Rhonda Wood impresses on debut at Riccarton

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Rhonda Wood

Two-year-old New Zealand filly overcame some unplanned travel and a rush to get her barrier certificate in the last seven days to run out a gritty winner on debut over 1000m at .

Bred and raced by co-trainer Bruce Tapper and his wife Karen, the daughter of only gained her barrier certificate a week ago so that she could be nominated for Saturday's contest.

Tapper and training partner Varma Ramhit then had to truck her north to Ashburton from their Timaru base on Thursday to get her racing plates fitted after their local farrier couldn't perform the duties for them.

Rhonda Wood took it all in her stride, presenting in outstanding order for her opening assignment and racing accordingly as she tracked favourite Secretxpress throughout before with the -trained filly over the last 300m to snatch victory by a half head at the line.

Tapper has always had faith in the filly who has proven a handful at times, so much so that her debut had to be delayed by six months due to an injury she incurred in her box at home back in December.

“She is a lovely filly, but she can play up at times and that has cost her,” Tapper said.

“We had her ready to race back in December but one morning we were taking the horses out of their boxes and she got a bit agitated waiting her turn and slid her leg under the stable door and her coronary band.

“It is the type of wound you can't stitch so she had to have a three-month spell before we could get her back into work.

“Then it was a bit of a rush to get her barrier certificate and when we did we had to bring her up to Ashburton to the farrier as ours couldn't do the job.

“She never blinked through it all and I was hopeful she would go well and she did just that.”

Tapper will monitor the recovery of his charge before making any further plans but does have a race in mind for her.

“There is a nice two-year-old race at towards the end of July that might be a good target, but we will just take her along quietly to see how she comes through this one,” he said.

“She is from a lovely family and I think she will get better with age, so we could have a handy three-year-old if she can keep improving like I think she can.”

Rhonda Wood is a daughter of mare Rhone and comes from an extended family of outstanding black type performers including Group One winners Joy, Sunday Joy, Bentley Biscuit and Thorn Park.

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