Underrated galloper Gino Severini provided a fitting tribute to his part-owner, the late Ray Wallace, when he produced a fighting performance to take out the Group 2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga on Saturday.
One of the most familiar names in the New Zealand training ranks for over forty years, Wallace passed away recently at the ripe old age of 92.
Sporting the well-known blue and white colours of the Wallace family, Gino Severini overcame a wide run for rider Andrew Calder to out-finish Hypnos and Cheval Prometteur in the Group Two feature.
Prepared by Wallace’s son Bruce in partnership with former top jockey Grant Cooksley from their Byerley Park base, the eight-year-old son of Fastnet Rock came into the race off an extended campaign that had seen him competitive in a number of Group One features over the spring and summer including a close-up finish for third behind Callsign Mav in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate back in September.
“He is always thereabouts and tries very hard,” Cooksley said.
“He has been up for quite a while but we’ve spaced his races well and he has had a few niggles that have meant we had to back off him a few times.
“The big worry today was whether he would handle the Heavy 10 track, but he had won a trial in similar ground before and I think being out wide probably helped him out.
“He is the sort of horse that likes a bit of room so he got that today and delivered.
“Andrew actually said that when he got to the front, he waited a little for them, but when he saw Hypnos coming, he knuckled down again and won it pretty well.
“It is a great result for the Wallace family after Ray passed away and we might just have had that bird on the shoulder to get that win for them.”
Cooksley advised that Gino Severini would most likely head to the spelling paddock for a decent break before returning for another spring campaign next season.
“He is quite lightly raced and being bred to northern hemisphere time is six months below the age in the book,” he said.
“He can have a break now and we’ll bring him back next season for a similar path to the one he had for this campaign.
“We will change a few things around but while he is competitive in the top grade there are plenty of opportunities for him.”
The victory was win number seven for Gino Severini, who has taken his career prizemoney to in excess of NZD$377,000.