The husband-and-wife training partnership of Shaun and Emma Clotworthy caught their rivals unaware when they produced August Edition to win the $100,000 Karaka Cup (2200m) at outside odds yesterday.
More known as a winter performer when the tracks are at their deepest, the Alamosa mare had shown she could perform on a better surface when successful at Ellerslie two starts ago.
The 5-year-old followed that up with a highly creditable performance for sixth in the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final on New Year's Day before tackling yesterday's feature event at Ellerslie.
Central Districts rider Rosie Myers was having her first ride on the mare and produced a peach of an effort to claim victory. Settled nicely in midfield by Myers, August Edition relaxed nicely before improving into a challenging position behind the leaders at the 600m mark.
The mare followed Top Prospect through a gap on the inside shortly after straightening to issue her challenge before outstaying her rival in the run to the post.
Top Prospect held second in a driving finish with race favourite Charles Road third after racing a touch erratically in the home straight.
August Edition paid lucky punters $30.60 for the win.
"She kind of surprised us three runs back and ran the distance and liked the harder track which was something we didn't think she would do," said Emma Clotworthy.
"We thought she might like the firmer track again and her work with stablemate Diesel was very good, so she deserved a shot at this.
"It tends to be one day at a time with her so it's great for the owners as it has taken a lot of hard work to get her here. I'm just rapt that today she could pull it off."
The victory continues a winning role for the Byerley Park conditioners who produced Diesel to win the $100,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final (2200m) on January 1.
Mana Park will offer a half-brother to August Edition, by boom sire Tavistock, as Lot 385 during the Book 1 catalogue at the upcoming NZB National Yearling Sale series that begins at Karaka on January 28.
• Unbeaten filly Avantage gave her rivals a start and a beating in an impressive performance at Ellerslie yesterday.
The royally bred Fastnet Rock filly was slow away in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) with rider Opie Bosson having no option but to ride for luck as the combination settled last in the seven-horse field.
Bosson had a lapful of horse approaching the home bend as he angled between runners before making his challenge at the 300m mark.
Avantage quickly responded and raced up to co-favourite Spanish Whisper as the pair set down to fight out the finish.
Despite veering out in the last 100m Avantage held too many guns for Spanish Whisper as she gained the ascendancy to record her third victory from as many starts.
"It was probably a blessing in disguise with her missing the start as she ended up in a lovely spot," said co-trainer Jamie Richards, who prepares the filly with Stephen Autridge for the powerful Te Akau Racing team.
"She was here for a good educational day out and she will take a lot of improvement out of it."
Already confidently tipped as a leading prospect for the rich Listed Karaka Million (1200m) that will be run at Ellerslie on January 27, Richards believes the filly has plenty of improvement in her for the event.
"She had a good look at the winning post, so she will definitely improve with the outing," he said.
"We might tinker around with a little gear adjustment on that but she's a lovely filly that David [Ellis] bought at Karaka, who is now three from three.
"It's very important for our stable to have these horses performing as we lead into this year's sale."
Avantage was a $210,000 purchase for David Ellis from the Oaks Stud draft during the Premier session of the 2017 NZB National Yearling Sale.
The victory takes her stakes earnings to $41,620 and lifts her into second place on the order of entry for the $1m Karaka Million.
Stablemate Pinot Grey also moved one place up the qualifying ladder for the Karaka Million with her third placing enough to see her currently sitting 13th on the order of entry.
The 14 highest stakes earners are guaranteed a start in the event.
- NZ Racing Desk