From Villain to hero
Hunter Villain (on rail) prevails in a close finish.
The Andrew Carston-trained Hunter Villain posted his first southern victory at Ashburton on Thursday.
Ridden by Jacob Lowry, Hunter Villain travelled midfield before moving back to the rail on the straight and running on to win the 1400m contest.
The six-year-old son of Darci Brahma got the nod in a blanket finish where he prevailed by a nose over Ataahua Dreamtime and Tradition.
“He is the first winner I have trained for Terry Lines,” Carston said. “So it was a good result though it has been a long time coming.
“He is a horse that has always shown he has a lot of ability but he is quite frustrating.”
Hunter Villain has now had five starts from Carston’s stable after Lines purchased the gelding off previous trainers Shaun and Emma Clotworthy.
Carston said Hunter Villain can be an enigma to train, showing plenty in trackwork but not always delivering on raceday.
“His first run for me when he ran second at Ashburton was really good,” Carston said. “I thought he might then go close to winning one at Cup Week but the next two were average.
“We dropped him back in distance and he seems to like the 1400m at Ashburton.
“He works really good at home but doesn’t always do it on raceday so he can be a bit frustrating but he seems to have clicked on again and it was a nice enough win.”
Hunter Villain will now head to Kurow on December 30 before targeting the West Coast.
“Terry sponsors a lot on the West Coast so it will be good to get the horse over there for a couple of races,” Carston said.
Meanwhile Carston is readying his team for the Boxing Day meeting at Wingatui. The stable will make the five-hour journey on Christmas Day with a string of seven or eight runners.
“It is good stake money and I think we will have a few chances like Severine, Hee’s Our Secret and Aristotle all lining up,” Carston said. “It is quite a nice team and when they are running in form I like to give the owners the chance to run for good money."