First winner for Vespa

Piaggio (outside) winning at Tauherenikau on Thursday. Photo: Race Images

Wellfield Lodge stallion Vespa picked up his first win as a sire when Piaggio (NZ) took out the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1000m) at Tauherenikau on Thursday.

It was a special day for trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard who trained Vespa to seven victories, which included Group One glory in the Diamond Stakes (1200m).

Benner was delighted to record Vespa’s first win as a sire and said he was struck by the similarities between the pair when he inspected him at Karaka earlier this year and later went to $8,000 to secure him out of Three Valleys’ Book 3 draft.

“It was definitely special,” Benner said. “We obviously owe Vespa a lot.”

“It was nice to purchase this fella for a minimal amount and have a chance of getting into the Karaka Million (RL, 1200m) hopefully.

“I thought he was very similar in the body to Vespa and very similar in a lot of ways. A lot of their features are the same and he had a little bounce about him.”

Piaggio had two previous starts for a third-placing on debut before he parted ways with jockey Jason Waddell at Otaki last month. However, he made up for that hiccup with a dominant 1-1/2 length victory on Thursday.

“He has got a fair bit of ability, it was a good performance,” Benner said. “Lisa (Allpress, jockey) rode him arrogantly, like the best horse in the race. For a tired horse, he has been through a bit in the last few weeks, he won dominantly.”

He will now head for a brief break before being set for a tilt at the Karaka Million in January, a race his sire won in 2014.

“He will have a month in the paddock now,” Benner said. “He has been through a bit. Our plan wasn’t to come here, we were hoping if Otaki had gone to plan we would already have been out for a few weeks.

“He is very immature still, but we have got plenty of time. The main thing for us is to get a few more dollars in the bank and get around Auckland. It would be great to get him in the race.”

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