Going in the right direction, Key Largo (NZ) (Ocean Park) produced a stylish victory in the Judea Tavern Maiden (1600m) at Tauranga on Wednesday.
“He’s built to a nice win after continuing to strengthen and grow in confidence with racing,” said co-trainer Pam Gerard.
Stripped ready for action, with Kozzi Asano aboard, Key Largo was first out from barrier nine and crossed to lead without spending too much. After dictating terms in front, he was joined by a line of three turning for home, briefly headed inside the 300m, but raced clear when asked to extend.
“He was very competitive and I think the key today was getting him across to somewhere he was comfortable,” Asano said.
“I wasn’t too sure when he jumped out like he did, but no one else wanted to lead and we got an easy sectional from the corner at the 800m.
“That was probably the winning of the race and he was very strong at the end. He ran out a little bit in the straight, but he’s not 100 percent focussed yet and he had nothing to chase.
“It should help his confidence and I think he’ll handle getting through the grades.”
Winning by two and three-quarter lengths, Key Largo ran 1600m in 1:40.5, last 600m in 35.6, on footing soon upgraded from Heavy8 to Soft7.