Graeme Rogerson’s confidence in the prospects of Ichiban at Te Rapa on Saturday saw a few of the owners take extreme measures to be on course for the occasion.
Rogerson shares in the ownership of Ichiban, a two-year-old son of Swiss Ace, with breeder Gerry Harvey and a group of stable clients.
“Paul (Manning) and the other boys have got Te Rapa Car Sales and they closed the yard to be here for the race,” said Rogerson.
“I told them he would win. He’s a good horse and if he’d gone straight in his first race he would have gone close.”
Ichiban finished third on debut behind the highly regarded Ugo Foscolo on a slow track at Rotorua earlier this month and in a bid to improve his racing manners side winkers were put on for the Cambridge Equine Hospital Premier.
Mark Du Plessis, who had also been aboard Ichiban in his debut, noticed the improvement as the youngster tracked the leaders then knuckled down to a hard-fought narrow victory over the pacemaker Barcelo, who refused to give in.
“He raced much better today,” said Du Plessis, who leaves for his Japanese stint on Tuesday. “He’s going to be a nice three-year-old.”
Ichiban is a brother to Staccato, who has won seven races from the Rogerson stable. “We’ve also got a yearling full sister,” said Rogerson.
Ichiban will now be aimed at the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on May 28.
Though beaten, there was plenty of merit in the performance of Barcelo, while Sweet Leader ran on for third, four and a half lengths away. – NZ Racing Desk
Photo by Trish Dunell