New Zealand trainers Craig and Shaun Phelan went home from Cambridge Jockey Club’s Wednesday meeting happy men after recording a double on the synthetic track, which was officially opened by former Racing Minister Winston Peters earlier in the day.
Night ‘N’ Vegas opened the stable’s account in the Martin Collins New Zealand 1550, with stable apprentice Elen Nicholas guiding the Contributer filly to a 1.25 length victory.
She previously had two starts on the track for two placings and her trainers were delighted she was able to break her maiden in the NZD$40,000 race.
“Her form suggested that she was going to peak, so you might as well peak in a $40,000 race,” Craig Phelan said.
Her connections have taken a patient approach with her since buying her online and Phelan said they are now reaping the rewards.
“The boys bought her off gavelhouse and time ticks by and we are great believers in our stable that you have got to give them a bit of time, that’s the best thing for a horse,” Phelan said.
While all three of Night ‘N’ Vegas’s runs have been on Cambridge’s polytrack surface, Phelan believes her form will transition onto the turf.
“I can’t see why she couldn’t go on with it on the turf,” he said.
Later on the card stablemate Hit The Road Jack secured the stable double when winning the Martin Collins New Zealand 2000 by 1.25 lengths over Alamode, with Heart Of A Lion a half-length back in third.
It was the second consecutive win for the gelding and Phelan said the rising five-year-old has finally figured out what racing is about.
“We thought last time that the penny had dropped and that was proven today,” he said.
“He will progress into some of the staying races. He is a typical Jakkalberry and has just needed time. I can see him going on to bigger and better things.”
Hit The Road Jack was also ridden by Nicholas, who is in a purple patch of form at the moment.
“Elen is on fire,” Phelan said. “She just gets out there and does her job.”
The in-form hoop will be aboard stable runner Notabadphelan in the Piako Mitsubishi 1200 at Te Aroha on Sunday, and Phelan is expecting the four-year-old gelding to double-up after winning on debut at the Waikato track earlier this month.
“I can’t see why he can’t win again, he has got the best apprentice on him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Phelan reported that Quiz Kid has come through his fifth placed run in the Oamaru Cup (1600m) on Sunday in good order and will press on to the Group 3 Winning Edge Presentations 124th Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday-week.
“He got bogged down in that really heavy track at Oamaru,” Phelan said. “He has come through it fine, so we will carry on.
“We think that we have got a bit of an advantage over northern horses because we are already down there.”