A double dose of stakes delight at Riccarton on Wednesday continued Lisa Latta’s golden run of form at the New Zealand Cup carnival.
The Awapuni trainer claimed top honours in the Gr.3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) with Belclare and her winning lead was followed two races later by He’s A Doozy (Zacanto x The Dewdrop) in the Gr.3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m).
Latta had also savoured black type success on the first day of the meeting with Lincoln’s Kruz successful in the Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) while stablemate Hemi Ridapest was an undercard winner.
He’s A Doozy headed south in prime form after opening his campaign with a second placing at Te Rapa at the end of September and then went one better to triumph in the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.
Despite having full confidence in He’s A Doozy, Latta also admitted to feeling the effect at Riccarton of an outside force.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the pressure today with the Boys Get Paid having so much money on him,” she said.
The social media driven punting and racing enthusiasts Boys Get Paid helped ensure He’s A Doozy started $3.60 favourite, with a $60,000 bet at fixed odds of $5.50 returning a $330,000 windfall.
While Latta may have been under the pump, it was a cool, calm and collected performance from her jockey Kozzi Asano on the son of Zacinto.
“Kozzi rode him beautifully and a touch handier than we normally would and they just did it easily,” she said.
He’s A Doozy was quickly into stride and lobbed along behind the pace before angling into the clear at the top of the straight.
“The way the racing was going, the middle part of the track was the best place to be, the inside was a bit off,” Asano said.
“The leader rolled off so I got out and I thought I may have got to the front too early, but he was too good.
“Thank you to the owners and Lisa for letting me stick with this horse. I’m pleased to get the job done.”
He’s A Doozy has now won seven of his 20 appearances and Latta said stronger competition had brought out the best in the five-year-old.
“He’s been a bit quirky at times and used to over-race, but I think now he is getting up in the grades and they run along a lot better he gets the chance to settle,” she said.
“He will have a week in the paddock now. We set him for this race and everything has gone to plan so we’ll get him home and have a good think about things.”
Latta purchased He’s A Doozy for $70,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale where he was offered by Phoenix Park on behalf of the Dennis brothers.
He is from their prolific family that includes Group One winners The Jewel, The Chosen One, The Perfect Pink, The Twinkle, The Phantom, The Phantom Chance, Irish Chance and La Diosa.
He’s A Doozy was hotly challenged in the closing stages by the Kevin Myers-trained Kick On, but stuck gallantly to his task with Phelan The Power claiming third money.
“It was a super run and he just got held up momentarily, but the winner was too good,” Kick On’s co-breeder and part-owner Sam Trotter said.
Trotter didn’t have to wait long to see his colours in the winner’s circle following homebred Yolo’s success in the closing event, the Haase Marshall Drainage Premier (1800m).
– NZ Racing Desk.