Jimmy Choux emphatically claimed the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic yesterday and book himself a ticket to the rich Cox Plate in Melbourne.
The race formerly known as the Kelt Capital Stakes is now worth just over a tenth of what it was just two years ago when it was the richest race in New Zealand and the likes of Starcraft jetted in from Australia.
And John Bary's champion entire looked anything like the certainty in the eyes of his legion of supporters who had backed him into a raging $1.40 favourite, when he was behind a wall of horses and had a bolting Red Ruler ahead of him halfway down the straight.
Red Ruler had been given a soft lead after no one wanted the job, and he had his rivals in trouble as he kicked away by six lengths in the straight.
But with jockey Jonathan Riddell just waving the reins at him, Jimmy Choux found a gap and gathered in the leader like he was tied to the rails, sailing by to win by 1 lengths.
Earlier on the card, highly promising colt Antonio Lombardo was just too good in the DHL Global Hawke's Bay Guineas field with a commanding 1 length win in the Group 2 1400m event.
Taken on early by Vincent Street, Antonio Lombardo took 600m to get the lead but once in control, pilot Sam Spratt kept the pressure on the field. The Pins colt kicked impressively in the straight, and left a game Prestigious Miss and Ginner Hart in the minor placings.By Dave Sanders