A trip north proved fruitful for Andrew Carston who took a team of three to Awapuni for Saturday's meeting.
Unfortunately Tough Time was scratched due to a stone bruise though in form mare Taimate Diva was too strong winning the Resonant Premier (2100m) and Jon Ol Rocco acquitted himself well to finish seventh in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m).
Taimate Diva was a last start winner over 2200m at Ashburton in March and backed that up with a similarly strong effort this time round.
With Jason Laking unavailable, the daughter of Telperion was partnered by Kate Hercock who bounced the four-year-old mare out of the gates and settled her in behind the pacemakers.
They bided their time and when the gap opened coming around the home turn the pair pushed through and raced away to win by 1.8L.
“It is always good when a plan pays off,” Carston said. “I’d hatched a plan when the handicapper only gave her four points for her win last start so she stayed in 65 grade.
“I was heading there with my three-year-old (Jon Ol Rocco) so I thought it was crazy not to have a crack at $50,000 and the owners were keen to have a look too.
“It was a great result and though it was disappointing that Jason couldn’t make it Kate did a standout job.
“She will have a few quiet days up north and then come home. We’ll probably find a race for her at the Riccarton Autumn carnival.”
Taimate Diva was bred by the Hickman family and races under their Taimate Equine Foundation Syndicate banner. She is the second foal out of six-time winning mare Mistaar.
“They’re a really good bunch of owners that are beef farmers with Taimate Angus,” Carston said. “They only have one broodmare and I happen to have all of them. Taimate Diva is the oldest and she seems a pretty handy mare.”
Carston was thrilled with Jon Ol Rocco’s effort in the Group Three 2000m contest, it was just his fourth career start having placed a week ago at Riccarton over a mile and winning his maiden at Riccarton a fortnight before.
“I though Jon Ol Rocco went super,” he said. “It was a big step up for him but he didn’t disgrace himself. I think he will be a really handy stayer.
“He’ll come home as well but we will see how he recovers before making a plan.”