The latest victory of Westbury Stud graduate D’Aguilar has opened up an array of new options for trainer Patrick Payne.
The lightly tried son of High Chaparral stepped up to a middle distance for the first time at Caulfield on Saturday and produced a stirring performance for what had seemed an unlikely success at the top of the straight.
From the outside gate, D’Aguilar dropped to the back of the field and responded valiantly to every call from jockey Billy Egan in the closing 400 metres to reel in his opposition.
“I didn’t think I was going to get that close, but he picked them up and he’s a very tough horse,” Egan said.
D’Aguilar was making the second appearance of his current campaign, having finished fifth when resuming over a mile at Flemington.
“He’s taken a couple of runs to come to hand and needed a bit of confidence, which he’s got now,” Egan said.
D’Aguilar has now won six of his nine starts and his ability to master a middle distance will open further opportunities in the future.
“I was very happy to see him run out a strong 2000 metres and I think he might be able to get a bit further,” Egan said.
D’Aguilar was purchased out of Westbury’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale at Karaka in 2017 by respected bloodstock agent John Foote for $130,000.
A half-brother to former Singapore Horse of the Year and Group 1 performer The Inferno, he is the first foal of the Redoute’s Choice mare Spina Rosa, who is out of a half-sister to the two-time Group 1 winner Lotteria.
Westbury stallion Redwood enjoyed another successful weekend with a trio of winners, including two-year-old debutant Rhonda Wood at Riccarton.
The youngster’s ability has never been in question, but her attitude hasn’t always been helpful.
“She is a lovely filly, but she can play up at times and that has cost her,” co-trainer Bruce Tapper said.
“We had her ready to race back in December, but one morning we were taking the horses out of their boxes and she got a bit agitated waiting her turn and slid her leg under the stable door and ripped her coronary band.
“It is the type of wound you can’t stitch so she had to have a three-month spell before we could get her back into work.”
The wait proved worthwhile when Rhonda Wood was successful at the first time of asking, rallying strongly under pressure after racing on the pace.
“She is from a lovely family and I think she will get better with age, so we could have a handy three-year-old if she can keep improving like I think she can,” Tapper said.
Rhonda Wood is a daughter of Danzero mare Rhone Ranger and is from the family of Group 1 winners Tuesday Joy, Sunday Joy, Bentley Biscuit and Thorn Park.
Also at Riccarton, Redwood’s son Burnvue won for the second time in his fledgling career for Lance Robinson while at Echuca, the Emma-Lee and David Browne-prepared Landgrave opened his Australian account after two victories in New Zealand before his trainers relocated from Cambridge to Cranbourne.
Meanwhile, Reliable Man’s talented daughter She’s A Meanie resumed in fine style at Tauranga on Saturday for the fifth win of her 12-start career from Peter Lock’s Te Aroha quarters.
“We nominated her for the G3 Winter Cup at Riccarton and I definitely think on a wet track she could win the race, but I’m just not sure about going down there given what it all entails,” Lock said.
“It is a hell of a long way on a float and the same coming back and it could completely end her season if things didn’t go to plan.
“I will have a chat with her owners, but I’m keen to keep her closer to home and look for black type against her own sex around here.”
She’s A Meanie is raced by her breeders Rod Duke and Gerard Peterson under his Gee Gee Equine banner and is out of the Zabeel mare Ebony And Ivory, who is from the famous Heights family that includes Group 1 winners Noble Heights and Battle Heights.