A perennial bridesmaid at the highest level, consistent galloper Wyndspelle finally cracked a maiden Group 1 triumph when he took out the Group 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) in fine style at Trentham.
No-one could deny the six-year-old Iffraaj entire deserved a second win in stakes company following his Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) victory as a three-year-old, as he had recorded eleven black type placings including four runner-up finishes at Group 1 level. The Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard-trained galloper had tuned up for Saturday’s contest with a fast-finishing second to the promising Rock On Wood at Awapuni last month and was installed a $5.60 second favourite behind Matamata mare Supera ($2.00).
A tardy beginning didn’t augur well for his chances as he settled near last against the fence for rider Jason Waddell, however, Waddell played a waiting game before moving closer approaching the home turn. Angled into the middle of the track, Wyndspelle produced an irresistible burst that quickly took him to the front where he comfortably held out a game Shadows Cast with Cambridge visitor True Enough making up plenty of ground to finish third ahead of Supera.
Amidst jubilant scenes in the Trentham birdcage co-trainer Benner was trying hard to keep his emotions in check as he waited for his charge to return to the winner’s stall. “We’ve all had some special days on a racecourse but this is a special horse and he deserved that,” Benner said. “It was a peach of a ride as Jason is a very very good jockey and half a mile out, I knew we were a winning chance as Jason was just sitting so quietly. “I know this will mean a lot to Jason as he has a great association with the horse and he chose to ride him over a couple of others and he was repaid.”
Benner was quick to pay tribute to part-owner Jen Campin who placed Wyndspelle with he and Wynyard after the horse returned from a seventh month stint in Australia after doing his early racing from the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs stable at Ruakaka. “We’ve got all of Jen’s horses in the barn now and she is just so easy to train for as she lets you do your own thing,” he said. “It’s a massive reward for her as people like that put a lot of money into the game, so obviously these results are very special.”
Wyndspelle holds a nomination for a number of upcoming summer features including both the Group 1 J R & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) and Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham next month with Benner relaxed about what path he takes to get there. “He owes us nothing so we will just take it week by week but there is a lovely summer programme for the horse,” he said.
Waddell was also choking back the tears as he dismounted after the race. “He’s a horse that I’ve always been so fond of and he deserved it more than anybody else out here,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. “He got out a little bit stagnant as he can do and the race was upside down as I didn’t expect a speed like that, so I just let him get comfortable.
“I got him out at the top of the straight and I saw Shadows Cast there and I thought this is going to be a good little battle. “He’s so brave as he got there at the 200m and I just had to keep his mind on the job.”
A $75,000 purchase from the Hallmark Stud draft by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo at the 2015 Select Yearling Sale, Wyndspelle has now won four times and been placed on a further sixteen occasions from his 39 career starts, with over $775,000 in stakes earnings.