Watch This Space delivers on omens
‘‘He was such a good horse, tough, genuine and always gave you everything he had.’’
Wayne Hillis tries not to be superstitious, but there was no avoiding the omen as he loaded up his truck last Saturday morning before heading to the Ruakaka race meeting.
On board he had two horses, Watch This Space and Nothing Trivial, and before hitting the road he decided to throw light covers on them to protect them from any chills on the drive north.
‘‘The quarter-piece I put on Watch This space was the same one that came with Dezigna’s win in the open sprint up at Ruakaka 10 years ago,’’ Wayne said.
‘‘He won that race again the next year too, and I wondered if we could make it three all this time later.’’
Sure enough, Watch This Space ‘‘did a Dezigna’’ and won Saturday’s Harcourts Whangarei 1200, taking his tally to six and setting up a spring schedule with bigger targets in store.
Next stop is likely to be the Gr. 3 Kelt Memorial Sprint at Hast- ings in early October, in which another win would replicate Dezigna’s decade-old formline.
The similarities don’t end there as both horses race in the colours of Aucklander Emma Evans, a long-time supporter of the Hillis stable and well rewarded too.
‘‘I did a count up a while ago to see how many wins we’ve had with Emma’s horses and I got to 30,’’ Wayne said.
‘‘We’ve won a few more since so it’s got to be around 35 now, it’s been a lot of fun for all of us.’’
Dezigna remains the star performer for the Hillis-Evans part- nership, having won 11 races headed by the 2008 Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham, along with nine second placings and 16 thirds.
‘‘He was such a good horse, tough, genuine and always gave you everything he had,’’ says Wayne.
‘‘From memory he had some- thing like nine Group One placings in all sorts of races, and it was great when he won that Captain Cook Stakes, he sure deserved it.’’
Watch This Space (Sam Weatherley) stretches for the line at Ruakaka on Saturday.