It's 1,2,3 for our J.R.D.
Despite having a quieter run by his own high standards of late, there was no stopping John at Ashburton this afternoon with a personal hat-trick, that also doubled as a stable hat-trick.
The day started on a very positive note, with the debutante filly Kotare Yolande delivering a comfortable victory. As impressive as she was, there must have been some nervous moments pre-race for her owners the Abells and Kotare Downs. The filly a half sister to the well-performed Kotare Yaakov was very fractious pre-race and then threw a show ahead of the start.
Safely away from behind the mobile arm, she was soon in front and while gawking around for the first 1200m of the race, was always looking to travel very well. John never had to get too busy on the filly that ran out a comfortable winner by two lengths at the line, running home her last 800m in 57.9, the last 400m in 28.4. She is clearly a filly with a motor and will definitely benefit from today's experience with John confirming as much after the race.
"She was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, but that's just her. Mark Smolenski who broke her in described her as one of the most difficult horses that he he has ever broken in."
"I'm not sure what I will do with her next. Possibly a trip to Omakau, or even to Nelson. That could be the making of her a trip away."
Three races later and it was another stable three year old Spot On that belied a poor formline this time in with what can only be described as an emphatic winning performance.
Safely away, Spot On landed handy on the pace, but was forced to breeze from the 1400m as favourite Chiller Bay assumed the lead. He appeared to relax well for John and travelled well as he went up to the favourite heading for home. After quickly mastering that runner at the 300m, he kicked clear and was five lengths clear of the second placed Twilight Saga at the line.
Owned by Wendy Nordvist, Spot On was a winner on debut on this day last year, on that occasion over stablemate Heisenberg. This time up he had been off his best form.
"We couldn't quite put a finger on it, but he just wasn't quite right. His work had been a lot better though so I was pretty confident he was back to something like his best."
Based on today's victory he is back to something resembling his best form and will be looking to push on through the summer.
The final winner for the day was six year old mare Tyron Bettor's Ella in the mares mile. Away well from a handy draw, she was in front after 200m and trailling Tact Maggie for the last 1200m. Following a comfortable first half in 58.1, the pace increased down the back with a 28 second quarter seeing most off the bit. Turrning for home, it looked a match in two and so it proved. John eased Tyron Bettor's Ella off the trail with her run at 200m and it took her all of that section to get the better of a game Tact Maggie. A final quarter in 27.3 completed a swiftly run mile in 1.53.4.
A late starter to racing, Tyron Bettor's Ella only had her first start in January and has compiled a tidy record, with today's win her 5th from just the 18 starts. She is racing in career best form at present. John was happy with the win but admitted that he was all out to get after Tact Maggie.
"She is a real nice mare that mare and I really had to get up my one to get there. They were both good runs."
The day's feature the Ashburton Cup was taken out by the Purdon/Rasmussen trained Funatthebeach. John was happy with his two runners Alta Maestro - 2nd and Letspendanitetogetha - 3rd.
"I thought that they both went good."
"After they walked the first three quarters of the race, it set it up as no more than a sprint home."
"Timmy's one (Funatthebeach) has gone super though after doing work. I certainly had the chance if we were good enough to beat him, but he was too good on the day."
"Letspendanitetogetha was definitely the run of the race off the 30m."
John now heads to Westport for Boxing Day, where he has close to a full book. He will back up on Westport's Day Two, before the Motukarara meeting on the 29th.
Posted: Sun 23 Dec 2018