A pair of stakes performed runners on the flat had their connections jumping for joy at Te Rapa.
Lightly-tried hurdlers Danza Lad and Nothing Trivial won their respective events over fences yesterday with the former's success in the Porritt Sand Hurdles his second from five outings over the smaller jumps.
Trained by Rudy Liefting, Danza Lad has been a more than capable flat galloper with group three wins in the Merial Mile and the Thompson Handicap as well as the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup on his CV, but he hasn't always been the most consistent performer.
"It's all mental with him, if he wants to run he will, otherwise he just says no," Liefting's wife Megan said.
Danza Lad was in the right mood at Te Rapa and after racing in second spot he took control three flights from home under rider Stuart Higgins to win comfortably from Ngatira Gold and Thenamesbond.
"I wanted to sit in behind Thenamesbond because he can get a bit keen, but he wasn't too bad today and I didn't have to ask too many questions of him," Higgins said.
Former group three Counties Cup placegetter Nothing Trivial showed he was also a jumper to follow with a dominant performance to win the Wildtribe Catering @ Te Rapa Racecourse Hurdles for trainer Wayne Hillis and jockey Reece Cole.
"It was a very good ride and he did exactly as I told him," Hillis said.
"The horse had a couple of hurdle races last year for experience and he's still got a bit of ability on the flat."
Nothing Trivial measured his fences well within sight of the leaders and he proved too strong for Perry Mason.
"He seems a lot more confident than he was last year and he's always showed he can stay," Cole said.
Meanwhile, gifted juvenile Ardrossan added black type performance to his impressive pedigree when he kept his perfect record intact at Te Rapa.
In his final New Zealand appearance, the son of Redoute's Choice was far too good for his rivals in the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes.
"He's still a colt and he's got a massive future," Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh said. "He's going to be a lovely three-year-old and he'll head to Caulfield now to join Mick Price.
"I begged them to keep him here because I know he's got that X-factor, but the right place for him is Australia. It's great to have been part of it all with him."
Ardrossan was quickly into stride from the inside barrier to make the running under rider Danielle Johnson before they were taken on by Santuzza.
"I don't quite know why, but it didn't bother us at all and he won well," Marsh said. "I knew he was good enough and I'm really proud of him."
The youngster lengthened stride when asked by Johnson for a serious effort in the straight and they sailed clear to win by three and three quarter lengths from Haussmann, who made ground well, and Aquilo.
- NZ Racing Desk