On a day where the three-year-olds dominated against the older horses in Te Rapa’s two Group One features another youngster staked his claim for higher honours with a tradesman like display over 2100 metres earlier on the card.
Languishing in 34th place in the order of entry for the Gr. 1 BMW New Zealand Derby at the start of the day’s racing, Shocking gelding The Hassler climbed twenty placings on the rankings ladder when he took out the rating 65 Bupa Care Services sponsored event at the expense of fellow Derby contender Humidor.
The lightly raced gelding had appealed as a staying type when he broke his maiden status over the same distance at Tauranga two starts ago. A pre-race interview with trainer Roger James indicated he felt the gelding was a strong chance to gain his second victory provided he could race handy to the pace with jockey Vinnie Colgan following those instructions to the letter as he positioned his charge in the first four throughout the contest.
Taken to the front early in the run home by Colgan, The Hassler maintained a powerful gallop to the line to comfortably hold out his rivals although runner-up Humidor also caught the eye with his erratic but sustained finishing burst.
Part-owner Roger Hassall was a happy man after the contest as the gelding, who features the family moniker in his name, returned to the winner’s enclosure.
“Roger said he was going to try and have him ridden handier to the pace and see if they could catch him and they couldn’t so it was a great win,” he said.
“We will leave any decisions about where he goes next to Roger but I do think he is looking higher with a possible Derby start if it all goes well.”
- NZ Racing Desk