Proven sprinter Antonio Lombardo showed just how good he can be when he streeted his rivals to win the New World Summer Cup (1400m) at Tauranga.
Relishing the heavy underfoot conditions the now seven-year-old gelding settled just off the pace in the small but select five-horse field before looming into contention shortly before the home turn.
It was evident that the son of Pins was travelling better than his rivals as rider Shaun McKay sent him to the front and he raced away to score by over five lengths at the line.
Handy mare Lauren Tate ran on nicely to snatch second in her first run for the season while Matimba clung gamely to third after setting the early speed.
Co-trainer Peter McKay was all smiles after the event having had an inkling that today would be the day his charge would notch his thirteenth career victory.
"We thought he was pretty right today as when I tried to lead him in from out the back he pushed me into a bush then tried to kick me," he chuckled after the race.
"When Shaun got on him in the parade ring he was jigging around so he said he thought it might be our day. When he's quiet before the race he doesn't tend to go that well but when he's on the toe he goes out there and runs like a two-year-old."
McKay was confident his charge would handle the prevailing Heavy 10 track conditions after proving himself on that footing earlier in his career.
"As a two-year-old he won the Wellesley Stakes on a heavy track but I wouldn't have run him if it was bottomless however on the summer heavy they seem to skim through it a little more," he said.
"When he strode up to them on the inside he looked to be travelling pretty well so I was confident then he could win it.
"We'll just pick away with him now as he's not really up to that top company at this stage of his career. He's got a few tricks and when we took him down south he just didn't want to race but now he's feeling well there will be something more out there for him."
- NZ Racing Desk