Ageless El Chico does Pitman proud

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 09:28 30/12/2013

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El Chico was almost scratched from Saturday's listed Timaru Cup, a race he won after again upstaging his younger rivals.

The evergreen nine-year-old handed age, weight and a beating to his rivals in the feature at the Phar Lap Raceway for his 19th career win.

"John Parsons and I were talking this (Saturday) morning and he said he was pulling Arietta out and at 6.55am I wasn't going to run him because of the track and it was only when Arietta scratched that I decided to," El Chico's trainer Michael Pitman said.

"He's been very unlucky in this race before and he's just a grouse old horse."

El Chico sat off the speed and came with a well-timed finish to down pacemaker Dr Dee Bee, who was had a two kilo advantage.

"It was a beautiful ride by Terry (Moseley)," Pitman said.

He races the son of Stravinsky with John and Evelyn Carran.

The gelding's earnings have topped $450,000.

"I bought him as a country cups horse and he's won 14 races for us now - we only paid $20,000 for him," Pitman said.

"He's in at Kurow and Waikouaiti so he'll run next at one of those two places."

El Chico won his first two races when based in the North Island and was also successful for Ashburton trainer Jan Hay before he joined the Pitman team.

He has subsequently won at Group Three level in the Easter Cup and the Stewards Stakes, as well as the listed Timaru Stakes, but a career high performance came in defeat at Trentham last year when he ran third to Guiseppina in the Gr1 Telegraph Handicap.

While best known as a sprinter-miler, El Chico has also displayed versatility and has made his mark over ground in open handicap company.

"He's won over 2000 metres at Riccarton and went 2.01.19," Pitman said. "He's just a great old horse."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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