Classy winter performer Gospodin extended his impressive record on the Te Rapa track when he made it back-to-back victories at the venue on Saturday.
Successful there over 1200m a fortnight ago when having the second run of his current campaign, the Jim Pender-prepared five-year-old once again relished the Heavy 10 surface in the hands of apprentice Kelsey Hannan.
Hannan made good use of her 2kg claim, that saw the son of Proisir carry 59kgs in the open 1300m handicap event, as she positioned Gospodin beyond midfield before setting out after pacemakers Crystallize and Tightlign entering the home straight.
Gospodin produced a powerful burst to strike the front at the 200m before easing clear of Crystallize, who fought gamely for second, with Thunder finishing off nicely in the final stages for third.
Pender believes that once his charge strikes form, he is more than capable of mixing it with the best, pointing to his six consecutive victories in the 2021/22 season along with his runner-up finish in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford last winter.
“He’s a very good but underrated galloper,” Pender said.
“When he won six in a row, he did it at six different tracks and went from maidens to open company.
“He took on some pretty handy types in Sydney in the Takeover Target and only just got pipped, so I have no doubt he is up to most when he gets conditions to suit.
“In saying that he is not just a heavy track horse, he is just a very good horse who tries hard every time.”
Pender will resist the temptation to return to Australia this winter after plans went awry during a brief Brisbane campaign following his Gosford effort.
“We won’t go back to Brisbane as he is just not a horse that is suited there,” he said.
“He had all sorts of problems and we didn’t see the best of him, so we will stick closer to home this time.
“He is going to be carrying big weights but I might just give him one or two more starts before taking a break and then concentrating on the first two days of the Hastings Spring carnival.
“The Tarzino Trophy (Group 1, 1400m) in September is the goal and then maybe the Arrowfield Stud Plate (Group 1, 1600m) on the second day.”
A grandson of hardy racemare Tough Call, who won twice at Listed level, Gospodin is raced by his breeders the Matijasevich family under their Markwood Lodge banner and has now won eight of his 27 starts for over $217,000 in prizemoney.
The victory also brought up a treble for Hannan, who has just returned to riding after sustaining a broken wrist that saw her spend over eleven weeks on the sideline.