Double joy for 'Brotha'

By Jared Smith

It was Wanganui's day in the sun of Christchurch on Saturday as Blood Brotha made it back-to-back New Zealand Cup (group three) wins in stunning fashion.

The domination was a trinity of the local racing scene as the home town horse is trained by Whangaehu's Raymond Connors and was taken to the post by Lisa Allpress who less than 24 hours before was accepting another trophy as the Wanganui national sportsperson of the year.

Speaking from the Cook Strait ferry on his triumphant return home yesterday, Connors said it was "awesome" the Wanganui connection had proved the winning formula.

"Definitely [happy]. It's not easy to win. Especially to win the way he did."

His stayer turned in a dominant performance on the 3200m course at Riccarton Park for the 149th running of the cup.

Bunched at the turn, Allpress managed to get the 7-year-old Danzighill gelding away with 300m to run ... and they just kept going.

Connors said there was no pre-race instructions for the National Jockey Premiership winner Allpress to go early the stars just aligned.

"It was up to her, I just didn't want her out wide."

Powering ahead to a six length advantage destroyed their closest chasers Single Minded (Craig Grylls) and Cottonwood Sky (Paul Taylor) picking up the other placings.

While still a loose favourite, with the park being a dry track all the pre-race talk had centred on Blood Brotha not having the soft footing conditions of his 2011 success, something Connors had already dismissed as a possible deterimental. "It didn't matter. I wasn't too concerned."

Still, the trainer was at a loss to explain exactly why Riccarton Park has proved such a golden two miles.

Nearly half of Blood Brotha's career victories have been on the Canterbury track three wins in six starts there with the 2012 cup his first trot in the winner's circle since the 2011 effort.

By contrast, he has won only once at Wanganui.

"I'm not sure really, the big room track suits the horse. It's a big advantage, gets the distance," Connor said.

The horse and team had always enjoyed good cup week build-ups to the race, he added.

Blood Brotha has earned a week's rest in the paddock, after which Connor will start looking at next year's Auckland Cup in Ellerslie.

Another two-mile race, the Wanganui stayer could again start likely favourite if his trainer can have him peaking in March.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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