Curraghmore graduate Weaponry (Declaration of War) made up for some bad luck at his last start when he stormed to victory in Saturday’s Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas (1600m) at Invercargill.
The Jamie Richards-trained gelding, who was purchased by David Ellis for $140,000 out of Curraghmore's 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock draft, had looked unlucky not to finish closer than fourth in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m) when failing to find racing room at a vital stage that day.
This time rider Dylan Turner took luck out of the equation when he bounced the Declaration Of War gelding out nicely from an outside barrier to sit just behind the speed before issuing his challenge on the point of the turn.
Weaponry and Upscale dashed to the front early in the run home before Dylan asked Weaponry for a final effort as he scooted clear to win handsomely from Upscale with race-favourite Air Max back in third.
Richards was delighted with the victory as Turner had followed his pre-race instructions to the letter.
“He (Weaponry) hasn’t really had the run of the green in his last couple of runs,” he said.
“He got caught behind horses at Gore two starts ago and then again at Wingatui last time.
“I spoke to Dylan before the race and basically told him not to be unlucky this time.
“He bounced out of the gate nicely and then when the pressure went on, he got him into the clear and in a spot where he could dictate from, so it was a very good ride.”
Richards was undecided about future plans for Weaponry but believed he would be an even better type with some age on his side.
“There’s not a lot left for him down south so he will probably come home now for a spell,” he said.
“I think he has potential, but he will definitely be a better horse as a four-year-old.
“He can have a break now which will only be of benefit to him then we can decide where we go with him next.”
Richards was also delighted with the performance of Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) contender In A Twinkling after he finished second in Saturday’s Gr.2 Schweppes Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie.
“In A Twinkling went huge, it was a massive run,” he said.
“He had to do plenty of work in the run and really fought strongly in the straight, so it was a gutsy effort.
In A Twinkling was selected by Ellis from the same draft as Weaponry and was secured by the Te Akau Racing principal for $250,000.
“As long as he pulls up well, he will go to the Derby next,” Richards said. – NZ Racing Desk