Veteran galloper Gino Severini capped off some consistent form of late with a determined performance to take out the Group 2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.
In the hands of Central Districts rider Chris Dell the 10-year-old son of Fastnet Rock travelled comfortably on the Heavy 9 track surface which had started the day as a Slow 5 but deteriorated with persistent rain throughout the day.
Gino Severini and Devastate matched motors early in the run home before Dell pushed his mount clear and he bolted away to win by more than four lengths from Devastate, with Brando back in third.
The Tauranga track has proved a happy hunting ground for the horse as he has never finished out of the money in four starts and registered his last victory in the Group 2 Japan Trophy (1600m) on a similar track surface back in March 2022.
Cooksley was delighted to welcome the stable favourite back to the winners' enclosure although he admitted he wasn't that sure before the race how he would perform in the ground.
“He doesn't really like it when it is heavy and the only two wins he has had on that type of track have now both been here at Tauranga,” Cooksley said.
“Chris said he just travelled so well all the way and he was pretty confident of a win a long way out.
“A mile is his pet distance so we will look around for races like that as I think he has a couple more wins in him.
“He goes well at this time of the year and there are some nice options coming up over the next month or so for him.”
Raced by Wallace and members of the Wallace family, Gino Severini has now won eight of his 60 starts and over $527,000 in prizemoney. Three of those wins have come at stakes level while he also finished third in the 2021 Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).