Boom three-year-old Catalyst treated his three-year-old rivals with contempt when he produced a devastating home straight sprint to capture the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka yesterday.
The Darci Brahma gelding overcame some trouble early in the run home to dash clear in the closing stages of the contest, winning with consummate ease by more than two-and-a-half lengths from pacemaker Exuberant, with local galloper Zelenski back in third.
Successful in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) at his last start after settling on the speed and then dashing away at the top of the Hastings home straight, this time Catalyst had to prove his worth after being ridden in behind by regular pilot Troy Harris.
Harris settled the raging hot favourite in midfield this time, and rounding the home corner, the pair were briefly pocketed behind a wall of horses as Harris searched for an inside gap.
When that didn't eventuate, Harris hooked his charge sideways and into clear running where he hit top speed within a few strides as he dashed past his rivals for a stunning victory.
"It makes the job easy with a guy like him," Harris said.
"I ended up in a good spot, but straightening, I had to make the choice whether to kick up or pull back. Once I got out, it was all over.
"I wanted to teach him a little bit, as then we have options going into the other races.
"He could be the best horse I have ever ridden."
Connections will now turn their attention to the Group 2 Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings and then the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, confirmed trainer Clayton Chipperfield.
- NZ Racing Desk