Domain Ace dominates on debut

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01 Apr 2024

By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Domain Ace may find himself back on a truck to the Central Districts chasing Group One glory this weekend, after an impressive debut win at Otaki.

The Swiss Ace juvenile generated interest prior to his first race-day appearance at the Easter Monday meeting, holding a nomination for Saturday’s Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Trentham.

With one creditable trial to prepare at Taupo last month, Domain Ace entered the Farmlands Otaki 2YO Maiden (1200m) at a quote of $14, in a market dominated by the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained Truth Or Dare at $1.60.

Jumping positively away from barrier five, Domain Ace sat off pacemaker First Gear down the back straight and the pair were set to fight it out at the 250m, the Team Rogerson representative proving too strong to score by 1 & ¼ lengths under Craig Grylls.

Originally set to be sold by Rogerson Bloodstock in the 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale, co-trainer Graeme Rogerson elected to keep Domain Ace after he was passed in when failing to meet his $50,000 reserve.

“I think he’s something very special, this is a good horse,” Rogerson said.

“I had him in the Ready To Run Sales, but he went that well that I decided to keep him.

“He couldn’t have done any more today, he jumped, he sat, and did everything right. You can’t ask for much more than that in his first start to the races. I thought it was a pretty good field as well.”

Rogerson indicated the two-year-old would return to his Tuhikaramea base on Monday night, before any decision would be made regarding the $450,000 juvenile feature. 

“He’s a beautiful quiet horse. He’s coming home tonight so we’ll see how he travels, and then he’ll go down to the farm in the day time,” he said. 

“It’s a big ask, especially to travel back down to Trentham. The four owners will make up our minds on Wednesday.”

Among the ownership group is Merv and Meg Butterworth, loyal clients of Rogerson and owners of champion pacer Copy That.

 “Merv has about 20 gallopers with me, including Sharp’N’Smart and Just As Sharp. He’s had a lot of nice horses,” Rogerson said.

Another progeny of Swiss Ace, Just As Sharp will contest the Gr.3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2100m) at the Trentham meeting, after placing 3rd, 2nd, and 4th behind star filly Orchestral in the Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m), Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), and Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).

“It shows how good this horse is with Orchestral winning on Saturday, we followed her in the Derby but she was just too strong in the end. He went super there, as in the Avondale Guineas and the Karaka Million 3YO,” Rogerson said.

“I think he’s got the makings of a very good horse, although we are getting offers left, right and centre from Hong Kong for him. We will see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

“I love Swiss Ace’s, I own Makabar and race him on lease to the Pitman’s, and he won nicely down at Riverton as well today.”

Rogerson will also be represented by Group Two performer Solidify in the three-year-old 1600m event at Pukekohe Park on Saturday, the gelding dropping back in distance after a 13th placed finish in the New Zealand Derby. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images PN)