The so-called bit players stepped as close as any to centre stage at Rotorua on Saturday.

Faraway Eyes, Golden Globe, Sum Up and Fast Love might have played supporting roles to the main race winners, Intransigent and Art Beat, but they are horses punters should remember.

Each is a different type, but it is short odds they will feature in the next 12 months.

Golden Globe is a particularly talented speed horse who has been patiently handled by trainer Jim Collett.


"He's shown us a some pretty special speed sectionals at home on good footing, so I'm in no hurry with him,' said Collett. "I think he can be a pretty good top-end sprinter in time."

The equally inexperienced Faraway Eyes looked the goods in easily disposing of her opposition. As well as she handled the rain-affected conditions on Saturday, Faraway Eyes gives the impression from her galloping action that firmer ground might suit her even better.

The way she finishes her races off is impressive.

Sum Up has taken a while, but he is now very solid and Fast Love showed she is as versatile as she is talented.

That's not to say the main race winners were not impressive.

Art Beat has been continually underrated and the way she finished her last 200m to win Saturday's $45,000 Lion Red Plate showed her to be up to pretty close to the best in the right conditions.

Two of her eight wins have been on good surfaces, but she looks considerably better with rain around.

The Rotorua win was her fifth from eight races on Saturday's footing and what was particularly impressive was the way she forged through her last 200m.


"She's always looked very good in the wet and we'll keep her going for as long as the rain looks like staying around," said co-trainer Wayne Hillis.

Kirsty Lawrence was almost beside herself with joy after Intransigent easily won the $45,000 Platinum Homes Rotorua Plate.

The former journalist was for once out of words to describe the thrill of winning a listed stakes race.

She had started her horse training career by preparing the odd problem horse, but like many before her finally worked out that the hours required didn't match the return, regardless of how good you were at doing your job.

"I've got 11 in work at the moment and it's going well."

Intransigent finished 11 lengths behind Hawera winner Yours the previous week, after which Lawrence decided not to run at Rotorua, but felt proud she had changed her mind.