Back-to-back wins at his home track over the weekend continued a remarkable season for New Plymouth trainer Robbie Patterson.
The first leg of the double came from Aridity, who scored the sixth win of her 24-start career in the Thrifty Car Rental 1600. It was her fourth win from just eight appearances this season.
Just 35 minutes later, the highly promising Coventina Bay was too good for her opposition in the Energy Vets Taranaki 1200. From just five career starts, the daughter of Shamexpress has now won four races.
"It was another great day yesterday and we're having a boomer of a season," says Robbie.
Robbie has won 17 races from 50 starts in 2019-20. He is rapidly closing in on his career-best total of 20 wins from 128 runners in the 2013-14 season.
"We've had a really good strike rate this year. I think the main difference has been that normally all of my best horses are sold - that's just the nature of the beast."
He says most of his top performers this year have been mares.
"I'm lucky enough that the owners have turned down offers to buy them and have decided to keep racing them themselves.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to keep training these horses – they look like real black-type contenders, so it's exciting."
Robbie is particularly excited about Coventina Bay, who he is now aiming at the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on March 14.
"I think she's right out of the top drawer," Robbie says.
"I expected her to win yesterday, just because she does things on the training track that most other horses can't do, but she was only at about 70 per cent for that race.
"After she won at Te Rapa in November, she had an ailment called kissing spine. She was a bit sore and needed treatment. She'd made good progress since then, but she was still a long way from the top of her game for that run yesterday. So it's onwards and upwards from here."
The other standout performer for Robbie this season has been Dezella, who won three of her seven starts and placed in the Grade three Waikato Cup (2400m) in December. The Zed mare's campaign ended with an 11th placing in the Grade three Wellington Cup (3200m).
"She basically did all of that on her first preparation, all the way up to the Wellington Cup."
Robbie was born and raised in Southland but formed a friendship with Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow through the purchase of subsequent Gore Cup (2000m) winner Something Happened in the 1990s.
That led to a move north and a stint working for Thurlow, followed by a training partnership with fellow Waverley trainer Kevin Gray, which coincided with the career of multiple Group One winner Legs. The pair parted amicably in 2006 when Gray decided to relocate to Palmerston North.