Scott Base (Vinnie Colgan) returned to action with a remarkable Wellington Guineas win.
Scott Base resumed his campaign on a triumphant note in the Gr. 2 Phill Cataldo Bloodstock Wellington Guineas at Trentham this afternoon, blowing away any lingering disappointment over a missed New Zealand Derby run with one of the best performances of his exciting career.
The son of Dalghar had been one of the favourites for the Derby since his dazzling come-from-behind win in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic in January, but he was forced out two days before the race with a bruised heel.
Having nursed their stable star back to full health, trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard opted to drop him back to 1400 metres for today’s $100,000 feature.
Sent out the $2.60 favourite in a quality field, Scott Base was worse than midfield at the top of the straight and appeared to be going nowhere. But he responded to the urgings of Vinnie Colgan and gradually got going, eating into the deficit with giant strides.
The beautifully bred and exciting Coolmore filly Paulownia had made the lead on Scott Base’s outside and leaned in on him through the last 100 metres, but Scott Base pinned his ears back and lunged through underneath her to snatch a stunning win by a nose.
“I was ready to go to the enquiry room, but somehow he’s got his beak down,” Benner said. “He hit a bit of a flat spot for a while, but the way he got going and got up to win – he’s a bit special.
“Everyone can see how good he is. It was a bit disappointing to miss the Derby, but it’s more important to have the horse.
“It was a bit of an unusual plan to come here, but it just felt right. We were thinking about Australia, but he’d had a few little issues, so we decided to freshen him up. He’s lethal in that state, and he showed that today.”
Bought for $70,000 as a yearling at Karaka, Scott Base is raced by Chris Rutten, John Norwood, Joanna and John Frew. He has now had 12 starts for four wins, three placings and more than $645,000 in prize-money.
Benner is in no rush to make plans for the rest of his campaign, but mentioned the Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic at Awapuni on March 31 and Gr. 2 Easter Handicap at Pukekohe three weeks later as possible options.
“We don’t make decisions on raceday, so we’ll get him home and take it from there,” he said. “Long-term I think he could take his place in a Cox Plate.”
Paulownia ran an outstanding race for second in just her second career start, having jumped from gate 13. The Great Southern, who was a close sixth in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic at this track in January, was third.