Pint sized mare Kai (Ocean Park) showed her undoubted ability on wet and loose footing when she stormed down the outskirts of the Wingatui track to take out the feature race there on Boxing Day, the Listed Property Brokers – Ray Kean Hazlett Stakes (1200m).
Heavy overnight rain and persistent showers during the day saw the track downgraded to a Heavy 10 which played into the hands of the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained northern visitor as three of her previous four career wins had come on similar surfaces.
Handled patiently by Kylie Williams, the daughter of Ocean Park sat three-wide with cover beyond midfield and was still amongst the tailenders early in the run home.
Williams had her winding up nicely though and she swamped her rivals in the last 100m to defeat local galloper Adannaya and pacemaker Emanon with her sustained burst.
Walker, who was at Pukekohe where their team won five of the 10 races on the programme including the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) with Campionessa, was delighted with the win which came off a solitary trial over 1000m for the mare, following a two-month break.
“It’s great when a plan comes together as after her last start win back in October her owners were thinking about sending her to a stallion to be served,” Walker said.
“We had a chat about it and I said I thought she could definitely get some black type if we placed her right and this race today became the target.
“It’s a hell of a long way to go from Matamata to Wingatui for a race but when she drew the outside and the rains came, everything just started to fall into place.
“It was a very good ride by Kylie as she used the mare’s great finishing speed to perfection.
“This is fantastic for her owners and I think she hasn’t stopped winning just yet either.”
Walker hadn’t set any concrete plans for the mare but said a Listed 1400m open event at Riccarton on 27 January was definitely an option worth considering.
Bred by Daniel and Elias Nakhle and raced by a group that includes Ohukia Lodge principal Jamie Beatson, Kai becomes the 21st individual stakes winner for Waikato Stud based stallion Ocean Park.
She is out of the Testa Rossa mare Brilliant Blush and hails from a family that includes Group One winner Stella Cadente, a host of Australian stakes performers along with the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained filly Grail Seeker who finished third in the Gr.2 Hallmark Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe during the day.