A decent break over the summer looks to have paid dividends for Saturday's impressive Tauranga winner, Wooden Edge.
The lightly raced five-year-old looked like he would rattle through the grades when he produced three straight wins to launch his career last winter. He followed that with some muddling performances in the spring that saw trainer Chris Wood turn him out for a lengthy spell following a disappointing effort at Hawkes Bay on Livamol Classic day in October.
Wood admitted he wasn't sure at the time why the gelding suddenly lost form although an answer to the puzzle presented itself within a few days of being placed on the easy list.
"We sent him out to part-owner Gary Edge's place and about a week after he got there Gary gave me a call with some news," recalled Wood.
"He told me the horse was lame so we got the vet in and he found a very deep seated stone bruise.
"Nothing had shown up at the stable as he was as sound as a bell but it could have been niggling him during those last few runs. Once he had it treated he was as good as gold and thrived during the break he had."
Wood was confident of a good performance when his charge resumed on the weekend and got just that as Wooden Edge bolted away from his rivals in the run home under the urgings of apprentice Hairi Marzuki.
"His work had been good and with the track pretty wet I thought he would go well," he said.
"When the fields came out I was umming and aahing about a rider as it looked like all of his main rivals were going for an apprentice claim.
"Hairi hasn't ever ridden for me before, not even in trackwork, but he sent me a text so I decided to have a look at him. Tim Vince told me he thought the boy could ride so I booked him and he ended up doing a great job."
Meanwhile Wood is hoping a visit from a chiropractor will work some magic for his other stable star, Pacorus, who was slightly disappointing when finishing fourth in Saturday's Hawke's Bay Gold Cup.
"There is something just not quite right with him," admitted Wood.
"He went okay but certainly not as well as he can. He is eating fine and looks tip-top but he isn't finishing his races off like we would want.
"I've got my chiropractor coming over from Melbourne so I'm hoping he might find something with him. I think he also needs the tracks a little bit wetter than he is currently getting so that could well have been another factor on Saturday."