Exciting three-year-old Gingernuts slammed the door on his rivals with a withering finishing burst to claim the $1 million group one New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie today.
Unheralded in Derby conversations until a freakish performance to claim the group two Avondale Guineas a fortnight ago, Gingernuts showed that run was no fluke as he comprehensively outstayed his rivals in the blue riband event.
Given a peach of a ride by Opie Bosson, the Iffraaj gelding was always travelling sweetly in a contest that saw early sensation when well supported runners Cha Siu Bao and Lincoln Blue were tailed off in the first 400 metres after bucking when leaving the starting barriers.
Bosson had Gingernuts positioned beautifully one off the fence ahead of midfield throughout before improving his position at the 800 metre mark.
He briefly looked in trouble as race favourite Savile Row hung out badly on the home corner causing him to angle wide to avoid striking trouble.
At that stage Rising Red had hit the front and was fighting off his nearest challengers however Gingernuts sprinted quickly to loom alongside the Aussie raider before putting him away with his devastating finish. Jon Snow battled strongly to grab third from Te Akau's second representative Beaumarchais with Sacred Elixir close up in fifth.
Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis cut an emotional figure as he waited for the horse he secured for $42,500 at the 2015 NZB Ready To Run Sale to return to a winner's enclosure packed with members of his 42 strong ownership syndicate.
"It's a very emotional moment," he stated as he fought back tears of joy.
"It was a terrific run and I'm so thrilled for the whole team, for Jamie and Steve who've done a fantastic job and Opie who just rode a sensational race.
"It's a first Derby for Te Akau and just a great occasion. For the whole team who work so hard at Te Akau it's just wonderful."
Co-trainer Jamie Richards was also full of praise for the team behind the success.
"It's a huge buzz as we didn't know where we were before the Avondale Guineas," he said.
"He went home and improved and was just a really happy horse. It's a big thanks to the staff at home who all do a super job as the quality of care these horses get is second to none."
Bosson, who had scored a Group Three victory for Te Akau just one race earlier on Splurge, was quick to acknowledge some luck had played a vital part in the win after nearly colliding with Savile Row.
"I went to go inside Savile Row at the 600 metre mark as he was hanging out but he ducked back in," he explained.
"I then committed to go outside but he ran off again however I was travelling pretty good at the time and knew I had a lot of horse under me.
"He [Gingernuts] started laying in down the straight but he did it easy in the end as he was having a bit of a gaze at the finish."
Gingernuts may get the opportunity to further his record overseas with Te Akau contemplating a trip to Brisbane for the Queensland Winter Carnival later in the year.
- NZ Racing Desk