Lord Ardmore clears maiden ranks at Tauranga. Photo: Race Images
Trainer Stephen McKee brought up a winning double for Go Racing at Tauranga on Wednesday with Lord Ardmore and Savappiel.
Progressive three-year-old colt Lord Ardmore was having this third career start after being unlucky when placing at Tauranga last month.
Under a positive ride from Sam Spratt, Lord Ardmore travelled in a shandy position for the trip before letting down on in the straight to win by a neck over in-form mare Always Sacred, who is yet to run out of the money in each of her five starts.
McKee said the son of Reliable Man benefited from a step up in distance and was pleased with the effort.
“It was good to see him progress from his first up run,” McKee said. “I thought he was unlucky not to run second fresh up last start.
“The step up to 1400m helped and he finished strongly against some older horses.”
Lord Ardmore holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai 48th New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) though a trip south is yet to be confirmed.
“We are undecided at this stage,” McKee said. “He is a talented colt and bred to go a fair bit further, so we do have one eye on the Derby with him.” There are a few options and if he doesn’t head to Riccarton then there is no need to rush him.”
McKee, who trains out of his property at Ardmore, is taking no credit for the promising colt’s name though said he might change his mind if the colt continues to impress.
“I don’t think he is named after me but if he keeps winning I might have to say he is,” McKee quipped.
Purchased out of The Oaks Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 draft by Albert Bosma for $65,000, Lord Ardmore looks to be an exciting prospect for his owners in the Go Racing Eclipse Syndicate.
Later in the day Savappiel delivered a brave effort to win the Tauranga Event Centre Venue Hire 1600.
Spratt was again onboard for the victory and hit the front early with the daughter of Savabeel. They dictated the pace throughout and despite being challenged on the straight, went on to win by a long head to clear maiden ranks in style.
“She was good,” McKee said. “She had a bit of space between her runs because of track conditions and it was a good progression.
Albert Bosma was delighted with the win and the improvement shown by the mare this preparation “It wasn’t the plan to lead but she got there easily. She was challenged down the straight but fought back when headed, so was tough. She has been a hard going mare and the key to her win is that she is starting to settle better now”.
“We don’t have any set plans for her but she will probably stay in rating 65 company in a few weeks’ time and we would like to get her up over 2000 metres later this preparation.”
Savappiel was purchased out of Windsor Park’s 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 draft and is a daughter of the Group Two placed Singspiel mare Appiel. She is raced by the Go Racing She’s Apples Syndicate. -Picket Fence