Progressive mare Synchronize made her long-awaited return to the racetrack a winning one when she produced a sizzling home straight sprint to take out the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m) at Pukekohe.
The Mark Walker-trained four-year-old was returning from an enforced absence after she bled when finishing well back at Taupo in August.
Two handy trial runs, including a second over 1000m behind stablemate Fashion Shoot at Avondale a fortnight earlier, had her ready for Saturday's black type assignment and she didn't disappoint in the hands of in-form South African pilot Craig Zackey.
2022 Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap Replay – Synchronize
Zackey settled the daughter of Savabeel near the rear on a hot speed and was still spotting the leaders several lengths rounding the home bend. Held up for one run at them, Synchronize hit top gear in a couple of strides as she burst past former Hong Kong galloper Green Aeon to take the win by an ever increasing two lengths at the finish line.
“I thought she'd go well fresh and it is just unfortunate that she bled in the spring,” Walker said.
“We're on top of that problem now and the key to her is to keep her in a nice, fresh state.
“We knew she had the ability and it was a good ride by Craig as he held her up, held her up and she showed a great turn of foot.
“They were back a fair way, but it looked like they went a good enough clip (in front) and we know with that turn of foot, if we can keep on top of her problems she has a lot more in store.”
Walker will monitor the mare's recovery before deciding on her next target but has his eye on another stakes race at the venue.
“We'll just go home and sleep on it, but we might come here for the Concorde Handicap (Group 3, 1200m) next month,” he said.
Zackey, who was completing his fourth stakes victory since arriving from South Africa in November, was pleased with the win after running into trouble early in the home straight.
“I was in a good position until the bend came and then it got a little bit rough,” he said.
“I got pushed out the back, but the more I was riding her patiently the more she just started to climb against the bit and when she got through a tight gap, she just exploded.”