It was some Kevin Myers magic at play at Riccarton on Saturday when outsider Mondorani ($22.60) stormed home down the outskirts of the Riccarton track to take out the 158th running of the Gr.3 Martin Collins New Zealand Cup (3200m).
Myers has long made Riccarton a happy hunting ground despite operating from his North Island base at Whanganui.
Having already produced four winners during the Cup Week carnival, including a double earlier in the day with Kopua and Ucalledit, Myers provided the piece de resistance with the seven-year-old Mondorani who went into the race with some useful lead-up form including a fourth in last week’s Listed Metropolitan Trophy (2500m).
After settling in a nice position in midfield, rider Sarah Macnab never panicked as she found herself shuffled back to near last against the rail with 800m to run after several lead changes up front.
Macnab got to work on her mount who began to make up good ground in the run home before finding an extra gear at the 200m as he stretched hard to down favourite Beaudz Well and Leaderboard in a driving finish to the race.
Macnab, who shook her head in disbelief shortly after passing the winning post, was still trying to take it all in after returning to the birdcage.
“I spoke with Kevin and he said to just let it all unfold in front of me,” she said.
“I was flat on the home turn, but he had said to get to the outside and he knows best and it has paid off.”
Macnab has started the season with a bang, sitting sixth on the national jockeys’ premiership with 21 wins, including five at stakes level.
“I can’t really explain it all at the moment,” she said.
“I can’t thank Kevin enough for giving me the opportunities that has got me to where I am today.”
Myers, who watched the race from his home, was delighted with the performance and especially for his staff member Lisa Kennedy who has done most of the work with the son of Burgundy
“He’s always been a good stayer and I thought he was up to winning a race like this,” he said.
“Sarah got off last week and said he wouldn’t have blown out a candle, so, if things worked out, he would be a good chance.
“All credit to Lisa Kennedy as she has looked after him and pretty much told me how to train him.
“She has got him into the position he is in now and she deserves to be recognized for her efforts.
“His owner John Murdoch is also a beauty and a great owner to have in your stable.
“He lets me do what I like with his horses and is first on the phone with congratulations when they do well.
“I’m thrilled for him to get a win like this.”
Mondorani is raced by his breeders, John and Karlene Murdoch and is the first foal out of their More Than Ready mare, Del Mondo, the granddaughter of dual Australian Group One winner Arborea. – NZ Racing Desk