Peaceful was anything but at the Wanganui Spring Races as the Cambridge horse found the hole and powered from the back to claim the O'Leary Stakes for three-year-olds over 1200m on Saturday.

Ridden expertly by Matthew Cameron, Peaceful claimed the first $50,000 Black Type race of the afternoon in impressive fashion, winning for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, along with the ownership group of G P Clarke, P W O'Rourke and JML Bloodstock Ltd.

In the 12 horse field, second favourite Peaceful got a good start out of the gate but then found What A Smasher (Samantha Collett) wanted to lead the group and did so as they spread out along the rail on the back stretch.

Flaunt It Girl (Shaun McKay) looked to move up on the outside of the leader as they rounded the turn, but What A Smasher had the rail and now the question was did it have the legs.


London Express (Johnathan Parkes) was looking to move as the field spread out for the straight and seemed to be letting go at the right time.

However, everyone had moved away from What A Smasher and Cameron saw his chance – taking the small gap and powering past the pace-setter to bolt clear.

London Express then started coming on but the equation had already been solved, with the favourite running out of track as Peaceful got up by half a length.

Tutta La Classe, ridden by local Lisa Allpress, was another length and a quarter back for third.

Peaceful was being earmarked by the owners for a possible trip to Australia and the O'Leary Stakes might have been enough to get the passport stamped.

Local racing identities Humphrey O'Leary and wife Fiona have sponsored the race specifically on the back of the success of Auckland Cup winner Ladies First, and their co-owned Melbourne Cup third place getter Who Shot Thebarman, who is shared with the other O'Leary brothers.

The second feature of the day – the $50,000 HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas over 1340m – was won narrowly by Bobby Dazzler (Danielle Johnson) ahead of Notabadidea (Jason Waddell) and then Mohaka (Collett).

Jockey Matthew Cameron salutes after his win.
Jockey Matthew Cameron salutes after his win.