Lightly raced stayer Hushed indicated he was progressing nicely towards his main summer mission with a comfortable victory in the SVS Hamilton Cup (2000m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Hushed winning the Svs Hamilton Cup Picture:Trish Dunell
The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards trained gelding, who holds a nomination for the Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) next month, held out a late charge from favourite Von Tunzelman to earn his sixth career victory from just 15 starts.
The six-year-old opened his latest campaign with a win over 1400 metres at Stratford on New Year’s Eve with Richards a little worried about the gap between runs before Saturday’s contest.
I thought the last 100 metres might find him out today with a month between runs and up to 2000 metres,” he said.
“He handled it well and I’d say he’s got an exciting future in front of him.”
With the Gr. 2 Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup (2400m) likely to be the gelding’s next assignment, Richards and the Te Akau team had been keen for the gelding to show he would be comfortable at the higher level.
“I thought he stepped up and raced like a proper Cups horse today,” he noted.
“He showed good natural gate speed and took a sit when Opie (Bosson) asked him to.
“Now he has a couple of runs under his belt I don’t think it will be a problem to step up in distance. He’s a lovely big, scopey horse by Don Eduardo and I think he’s going to enjoy the mile and a half and even a bit further.”
There was some controversy to the final result when both Francis Drake and Arrow In The Sand were declared late scratchings in the event when an incident involving the pair as the barriers opened prevented them receiving a fair start.