A rails-hugging ride by Terry Moseley paved the way for local runner Lord Darci to break a 22-year hoodoo for local Canterbury stables when he took out the Group 3 Winning Edge Presentations 125th Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday.
Bred, raced and trained by former All Black Bevan Wilson and his wife Robyn, the five-year-old son of Darci Brahma turned the tables on his last-start conqueror Summer Festival as he out-finished the former Italian Derby winner to win going away by two lengths at the winning post.
Away well from barrier seven, Lord Darci handled the testing Heavy 10 conditions with aplomb before looming into contention along the inner as the field fanned across the track at the top of the long Riccarton home straight.
Summer Festival, who had led throughout, was going strongly in front and fought hard when joined by Lord Darci at the 300m before succumbing late in the piece, with Verry Flash running on well from the back to take third albeit eight lengths in arrears of the winner.
Wilson was rapt with the performance as his charge became the first local runner to win the race since McLaskry in 1999.
“That was very satisfying as when we first laid eyes on this bloke, we didn't even think he would get to the races,” Wilson said.
“He just keeps stepping up and it has been a wonderful thrill for us all.
“He is the seventh or eighth generation out of this family and it is just great to get a good horse again.
“He was his own worst enemy there for a while and wanted to win his races at the start.
“It took a couple of runs to get the recipe right, and now he has, it is all good.”
Lord Darci is the first foal out of Wilson's eight-race winner Madam Victoria, who won four times at Listed level including the 2016 Timaru Stakes (1400m).
A mud-spattered Moseley was sporting a wide grin after the victory, his first in the race.
“I've always thought he was a nice up and coming horse but I did think it might be a year too soon for him,” the 55-year-old jockey said.
“With the way the track is playing I thought the older, more seasoned horses might have it but there is no doubt about it, he is a talent.
“Bevan had said to me to ensure I didn't get there (the lead) too soon and as it turned out I did.
“I just jogged up on the corner and hadn't moved a muscle on him, but he fought well and is a nice horse in the making.
“I hopped off the winner last year (Major Tom) and this is a race that has eluded me, so this is ticking a box, especially when you get to my age.”
Lord Darci has now won four of his 13 starts and over $115,000 in prizemoney.