A promising run behind stablemate Unconquered at the Pirongia Boxing Day races proved the perfect warm-up for the aptly named Straight Sets who got his career off to the best possible start with a victory at Tauranga on Saturday.
The Swiss Ace three-year-old from unraced mare Set For Joy had first use of the rain soaked surface that deteriorated throughout the day and made use of a handy barrier draw to head straight to the front from the off. Apprentice Lee Magorrian set up a steady tempo before asking his mount to kick hard as they entered the home straight with race favourite Pacquiao breathing down his neck.
The response was immediate as Straight Sets established a winning break on his rivals and coasted to the line to win handsomely by four and a quarter lengths in 1.19.86 for the 1300 metre journey. Pacquiao chased gallantly but had to settle for second some eight lengths clear of Tavigarde who plugged on into third.
Co-trainer Graeme Rogerson was pleased with the victory although he had expected the performance based on the gelding’s Boxing Day run.
“He ran on nicely at Pirongia the other day to challenge a horse I think has a future so we did expect something along those lines,” he admitted.
“This guy has just taken a little time to strengthen up but I think there is plenty to work with and that won’t be his last win. I’m going to set him for a race on Karaka Million night next, provided he hasn’t been sold as the phone has been pretty busy following the win.
“He’s a Swiss Ace and I think they are real good horses. It’s only a matter of time before he has a real top performer.”
Rogerson is currently preparing to make his first visit to the Kumara Gold Nuggets racemeeting this weekend as he and wife Debbie take an eight strong team there later in the week.
“I’m speaking at a charity dinner on the Friday night so I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
“We’ve won a lot of races at the meeting before but this will be the first time I’ve actually been to the track so it will be a great experience.
“Sanasar will be our flag-bearer in the main race and we have some nice support runners going as well. I think Michelle (Northcott) is also taking Dualis so it will be a big day.”
Rogerson also advised plans for some of the stable’s other high profile members including Maritimo who will tackle the Gr. 3 Wellfield Desert Gold Stakes at the end of the month. Multiple stakes winner Soriano will step out a week earlier in the Gr. 1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile while Serena Miss is back in work after a short break and will be set for an Australian campaign later in the summer. – NZ Racing Desk
Photo by Kenton Wright - Race Images