The Gordonian wins at long odds in $40,000 Winter Classic
Southland horses made an impact at Riccarton on Saturday, highlighted by The Gordonian winning the Winter Classic and Kina Win finishing second in the Grand National Steeplechase.
The Gordonian, prepared by Jo Gordon, and Kina Win, raced out of Sabin Kirkland's stable, are both trained at Ascot Park. Gordon also produced Shakti to run second in the TWS Group Premier on Saturday.
Southland's success started early in the day when Mossburn owner-trainer Allan Stalker won a maiden race with Southern Cool, whose dam, Joint Effort, triumphed in the Grand National Hurdles in 2010.
Kina Win's jockey, Stuart Higgins, of Invercargill, had two other rides on Saturday for a win (Jackfrost) and a second (Additup).
The Gordonian responded gamely for North Canterbury apprentice Krishna Mudhoo in the final 100 metres of the Winter Classic to beat favourite Doiknowyou by three-quarters of a length.
Kina Win was gallant in defeat in the Grand National Steeplechase. He took a narrow lead soon after jumping the last brush but couldn't hold out Upper Cut's late rally.
"I thought we had it," Kirkland said.
Higgins felt the same.
"He gave all he had, I was thrilled with him."
However, after the race Kirkland noticed Kina Win had knocked a tendon.
"It's not too bad, he's over-reached.
"He's got windgalls and I don't put boots on him because they irritate him."
The gelding is booked to travel north on Monday for prestige jumping races at Ellerslie - Pakuranga Hunt Cup (August 26) and Great Northern Steeplechase (September 9). Kirkland and a veterinarian will examine the tendon on Sunday before a final decision is made on the trip.