Main course under-done
Hunterville owner-breeder Chris Grace kicked the day off on the right foot when Galway opened her account in the Mills Reef Winery special conditions mile at Awapuni on Saturday.
It looked the perfect entree for Tullaroan's attempt at his second successive Manawatu Cup later in the day. However, it wasn't to be.
Tullaroan (David Walsh) was unable to repeat his 2010 victory, with last year's runner-up Cassini turning the tables on the Foxton gelding.
Grace took the defeat in his usual laconic manner, coming away knowing he had a pretty good day overall.
Four-year-old Galway (by Savabeel) was a late starter, not having her first raceday start until October this year. She is the second foal of Australian-bred Flying Spur mare Trocair, whose first foal Tullamore (by Savabeel) was sold to the Gai Waterhouse stable as a three-year-old.
Grace has his own broodmare band, established over many years, but Trocair was a good outside purchase, though an "an expensive one" he said.
The same patient policy adopted by Grace with Saturday's winner is likely for a sister to Tullamore and Galway. She is Irish Dream, a three-year-old filly waiting in the wings. She will make her debut in the New Year.
Trocair has left a fourth foal by Savabeel, and a weanling filly by Perfectly Ready.
Nautique (by Pins), whose future here was thwarted by losing an eye in a paddock accident, is a half-brother to Trocair.
However, American racing allows horses such as Nautique to race there and it has been extremely successful with two recent wins in stakes races.
Tullaroan (Generous-Kamahi) made a gallant attempt to score a repeat win in the Manawatu Cup, but he had no answer to Cassini over the closing stages.
It was enough to take his earnings to within $110,000.