Aaron Kuru was one of the stars of jumps racing's return at Te Rapa on Saturday but he wouldn't mind missing the track's far bigger jumps meeting in a few weeks.

Because that would mean Kuru is in Melbourne riding champion jumper Tallyho Twinkletoe, who reminded punters of his greatness with a victory in Victoria yesterday.

Just nine days after winning at Wanganui, Tallyho Twinkletoe carried 72kg to win the $90,000 open hurdle at Pakenham yesterday, surviving a protest from runner-up Bee Tee Junior, with Gobstopper third in an all-Kiwi trifecta.

It was the winner's ninth victory in 10 starts over jumps, in a career interrupted for 30 months by injury in 2015.


Since his return, he has been imperious over both hurdles and steeples, mainly in New Zealand for regular trainer Kevin Myers, but joining Patrick Payne for his Australian raids.

Last season, he won both the Grand National Hurdles and Steeples with Kuru in the saddle but Kuru had to watch from home yesterday as champion Aussie jockey Steve Pateman rode Tallyho Twinkletoe.

Payne also trained the Myers-co-owned Slowpoke Rodriguez to win the Mosstropper Steeplechase in the next race.

If Kuru had his way, he would be on the next plane to Melbourne to start quarantine to ride Tallyho Twinkletoe in his defence of the Hurdles and Steeples next month but he may already be too late for the first on August 2 and doubts he can even get a licence to ride in Victoria for the A$350,000 Steeples on August 23.

"I am struggling to get a licence to ride in Victoria because of the Covid restrictions," says Kuru. "So we have a few different people trying to help and I would do the 14 days quarantine to ride him because he is that good. But it is looking very doubtful, which is a real shame."

As special a rider as Kuru is, horses like Tallyho Twinkletoe don't come along very often, maybe once or twice in a career.

But he can at least take some solace in the fact if he can't get to Australia to ride him, he has some jumping firepower to work with at home.

He rode two of the five jumping winners at Te Rapa on Saturday, with Revolution impressive in the open hurdle but Zedman winning the maiden steeplechase was the horse that had Kuru most excited.


"Revolution is a real smart hurdler, but sometimes with him, it is what version turns up on the day," says Kuru, a former New Zealand softball representative.

"But Zedman is a horse who I have a lot of time for. He ran second to It's A Wonder in his first ever chase last season and has come back better this time.

"He won on the flat [at Ellerslie] last week and was very good on Saturday, so he could be in for a good season."