A stirring contest in the open steeplechase at Te Aroha was finally settled in favour of the Samantha Logan-trained Ngatira Gold when the promising chaser held out a bid by Thenamesbond in the closing stages of yesterday's event.

Having just his second start over the bigger fences after winning on debut at the venue last month, Ngatira Gold and rider Aaron Kuru sat behind a steady pace set by the leading trio of Mr Kanton, Thenamesbond and Nells Belle who took turns in front during the early stages of the race.

Things started to get serious with 1200 metres to run as Thenamesbond succeeded in putting enough pressure on his rivals to split the field up. By then Kuru had Ngatira Gold trucking along nicely in fourth before dashing to the lead with two fences to negotiate.

A bungle at the last fence nearly cost the Logan runner victory however he picked himself up to out-duel Thenamesbond in a torrid last 100 metres to score by a long head at the post.


- NZ Racing Desk