Good-looking gelding Brando notched his eighth career victory when proving a class above his rivals in the Gr.2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga on Saturday
The five-year-old son of Savabeel has previously competed at the highest level, placing in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at three and the Gr.1 Otaki WFA last year.
Ridden perfectly by Wiremu Pinn, Brando tracked up nicely behind the leaders rounding the bend and once a gap presented he dashed away to an easy two-length victory over Marroni with Gino Severini in third.
Brando has now won three of his last four starts after some mixed form earlier in the campaign.
With Mark Walker in Melbourne, assistant trainer Sam Bergerson was left to deputise and cut a satisfied figure.
“I’m thrilled,” Bergerson said. “He has been up and down this whole season. We know the talent is there. It is just a case of which Brando turns up on the day.
“Fair play to Bill (Wiremu Pinn). He gave him a lovely run and the splits came at the right time. It was a fantastic ride.
“He hadn’t won at 1600m which was a bit of a worry. The cut out of the track suited him and the runs appeared at the right time and with a bit of luck on his side the real Brando showed up.”
Brando carried 55kgs under the set weights and penalties conditions of the race and Bergerson admitted it will be a challenge as to where to run him next.
“There is not a lot left for him,” he said. “He is so far out of the handicap now, he needs a race like this where he gets in so well at the weights.
“We will get him home, reassess and see what Mark has up his sleeve.”
Sporting concussion plates, a lugging bit, nasal strip, nose band, shadow roll and tongue tie, it was a case of all the gear and some idea.
“He is a character. He has a mind of his own,” Bergerson said. “We have tried a lot of tricks with him and a lot haven’t worked. Some work and it just depends on the day as to what he feels like doing but the talent has always been there.
“It is fantastic for him to get a result like this.”
Bred by Fairdale Stud, Brando is out of the winning Iffraaj mare Saoirse.
He was purchased by Te Akau Principal David Ellis for $500,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale from the Riversley Park draft. – NZ Racing Desk