Progressive galloper Super Strike reminded racing pundits of his undoubted ability when he produced a powerful finish to score first up over 1200m at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The Super Easy gelding had been off the scene since sustaining a muscle injury when running second at the venue back in December last year.
Trainer Richard Collett took a patient approach with the Janet Hepi bred and owned four-year-old who has taken time to grow into his imposing frame. Two handy trial outings at Ruakaka sharpened him up for his raceday reappearance and he looked every inch a galloper going places as he easily lumped topweight of 59.5kgs to victory in the hands of Collett’s son-in-law Andrew Calder.
Collett wasn’t on hand to witness the triumph as he was in New Plymouth with stablemate Sweet Clementine, who went a bottler to finish fourth in their Group Three feature but was pleased with the race report from Calder.
“Andrew was very complimentary of the run and the way the track played as he is a horse that needs good ground,” Collett said.
“He (Super Strike) did a good job and I actually didn’t realise that they ran 1.09.44 until I got home and watched the replay so I thought geez it’s been a big effort to come from where he did to win.
“He just took a while to find clear air and had to come between a couple to make his run but he was very strong to the line.”
Super Strike had impressed when winning his maiden on debut at his home track last November with Collett hoping to see him step up to better company before the untimely injury came about.
“When he had his third start and got beaten by Star Of Bombay at Ellerslie, he pulled up sore behind,” he said.
“When we watched the replay, it looked like he might have done the injury when he was clearing the starting gates.
“He was very scratchy when he came off the track which is unusual as most times with that sort of muscle problem it isn’t for a few hours later when they have cooled down that it becomes apparent.
“It took its toll on him and he took a long time to recover although we had him ready to go in the autumn before the lockdown took effect.”
Following his first up victory there have been a number of offers to buy the horse however they been rejected by Hepi who has been racing horses with Collett for many years.
“Janet, who bred and owns him, has been with me for a long time and I think she is keen to retain and race this one here in New Zealand for as long as possible,” Collett said.
“You get offers all the time but I can understand when you get a smart one that you want to keep them and enjoy that success.
“He’s a big lad at around the 560kg mark and there is still plenty of improvement left in him.
“He’ll be going 1400m at his next start and will most likely carry the blinkers as he is a pretty laidback customer.
“We tried him blinkers at home the other day and he was very sharp so we will keep that option for him but I think he is ready to go through the grades during this preparation.
“He will go back to Ellerslie in three weeks and then we will plan from there but there is a nice sequence of races around here over the next few months, so we have a lot to choose from.”
Collett also reported that impressive Taupo winner No Filter had made good progress since his debut victory and was still on target for an attempt at the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 7.
“We’re just deciding how we will go with him (No Filter),” he said.
“We gave him a very easy week after he won as he is quite a light framed horse.
“We’re mindful of his nomination for Christchurch so we are looking at where we run him next and whether he will then go to the 2000 Guineas or whether we keep him home for some later assignments.
“With there being flights available to Christchurch it does make it easier for him, so we might just run him the once before we make the final decision but I should know where we are heading in the next week or so.”
No Filter currently sits on the third line of betting at $10 in the TAB’s Fixed Odds market for the 2000 Guineas with the Te Akau Racing representative Need I Say More the clear favourite at $3.