Hardy nine-year-old Pep Torque (Nadeem x Cosmic Flight) finally got the big win he deserved after producing a gritty performance that saw him dominate the finish to the Listed Mode Technology Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni.
The Kirsty Lawrence-trained runner had been off the winner’s list since February 2021 before scoring a fresh-up victory over 1650m at Waverley earlier in the month, although he had managed four runner-up finishes between victories including being narrowly beaten in the Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata.
Handled confidently by rider Kate Hercock, who had dead-heated for first aboard Zappa Jak in the previous race, Pep Torque settled in a handy position behind pacemakers Deerfield and Zee Falls in the early stages of the contest.
Zee Falls made a strong move to take a clear lead at the 800m as Hercock tracked that runner into the race and sent Pep Torque around the outer to challenge on the point of the turn.
At that stage it was evident the veteran was travelling far better than his rivals as he burst clear in the last 200m to take victory by a length from a game Zee Falls, with Charms Star closing strongly for third.
Lawrence was quietly confident of a good performance from her stable favourite and got the exact result she had desired.
“He’s a real stable favourite and is just really neat to have around,” she said.
“He was very fit going into the race and I thought he would relish the good footing we’ve got today.
“Kate has been riding him a lot lately as we have been heading to Hastings every morning as it is too wet at home (Waipukurau) and we have worked really hard together.
“I love this little horse and he deserved that today.
“He is as honest as the day is long and being a lot fitter for this campaign, it has been easier to get him up to the 2100m.”
By Nadeem out of Star Way mare Cosmic Flight, Pep Torque comes from an extended family that includes multiple stakes winner Cog Hill and Australian Group One winner Ark Regal.
He has now won nine of his 73 starts, along with 17 placings and just under $250,000 in prizemoney.
Lawrence also advised that promising intermediate grade runner Real Slim Tradie, who won impressively over 1200m in rating 75 company on the last day of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival, would is on target to start at Te Rapa next weekend. – NZ Racing Desk