Bring on round three.
Exciting two-year-olds Choice Bro and Ockham's Razor are expected to clash once again in next month's Group One $200,000 Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie.
Choice Bro levelled the score to one a piece when grabbing victory in a driving finish to the $75,000 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth on Saturday.
Australian raider Ockham's Razor went out a odds on favourite after winning last month's $1m Karaka Million at Ellerslie in their first meeting, with Choice Bro winding up fourth on that occasion.
Following the Taranaki group three feature, the connections both horses indicated the Diamond Stakes was likely to be their next target.
The prospect of another third clash is mouth watering, given the fighting qualities both showed in their latest outings.
Just when it seemed Aussie raider Ockham's Razor had the measure of his rival, Choice Bro burst through along the inner to take the decision by half a neck with Ockham's Razor fighting back right to the line.
The race wasn't without incident, a skirmish halfway down the straight caused by Ockham's Razor laying in under pressure and resulting buffeting to at least three other horses including the winner.
Almost certainly, had Ockham's Razor been first past the post, there is little doubt the placings would have been reserved due to the severity of the interference.
At a stewards inquiry later, the rider of the second horse, visiting Victorian jockey Daniel Moor, having his first ride in New Zealand, copped a eighth raceday suspension plus a $1000 fine after pleading guilty to careless riding.
Moor took a seven day stay of proceedings allowed under the New Zealand rules which will allow him to ride Armed For Action or another Anthony Freedman runner in the $A1m Blue Diamond Stakes for two-year-olds in Melbourne on Saturday after which he will start his suspension.
Meanwhile, racing in blinkers for the first time Choice Bro was impressive, the strong looking and athletic Choisir colt showing rare fighting qualities for one of his age to keep responding to his rider's urgings.
''Gee he's tough, said winning rider Matt Cameron. ''We were bouncing off the rail 200(metres) out and I gave him a couple of hard ones (cracks with the whip) and he stuck his head out and took off,'' said the jockeys' premiership front runner.
Choice Bro was a $60,000 purchase by Sargent on behalf of a Perth syndicate at last year's Karaka sale.
''I meet them in a hospitality tent at the sales. They enjoyed themselves so much at the Karaka Million the day before, they wanted to be part of it the following year,'' recalled Sargent.
''They asked me to buy a horse for them and we got two and it turned out they had two runners in this year's Karaka Million. The other horse and also trained by Sargent is Deakes.
''I bought a Tale of the Cat yearling for the same group of owners
this year and paid $60,000 for him too.''
Ockham's Razor was two and three wide most of the way from his wide draw and looked the winner 200 metres out, but couldn't hold out the winner.
Moor said the colt may have needed the race it being his first for three weeks.
''He peaked on his run and was laying a bit up the straight. It was a good run all the same and I think he's going to be better suited by 1400 metres.''
''He blew quite hard too, but he's pulled up well and I see no reason why he shouldn't stay on and have a crack at next the group ones her next month.''
Seleno finished well into third just ahead of Lumiere Blue who was another to make ground late.
- Taranaki Daily News
Will Aaron Cruden's omission hurt or help the All Blacks?Related story: Senior All Blacks 'pretty disappointed' in Cruden