be a nice fit for the mare.”
Meanwhile, Johnson made it four wins in a row when Dream Dancer took out the last event on the nine-race programme. The Rip Van Winkle was the first winner for Chris Bothwell as a solo trainer.