Numero De Lago excels at jumps
Timaru trainer Michael Daly is looking to keep his feet on the ground even if one of his horses Numero De Lago is turning heads by taking flight over hurdles.
Two career starts resulting in back-to-back wins over jumps were never meant to be in the five-year-old's future when he was racing in a $1 million race over the flat, with Mark Walker's stable as a two-year-old but plans always change.
The horse has always shown promise but has just three wins and 10 minor placings from 38 starts on the flat.
Numero De Lago's 9 length win in the open handicap jumps race, at Phar Lap Raceway, on Friday surprised many, including Daly.
"It was a shock to me," Daly said. "I thought before the race that there were four horses who were pretty good, so if I finished fifth, I'd be doing all right.
"To win like he did was a real surprise."
Daly said he had been toying with turning him into a jumper for the past year but only put the plan into action once he nervously approached the owners about
"I'd been schooling him around home a wee bit during this time last year and he seemed to jump pretty well.
"He could have got his ticket [to be a jumper] last year but I only got serious this season.
"He's always been a mind-boggling horse, mixing his form but he is a talented horse.
"He'll be six in a couple of weeks, and could have another two or three years as a jumper."
Daly said he wanted to take his time getting Numero De Lago more experience over jumps, which would likely see him target races at Timaru or Oamaru over the next month, while throwing in a few runs over the flat.
"I'm in no hurry with him," Daly said. "It is tempting to take him to Riccarton the way he is going but I don't want to push him [before he is ready]. I'll just enjoy the run we're on now."
Stablemate Cloudy Pete also broke through for his maiden victory during the meeting, which Daly said was always on the cards once the horse transferred his training work form to raceday.
- © Fairfax NZ News