A red letter day would be the best way to describe Monday's racing at Tauherenikau with Wairarapa-trained horses punching above their weight and with punters having an opportunity to plug into some hefty dividends.
The day opened with a surprise winner, a 3-year-old filly on debut named Malacanto trained by Ian Wyeth at Opaki which returned better than $38 on the win machine and contributed to a trifecta nudging $3000.
Wyeth, who does not get winners out of turn, part-owns the Per Incanto filly with Arthur von Sturmer who was formerly principal of Opaki School and later of Churton Park School in Wellington before retiring about four years ago.
Malacanto's dam Malaya was raced by the partnership after they purchased her from up north and Malacanto is her first foal.
She has since produced two further foals with one selling earlier this year at the Karaka sales.
Von Sturmer said yesterday the win had been a great thrill.
Wyeth said he had worked the filly as a 2-year-old and had always thought she had ability, but there had been a "few hiccups" along the way, such as a stomach illness and shin soreness.
Malacanto was lined up for a trials start and it was also intended to take her to jumpouts but bad weather had led to cancellations and she had instead gone straight to the race on Monday with no form to disclose.
The trainer paid tribute to Malacanto's regular track rider Paul Guise.
"She's not easy to ride and is definitely a bit of a thinker.
"We had our fingers crossed on Monday that she would behave herself," he said.
It had also helped to have the experience of senior rider Robert Hannam on board on race day.
Wyeth said he was not tempted to run Malacanto on heavy tracks but was looking to start her again at Hastings in early July when he hoped the track there would not be too rain affected.
"Otherwise we will put her out and bring her back in the spring," he said.
In race two, Opaki trainer Roger Allen produced Pass It On to finish runner-up behind Thwayya at $8 for a place, contributing to a even bigger trifecta than the opening event, being $3352 and in the very next race Polly MacDonald had success with outsider El Bayardo which finished third, paid $10.30 a place, and filled up a $2780 trifecta.
In race five Judith Kate broke her duck for Tauherenikau trainer Henry Gillies, after a frustrating string of minor placings and Sanjara, from Roger Allen's stable, capped off a good day for locals with Sanjara finishing second in race seven.
Wairarapa Racing Club hosted the meeting and in doing so laid on a special function for more than 100 people made up of corporate and local sponsors, sporting clubs and others who contribute to the club's success,with drinks and a three-course meal catered by Guten Apetit.
Secretary Matthew Sherry said the club was delighted with the day and Tauherenikau had turned on beautiful winter weather to complement a setting unrivalled in New Zealand.