Racing: Final Touch takes Telegraph glory

A happy co-trainer Karen Parsons brings Final Touch back to scale with jockey Chris Johnson on board. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
A happy co-trainer Karen Parsons brings Final Touch back to scale with jockey Chris Johnson on board. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

Karen Parsons played down her role and that of husband John in guiding the top mare Final Touch through to further group one success at Trentham yesterday.

The Balcairn couple's stable star has been a regular visitor to Wellington from her North Canterbury base and three runs back had broken through at the elite level to claim the Captain Cook Stakes (1600m).

A third placing in the group three Top Seeds Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) followed before Final Touch carried her co-topweight of 58kg to a dashing success in yesterday's group one JR & N Berkett Telegraph Handicap.

"It's not a wonderful training performance - she's a wonderful horse," said Parsons, who also bred and owns the versatile five-year-old. "She's one in a million and just an angel of a horse to have around the place. She's ultra-competitive."

While Parsons preferred to shun any personal glory, the effort to bring Final Touch back in distance to claim such a prestigious sprint title spoke volumes for their horsemanship.

Now the winner of 15 races and more than $510,000, Final Touch has been regularly partnered by Chris Johnson and he gave a performance befitting of the occasion with a gem of a ride. Final Touch wasn't the sharpest out of the gates and settled in the body of the field before Johnson was able to guide her into the open. They came with a perfectly-timed finish to beat Xanadu by a long neck and they were clear of the favourite Burgundy.

Rated 107 before her Telegraph success, Final Touch's more immediate future may now lie in Sydney with champion trainer Chris Waller keen to guide her through an autumn preparation.

Weissmuller stormed into classic contention when he put a strong field to the sword in the group three Phill Cataldo Bloodstock Wellington Stakes yesterday.

The son of Handsome Ransom left a quality line-up in his wake to make a bold statement with a view to the group one TV3 New Zealand Derby, in which his brother Travolta finished sixth last year behind Silent Achiever.

Weissmuller is trained by John Kiernan who produced the gelding for a debut success at Otaki and then ran sixth a week ago at Awapuni where he got back in a slowly run race. "They walked and sprinted home and he's still learning," he said.

Kiernan also trained Travolta before clients of Gai Waterhouse's bought a majority shareholding and he has posted two wins and a placing in the Listed Gosford Cup in four Sydney appearances.

Weissmuller settled back in the field yesterday before improving across the top and he rounded off powerfully under Johnathon Parkes in the run home for a commanding victory. His performance saw him come into a $6 second favourite for the Derby behind the crack filly Habibi, who is at $4.

The Darci Brahma filly Lucky Country took second money with Sam Mesi doing his best work late for third.

- Herald on Sunday

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