New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale graduate Brando resumed in the best possible way when winning the Phill Cataldo Bloodstock 1200m at Te Rapa on Friday.
Signalling his readiness when coasting home for fifth at the trials on 21 September at Cambridge, and smooth in the prelim, Brando confronted a well-rounded field and rose to the task in a determined manner.
“It was a really good win from Brando,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “I’d been happy with the way he’d been coming up, with things not quite going to plan since he went to Australia.
“I probably made the mistake of thinking I could improve him by putting blinkers on, but he got to Melbourne, had no luck, and then to Wellington on the back of a long campaign and he just over raced.
“We’ve brought him along nice and quietly and we were waiting for the right time to let him go. Thankfully that worked out well today. He was able to get a good run from an ideal draw (5), with a nice weight (54kg), and having Mascarpone (Shooting to Win) in the race carrying 62kg was a big help to him in keeping the weights down.”
Ridden for the first time on race day by Craig Grylls, Brando began smartly before settling fifth and sighting daylight on straightening he continued lifting in a close finish.
“He stuck it out well and he’s a colt that has shown plenty of ability,” Richards said. “I was really pleased for him to start by winning over 1200 metres, with a view to stepping up in distance.
“We’ll take a few days to firm up plans for Brando, but the Red Badge Sprint (Group 3, 1400m) on the last day (16 Oct.) at Hastings, a race we won with Te Akau Shark, could be a nice option.”