Trainer Andrew Carston was breathing a sigh of relief following Taimate Diva’s win in the Celebrating Phar Lap Handicap at Timaru (2200m) on Friday.
The Taimate Equine Foundation Syndicate representative was late scratched from her last two starts having refused to load in the barriers.
“What a relief!” Carston said. “It’s been a frustrating month because she just decided she didn’t like the barrier out of nowhere, she’d never had any trouble before.
“She was late scratched at Oamaru and Riccarton on Saturday and we got her a barrier certificate on Tuesday morning and then she won today.
“She went around a bit earlier today and she went in first. I hope it wasn’t a fluke, but you wouldn’t know.”
Ridden by Kavish Chowdhoory, she got way from the outside barrier well before being caught four wide on the bend before pushing forward to sit outside the leader at the 1200m. She got cover from stablemate Bad Flamingo at the 1000m until 500m when she made her run kicking away from her rivals to win by three quarters of a length.
“She was first up over 2200m which is something I’ve never done before, so that shows that she does have above average ability,” Carston said.
“It makes up for her two late scratchings, but only just.”
Taimate Diva holds a nomination for the Gr.3 Martin Collins 160th New Zealand Cup (3200m) on November 18.
“She’s back on track, it was sort of the last throw of the dice today if she didn’t race today, I didn’t know what we were going to do but she’s back on the cup path at this stage. I’ll just see how she recovers from this run before we decide where she goes next, she had a pretty hard run today so it won’t be next week anyway.”
It was a successful outing for Carston who also had two placings with O’Jessica second in the Jon Snow & Echos of Heaven @ Clearview Park (1200m) and Libby second in the Young Bucks on Track (1600m).
“It’s good to have O’Jessica back in form,” he said. “She’ll win a race soon she’s just taken a bit to get fit this preparation.”
“Lippy only just got beaten and he’s been running consistently well.”