South­ern Icon back in win­ning mood

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

‘‘He's not the eas­i­est horse to work – he likes to do things his way.’’

South­ern Icon has never lacked tal­ent but things have not al­ways gone his way.

At Te Rapa on Satur­day, how­ever, he left no doubts that he’s back to his best when he eas­ily ac­counted for a smart field of open sprint­ers. That was his first start since the au­tumn and the win came as a great re­lief to con­nec­tions af­ter a virus had un­der­mined much of his last cam­paign.

When South­ern Icon won the same race 12 months ago, his trainer Alan Tait set a pro­gramme tak­ing in the first flat fea­ture of the new sea­son, the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate, back at Te Rapa in mid-Au­gust. The virus ruled that and other races out, but Alan, who trains South­ern Icon for his wife Gay­lene and sta­ble stal­wart Mike Collinson, now has the $100,000 race firmly back in his sights.

Satur­day’s win, which took his tally to eight from 27 starts, came as a re­lief to his trainer for more than one rea­son.

‘‘He’s not the eas­i­est horse to work – he likes to do things his way – and he has me guess­ing when it comes to get­ting a line on him,’’ Alan ex­plained af­ter the Te Rapa per­for­mance.

‘‘But lately when I’m still try­ing to pull him up when we get to the end of the back straight, I’ve been think­ing he’s go­ing back to the races in pretty good or­der.’’

De­spite the dom­i­nant per­for­mance, Alan ex­pressed his doubts that 1200 me­tres is ide­ally suited to South­ern Icon’s rac­ing style.

‘‘If you look at his over­all record at 1200 me­tres – what was this, his sec­ond win from 12 starts? – I’m not so sure he’s a straight out sprinter. He al­ways takes that first cou­ple of fur­longs to get to the front, so I re­ally think he’s more ef­fec­tive at 1400.’’

SUPPLIED

South­ern Icon kicks of a new cam­paign in win­ning style at Te Rapa on Satur­day.

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