Londaro (inside) holds out Johnny Lincoln to give rider Sam Collett a milestone win at Hastings.
Hawke’s Bay Cup day kicked off with a milestone as premiership leader Sam Collett completed a century of wins.
Collett, whose previous best total was 80 wins in 2016-17, headed to Hastings this afternoon with 99 wins to her name this season and a premiership lead of 19 over her cousin Alysha.
She cracked three figures with an excellent ride on the local runner Londaro in the $22,500 Stella Artois Mile, overcoming a wide gate for a gutsy win.
Collett sent the big chestnut forward to sit outside the front-running Pincanto at the 900-metre mark, then rolled on into the lead at the top of the straight. Johnny Lincoln emerged on the outside with a strong challenge, but Londaro responded to Collett’s urgings and clung on by a half-head.
“Getting to this milestone is really great,” Collett said. “I’ve got a lot of people to thank, and obviously it’s not the end of the season yet, but it’s been a real labour of love. DA (Darryl Anderson, manager) has gone a great job. There’s been a lot of travelling involved, but it’s great.”
Londaro has developed a knack of starting big days on the right note for home-track runners.
The four-year-old scored his maiden win with a dominant performance in the first race on the rescheduled Livamol Classic day in October, and he was every bit as good today from his wide draw and on less-than-ideal Dead5 track conditions - subsequently downgraded to Slow7.
“He’s such a big-striding horse, I’m not sure that rain-affected tracks suit him,” said Guy Lowry, who trains in partnership with Grant Cullen.
“But he’s a talented horse. He had to do a fair bit of work today, and he stuck on very well.”
Raced by Bruce and Maureen Harvey of Ascot Farm, the son of Lope De Vega has now had six starts for two wins, a placing and more than $21,000 in prize-money.