Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston had mixed emotions after bringing up a winning double at Ashburton on Wednesday.
Pegau races home to win at Ashburton
Carston said it was difficult day for the stable, with the meeting marking the one-year anniversary of the passing of stable apprentice Megan Taylor following a fall in 2022.
“It was a tough day for everyone,” he said. “There was a memorial plaque unveiled for Megan which I thought was special.”
On the racing front, five-year-old mare Pegau got proceedings underway in the first on the card. The daughter of Tivaci jumped smartly and raced up on the pace for jockey Kozzi Asano.
Sitting just outside the leader Atlantic City, Pegau put down the accelerator on entering the straight and raced away to win by three lengths.
Carston was expecting a strong run after the mare finished a creditable fifth at Cromwell earlier this month.
“Pegau has only been with me one start,” he said. “She ran well that day so I was confident she would put in a good effort at Ashburton.
“Lisa Latta’s owners leased her to me and she is a nice one to have in the stable. She’ll have another run over the Christmas/New Year period but I’m not quite sure where yet.”
The next to salute was Blink of an Eye, though Carston said the win did come as a surprise as her previous form had been on the synthetic track.
The three-year-old filly was also partnered by Asano and showed early speed after jumping from the gates and settling up with the front runners. Asano opted to go wide on entering the straight and Blink of an Eye delivered a determined effort to get up and win by a head in the 1200m contest.
“Blink of an Eye’s win was a bit unexpected,” Carston said. “She had form on the Poly and I had given her a bit of a spell to freshen her up after her last start and she has come back a lot stronger.
“The Taimate boys brought her at the yearling sales and I went in half with them. She could be a really nice three-year-old filly and I’ll see how she comes through this and decide what path to take with her.
“Kozzi had another good day and rode really well.”
Like Pegau, Blink of an Eye was bred by Inglewood Stud. She was purchased by the Taimate Equine Syndicate for $8,000 at the 2022 National Yearling Sale from Inglewood Stud’s Book 2 draft.
Carston was pleased with how his other runners went and was looking forward to racing over the next few weeks.
“The team went well across the board,” he said. “We could be in for a reasonably good Christmas and New Year if I place the horses right.”