A rails hugging ride from Masa Tanaka paved the way for a popular victory at Trentham on Saturday when the Awapuni trained Shadows Cast prevailed over 1400 metres in the second race on the day.
Strongly fancied by punters off the back of a winning trial performance at Foxton four days earlier the Per Incanto four-year-old didn't disappoint as he dived through a gap on the rails and dashed clear early in the home straight.
Hotly pursued by Matamata visitor Royal Success and fellow Awapuni galloper Beefeater, Shadows Cast showed plenty of grit in the final stages to cling to the victory for trainer Mark Oulaghan and his owner, local Wellington racing identity Ron Cunningham.
"He's been a bit up and down in this prep but he has had one or two foot issues," reported Oulaghan when questioned afterwards.
"Hopefully we are on top of that now as he really put it together today. Masa rode him beautifully and gave him the run of the race."
Tanaka was full of praise for the gelding who showed immense promise early in his career when running second in the Gr. 3 Wellington Stakes as a three-year-old.
"He was travelling really well the whole way," he said.
"Once we saw daylight he sprinted really well. He came to the end of it in the last 50 metres but it was a good win."
The win was Shadows Cast's fifth victory of a 17 race career to date and took his earnings over the $80,000 mark.