Gatu’s Cup judgement was spot on
There was an air of confidence around the winning ride of Viktoria Gatu aboard Pacorus in Sunday’s $75,000 Rotorua Cup.
Gatu settled Pacorus in the trail early in the Group III race and followed moves made firstly by Baymax, and then by race favourite Maygrove.
When the pace slackened midrace, Matthew Cameron set Maygrove alight and Gatu made sure she kept the favourite firmly in her sights.
Her tactics paid off as the son of Tavistock left his rivals in his wake and a delighted Gatu gave a justified fist pump after crossing the line clear of runner-up Doiknowyou and third placed Wannabefamous.
It was Gatu’s seventh win on the Chris Wood-trained galloper, the winner of eight for his big team of owners who have banked nearly $200,000 in earnings.
Wood is more than happy to keep his former apprentice on the horse who is likely to be seen next at Wanganui in a fortnight.
‘‘The horse runs for her,’’ Wood said of the combination’s success.
‘‘Viktoria loves the horse and the horse loves her.
‘‘That’s Viktoria’s first win as a senior rider so I’m delighted she got it in a big race like today.
‘‘She followed my instructions to the letter and showed a lot of poise when they started attacking all around her approaching the home turn.’’
The Cup result was a trifecta for the ladies with Lisa Allpress aboard the runner-up and Alysha Collett on Wannabefamous.
Pacorus has given his Cambridge trainer a few headaches since his run of success last winter.
‘‘He’s had a few niggles,’’ he said.
‘‘We had a lady come over from Australia to treat his back - consequently he is back to his form.’’
Wood plans to ‘‘play around’’ in handicaps in New Zealand in the foreseeable future before reconsidering earlier plans to test the horse in Australia.
Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh had two runners in the juvenile race at Sunday’s meeting.
Campari was backed into favouritism by punters after two trial appearances for two impressive wins.
But Marsh wasn’t convinced punters had got it right and told Trackside viewers that he had suspicions Shadow Dancer ($8.50) might be a better prospect on the heavy, testing track in the 1050m dash.
He was spot on the money as Samantha Collett bounced the daughter of Snitzel from the barrier and put her on the speed.
She rallied strongly to fight off a brave Simply Impeccable with Campari battling into third.
Owned by Tim Bodle’s Whakanui Stud, Shadow Dancer had trialled well for two placings and will now go for a spell.
‘‘We want to give her a break and get her ready for those early spring 3-year-old filly races,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t think she was really suited by the ground today - it was a good tough win.’’
Campari will also head for a spell, Marsh reasoning she needs better ground to show her best.
Viktoria Gatu continues her winning ways with Pacorus in the Rotorua Cup.