Pierro Gelding Wins G2 Foxbridge Plate
Rejuvenated gelding Dragon Leap (7g Pierro x Pontiana, by Redoute’s Choice) was sent out favourite at Te Rapa on Saturday and defeated second elect Skew Wiff in a thrilling finish to the Group II Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott trained seven-year-old had looked to be peaking nicely after he boomed home to take an Open 1100m contest at Ruakaka earlier in the month and was well supported to win again.
O’Sullivan describes Dragon Leap as one of the most popular in their Matamata stable and was feeling deeply satisfied with result.
“That was just fantastic and great to see a horse, who is a real favourite at home, get a reward like that,” he said.
“Some say he is better than ever, but I think in reality it is the fact that his feet are fine, his action is good, and he is as sound as he has ever been.
“We were a little concerned that the track might be too wet for him, but Andrew and I planned to have him close to the mark by sending him to Ruakaka, which really cleaned him up nicely.
“He also got a great run and ride from Warren, who had him in the right part of the track and he did the rest.”
O’Sullivan will now attempt to snare a Group One prize for owners Hermitage Thoroughbreds with the next start for his charge being the Group I Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings.
“The Tarzino is our next plan as Scotty and I both believe he is a short course type,” he said.
“He did go over ground as a three-year-old but he really does seem better kept to sprinting.
“If he can go well at Hastings we will probably look to give him a break as he does well with his races spaced and the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) and Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) are nice options in the summer.”
TAB Bookmakers reacted swiftly as they installed the son of Pierro the $5 Fixed Odds third favourite for the Group I Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on 9 September behind star mares La Crique and Legarto, who are both listed at a quote of $4.50.
A high class three-year-old where he won the Group II Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Group II Avondale Guineas (2100m) in successive starts before finishing fourth in the Group I New Zealand Derby (2400m), Dragon Leap has now won six of his 20 starts and in excess of $491,000 in prizemoney.
He was a $1,050,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Coolmore draft for Hermitage Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd / Wexford Stables / Andrew Williams Bloodstock and was foaled and raised at Coolmore. He is a sibling to Group I winner Inference, stakes-winner Illation and to the dam of dual Group I winner Jacquinot.
Pontiana is due to foal this spring to So You Think.