The Ken Rae and Krystal Williams-Tuhoro stable enjoyed another successful day out on their home patch at Ruakaka when they picked up a winning double including the Noel Reed Memorial (1400m) with Zelenski.
Having started the day well with a win by maiden galloper Vegas Strip, the father and daughter combination had high hopes for speedy three-year-old filly Deploy in the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m).
The filly had to settle for fourth after suffering interference from eventual runner-up Pacific Dragon in the closing stages.
But the stable soon bounced back, saddling three runners in the open 1400m contest and went within half a length of the trifecta as Zelenski produced a bullocking finish to topple stablemate Follow Your Dreams, with Irish Girl not far away in fifth behind the fast-finishing Mark Walker-trained pair of Prise De Fer and Markus Aurelius.
After regularly playing bridesmaid early in his career, the 17-time placed Zelenski has now found the winning formula, with the six-year-old having saluted in three of his past seven outings.
“He has been placed all his life but has been a little disappointing, although the rating system stuffed him up as he got plenty of points for running third to Catalyst in the Northland Breeders' Stakes (Group 3, 1200m) as a three-year-old and was out of his grade after that,” Rae said.
“We may have paid the price for being too ambitious with him but just lately he seems to have come of age and is really impressing.
“I do think today that race fitness and the 4kg claim that Ace Lawson-Carroll could utilise made a big difference to him.
“Ace rides him really well and it was another good effort as he held him up at just the right time and came with one run which suits him perfectly.”
Rae is likely to put all three of his runners from the race aside for a break now as they build up to an assault on the New Zealand Cup Carnival at Riccarton in November.
“None of my three like racing in the mud so we need to be a little patient with them,” he said.
“There are some nice races during Cup Week and the stakes down there are good so it is the right thing to do.
“Follow Your Dreams could well be a Coupland's Mile (Group 2, 1600m) candidate while Zelenksi can have a look at some of the supporting races and Irish Girl the fillies and mares events.
Rae was philosophical about the buffeting that Deploy took in the Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) and is keen to see her travel to Riccarton as well.
“She (Deploy) got smacked over the head by a whip and was interfered with as well so you just have to take that on the chin and move on,” he said.
“She might have a little break now as well but I would love to get her to Christchurch as that straight 1000m and 1200m would be just perfect for her.”