Tavistock filly Avisto made it two stakes wins in a row today, taking out the Listed O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stales at Wanganui in her first start for new trainer Roger James.
Avisto was trained through her five-start two-year-old campaign by John Sargent and Hayden Allen, culminating with victory in the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes at Ellerslie in May. Following the closure of Sargent’s New Zealand stable, Avisto was transferred to the Cambridge stable of Roger James.
“She had a great foundation from John Sargent and Hayden Allen,” said Adrian Clark, manager of the Challenge Racehorse Syndication ownership group. “I’m grateful to them for that. Roger took over and has done a great job with her.”
Avisto settled handy to the pace as Second Time Lucky and unbeaten Ryder Stakes winner Niki Piki Milo were sent to the lead. Niki Piki Milo reacted to the track crossing inside the first 100 metres and tried to leap over it, briefly losing her action and her momentum.
Second Time Lucky held sway throughout and kicked down the straight in search of an all-the-way win, but Noel Harris brought Avisto to the outside and sent her out after the leader. Avisto accelerated stylishly and drew up alongside Second Time Lucky, who lifted again and tried to repel the challenge. The two went to the line together, with Avisto lunging for the line and scoring a narrow win. Niki Piki Milo held on for third.
Avisto's victory was wildly celebrated by a big contingent of connections.
“There’s about 30 of them here today,” Clark said. “They’re just loving this, and they wouldn’t have minded if she had only finished fourth or fifth. But I think we’ve got a very nice filly here and she’s looking for more ground.”
Avisto is one of nine James-trained fillies nominated for the Gr. 1 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 15.
The win was a milestone for Noel Harris, taking him past Bill Skelton’s career total of 2156 New Zealand wins and into third on the all-time list behind David Walsh and Lance O’Sullivan.
- The Informant