Trainer Andrew Carston knew Khorabella had matured since her three-year-old season but even he was surprised by the way she won the Punter’s Challenge April 7 – Enter Now Maiden (1400m) at Riccarton on Saturday.
Jumping from barrier two, the four-year-old daughter of Darci Brahma was settled midfield by jockey Racha Cuneen before storming home wide from the 200m mark to win by 3.3 lengths running away.
“I expected her to run well but I was probably a bit surprised by the manner in which she won,” said Carston, who took over her training from Waikato trainer David Greene 12 months ago.
“She won a couple of trials early on as a three-year-old but she didn’t put it together at the races.
“The owners have been patient and we opted to put her out for a spell and she’s strengthened both mentally and physically. This preparation she’s been pretty strong.
“She will have a few quite days and we will look for a rating 65 race for her in three weeks’ time and then we will possibly turn her out after that.”
Bred by Jacqueline and Philip Rogers, Khorabella is by Darci Brahma out of the winning No Excuse Needed mare Belle Vida, this was her first win from eight races and she has also placed on two occasions for her owners the Rogers, Brian and Erica Rogers and J and M Gibb.