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  • Matt Smith - ODT

Bad start no bad omen for Carston

The vagaries of thoroughbred racing provided Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston with a day at Cromwell that started badly, but only got better.

Pinzano threw away race 3 when she drifted out wide in the straight, allowing Opihi Ranger and Irish Call to dash through to beat her home.

But Carston’s day was back on track 35 minutes later when Elusive Boxers got the nod from judge Graeme Rowland, holding off a late bid from Macy to win the rating 65 1220m.

Meursault went on to win the Paul Ferris Memorial open handicap over 1400m, before Missteeflying was far too good at big odds in the rating 65 2030m.

"It takes all types," Carston quipped as he reflected on races three and four.

"Look, she’s a pretty handy mare and she had no luck whatsoever at Riccarton — you can just forget she went around."

Both Pinzano and Elusive Boxers are raced by syndicates organised by Go Racing.

"It’s a big relief to get a win for those boys — they’re good supporters of mine."

Meursault continued her fine form on the country circuit for part-owner Ian Smart, who also had a bouquet for the Cromwell track.

"It’s a beautiful dead4 [track] and the horse let down. When we race at Riccarton — it’s rock hard and she won’t let down," Smart said.

Smart was on course at Kurow last December to watch the Ekraar mare win the Kurow Cup, and said there was something to be said for men of the land looking after the tracks.

"There’s a farmer looking after the track. At Kurow, there’s a farmer looking at the track," he said.

"There are farmers looking after these tracks. It’s not that difficult but they understand. They look after the grass and that’s all it is."

Smart said a return visit to Kurow on December 30 was on the cards for Meursault after yesterday’s win in the $30,000 feature.

"We’re going to go back to Kurow — we’re going to defend that because I know the guy there will have a dead4. I said, ‘You do it next year and I’ll come back’, and he said he would."

Missteeflying’s upset win at $42.50 was not so much of a surprise to Carston, despite her questionable formline in this campaign.

The 7yr-old dislodged rider Hayley Bennet at Ashburton before getting a check when finishing eighth at Riccarton on October 22.

She then finished 13th at Riccarton on the last day of the New Zealand Cup carnival before turning up to Cromwell with Terry Moseley picking up the ride.

"She’s not the worst," Carston said.

"She’s no star but she tries hard. Terry gave her a lovely ride and she was too good."

Elusive Boxers was ridden by Kylie Williams, who saluted on two other occasions on the day. She won the other feature, the $30,000 open handicap over 2030m, aboard Relevator and also won with a wayward Mulberry, who hung in over the closing stages.

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