Quality mare House Of Cartier proved a class above her rivals when she took out the Listed Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni.
The Peter Didham-trained mare was having her first start since finishing fifth at Group One level in the Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings and was installed a warm +150 favourite for Saturday’s contest.
On a day that was favouring those handy to the pace, rider Sarah Macnab had House Of Cartier off the fence from an inside draw quickly after the start and she made a decisive move when looming into contention on the home bend.
House Of Cartier wound up powerfully in the home straight and drove clear from pacemaker Marietta Lane to win comfortably by three and a half lengths, with Sir Nate battling on well to claim third.
Didham went into the race with confidence as the mare had worked brilliantly during the week in preparation for the race.
“I’m just stoked with that as she won very well and it was a super ride by Sarah,” he said.
“She got her off the fence and in the clear and the mare likes to get rolling in her races.
“Sarah really had her trucking on the corner and once she balanced up, she just raced clear and did it on her ear.
“I thought she would be hard to beat as her work during the week was fantastic and she kept licking her feed bowl clean every night.
“She has had quite a light prep this time in with just the two trials and two races and I think that has really suited her.”
Didham will now sit down with owners Bill Gleeson and Peter Gillespie to discuss immediate plans for the mare, however a visit to Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel has been taken off the table for this year.
“We had planned to put her in foal this season, however she has been going so well, that option has been put on the back burner,” Didham said.
“I think she may have one more run and then she can have a break from those hard summer tracks and come back in the autumn.
“She can go on top of the ground, but prefers the cut in the track and there are some nice races for her in the autumn.”
The victory brought up a double for Didham after impressive debutant Morus caught the eye when storming home from well back to take out a maiden 1300m contest.
The royally bred three-year-old is a son of Savabeel and outstanding southern racemare Include, who won ten of her 16 starts with three of those at stakes level.
“He is a pretty exciting horse that has just taken a little time to learn what it is all about,” Didham said.
“I’ve given him five trials, which is unusual for me, but the last trial was very good and he came out today and won very impressively.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, so he could be sold pretty quickly, but if we end up keeping him, then there is a lot to look forward to.”