There was sense of déjà vu after the first race on Cup Day at Riccarton on Saturday.
Trainer Andrew Carston and jockey Samantha Wynne combined with the Go Racing owned Running Man to win the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Premiere (1400m), a feat achieved by the same combination and Severine in race one last year.
However connections and punters were a bit more surprised this time around, with Running Man winning at odds of 30-1.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” trainer Andrew Carston said.
“I thought he just went fair a couple of weeks ago so we decided to change up his routine and keep him fresh. Darci Brahma's seem to like running fresh.
“He didn’t even have a saddle on last week, he’s just been swimming.”
Running Man seemed to relished the change in routine as well as the step up to 1400m which was made on jockey Samantha Wynne’s suggestion.
“He actually bolted on me going down to the start so I knew he felt good,” Wynne said.
“He relaxed lovely early in the running and I think that was the key to him. We got a nice run into it behind Seriously and he went away with it nicely.
“The step up to 1400m helped him and he likes the big straight. With the way he won you’d think he’ll go a mile too.”
Running Man won by a length on the line over Atomic Kitten and fellow Carston runner Shock Prospect who was third.
Go Racing’s Racing Manager Matt Allnutt was on course to celebrate the win.
“That’s a fantastic way to start Cup Day,” he said.
“He just hadn’t had much luck in the last couple of starts so we told Sam to get him on the back of something, be patient, and present him for one run and she rode him perfectly.”
While surprised, Carston was thrilled to continue what is becoming a Cup Day tradition.
“We’ve had a winner on Cup Day for the past four years in a row, Severine last year, Miss Federer the year before and Hee’s Our Secret before that,” he said.
“It’s not a bad day to win a race, that’s for sure.”
To watch the full race replay, click here.
Photos: Riccarton Park Racecourse