Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston was surprised to see Aunt Cindy in winning form at Gore on Saturday, however omen punters may not have been following the shock resignation announcement of Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, often nicknamed Aunty Cindy, on Thursday.
“It was a bit of a surprise to be fair,” he said. “I thought it might have been a bit wet for her, but she was really good and it was a good ride from Sanu (Toolooa) so I’m really happy.”
Aunt Cindy and Sang Toolooa following Saturday's win
Jumping from barrier six the pair got to the front and led throughout the 1200m event fighting off a late challenge from Midnight Jane to win by three-quarters of a length on the line.
Toolooa, who has been apprenticed to Carston since his original bosses Kevin and Pam Hughes retired in September 2021, rode two winners on the day, the other onboard Sympathique for Leonard Stewart.
“Sanu comes out of his apprenticeship next week, he’s a very hard worker and a good kid so it was great for him to end his apprenticeship with a couple of winners.
The Ocean Park mare is raced by Carston, however she arrived to him with the name Aunt Cindy, having originally been trained by her co-breeder Stephen McKee and later Sophia Orting.
“Stephen has sent me a few horses over the years and I usually syndicate them but she came with terrible form and that name and I didn’t think she’d be easy to syndicate so I decided to race her myself and she’s won two races now,” he said.