Nashville gives rich encore at Riccarton
Exactly 12 months to the day since his maiden debut win at Riccarton, Hunterville galloper Nashville returned yesterday and claimed one of the major prizes of New Zealand racing's biggest week.
The stunning son of boom sire Darci Brahma etched his name into the record books with a bold display to claim the Group II $230,000 Couplands Bakeries Mile.
For a horse having just the 10th start of his racing career it was quite a feat.
Quite a feat, too, from trainer Adrian Bull and rider Kelly Myers, who went back-to-back in the race after winning last year on Platinum Princess, who finished third yesterday.
Myers was effusive in his praise.
"[Nashville] was just awesome out there," Myers said.
"He had a really difficult draw to work with but that didn't really matter too much because he loves to get back in his races and then run home.
"During the running he was travelling beautifully, and I thought OK, this is going pretty well.
"We probably actually got to the front a little earlier than I would have liked . . . but he kept going to the line."
When he came down last year to win his maiden, Nashville did so with a big reputation. Since that day he's won a further four races and performed well in Australia.
In preparation for yesterday, Bull elected to give Nashville a fresh-up run at Whanganui.
"Adrian is a very astute trainer and has done a really great job with this horse," Myers said.
"He's been trained to the minute for this race, I'm really looking forward to the future with him."
It was double success for the Bull family as Nashville is owned by Adrian and his wife, Robyn, meaning the majority of the $137,500 winning stake will stay with them.
The win also provided a special bonus for race sponsor Ray Coupland, who is a major player in the South Island racing scene both as a sponsor and an owner.
Coupland owns a small share in Nashville's sire Darci Brahma.
The performance of runner-up Shuka, who was trapped three wide for a good portion of the race, will have left former Cantabrians and trainers Peter and Dawn Williams wondering "what if" yet pleased with the performance, while Platinum Princess stormed home late to run third.
The Myers and Bull combination found themselves in the winner's circle earlier in the day when the promising Bamboo might light work of a maiden field.