Trainer Steven Cole may have to lift his sights with two-year-old Mascarinto after the son of Per Incanto made a mess of his rivals on debut over 1000m at Matamata on Saturday.
Cole has a high opinion of his charge but was happy to settle for a top three placing from the showy black gelding given it was just his second trip away from his Byerley Park base, after winning at the Ellerslie jumpouts earlier in the week.
Cole needn’t have worried as Sarah Macnab had Mascarinto swiftly away from an inside barrier before dictating the pace throughout.
Travelling well on the corner, Mascarinto darted away early in the run home before easing down at the finish to win comprehensively by just on seven lengths from the local pair in Pacific Dragon and Fellini, who chased him home in vain.
Cole, who was watching from his Pukekohe home after being unable to travel outside the Auckland region due to the COVID travel restrictions, was thrilled with the performance.
“We’ve had a high opinion of him since he won his first jumpout at Pukekohe,” he said.
“Andrew Calder rode in his latest jumpout at Ellerslie and told me afterwards he thought he was a very serious horse, which was good to hear and confirmed my own thinking.
“With the travel he had to undertake and it being his first start, I was just hoping he could run in the money, but he went a whole lot better than that.
“I don’t think Sarah even really touched him with the whip, so he was very impressive.”
Cole admitted his phone had been running hot with sale enquiries after the win but would take some time to sit down with his father David and co-owner Murray Notman, before making any decisions about the immediate future for the horse.
“This is the first horse that Murray has raced with us and it’s fantastic to get a win like that on the board,” he said.
“Murray is a harness racing enthusiast, although he and dad have been friends for years. He decided to get into a galloper with us and you couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“We initially weren’t going to pay up for the Karaka Million 2YO with this guy, but we ended up making the payment two days before the cut-off, which looks like a good decision now.
“The win means we can take our time and let him get over this run before we have to look for his next target.
“We had been thinking about tackling the two-year-old race at Pukekohe on Counties Cup Day, but that is probably up in the air like all racing in Auckland due to the restrictions we are still under.”
Cole was also quick to pay tribute to Caley Myers, who has been looking after his horses when they have had to travel to race meetings outside of the Auckland region.
“Caley has just been fantastic and I’d hate to think of how many miles she has clocked up for us,” he said.
“She does a super job and I don’t know how we would have got on without her.”
Out of the Don Eduardo mare Black Mascara, who won six of her 21 career starts, Mascarinto was purchased for NZD$120,000 by Cole out of the Haunui Farm draft during the Book 1 sale at Karaka back in January.
He is closely related to the Australian Group Three winner Adamantium and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) winner, Sky Cuddle.