A nail-biting finish to the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa was settled in favour of last year's runner-up Tiptronic when he stuck his nose in front at just the right time to down a gallant True Enough in the day's middle-distance weight-for-age feature.
With South Island raider Camino Rocoso setting a breakneck speed in front, it was left to True Enough and Tiptronic to drag the field up to the tearaway who still led by six lengths approaching the home turn.
The pair went to war shortly after straightening as they quickly collared the pacemaker with no more than a neck between them over the final 350m. Just as True Enough put his head in front, Tiptronic fought back to get the deciding stride in for his first Group 1 victory and sixth career win from 30 starts.
Rider Jason Waddell, who had earlier picked up the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) aboard Jennifer Eccles, was nearly speechless when asked for his reaction after the photo-finish had confirmed the Graham Richardson-trained runner had got the win.
"Wow, I'm a little bit lost for words," he said.
"Congratulations to Graham and Rogan Norvall [assistant trainer] and their whole team, as the horses are prepared magnificently and trained right down to the second."
Meanwhile, excitement machine Te Akau Shark sent out an ominous warning to his Australian rivals as
he finally got a deserved Group 1 prize when taking out the BCD Group Sprint (1400m) with a scintillating performance.
The showy chestnut was making his first race day appearance since finishing a meritorious third behind Lys Gracieux in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in November.
An eye-catching gallop on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie was preceded by a handy performance behind gun three-year-old Catalyst at the Matamata trials and saw the Rip Van Winkle five-year-old installed an overwhelming $1.40 favourite in a small but select field at Te Rapa.
His large ownership group and thousands of supporters had their hearts in their mouths midway through yesterday's contest as the free-going The Mitigator had his rivals struggling to make up ground as he went for glory at the 600m.
A conservative six lengths adrift of The Mitigator with less than 300m to run, rider Opie Bosson didn't panic as he set the Shark alight.
With a devastating turn of foot, Te Akau Shark circled, then swooped on his rival as he dashed past to score by two lengths from The Mitigator, with South Island mare Kiwi Ida booming home into third.
- NZ Racing Desk