Curraghmore graduate Maasir posted a win at Taupo on Friday when resuming in the Pitch Sports Bar & Lucky Lizard (1300m).
Although settling last on a comfortable pace and still eight lengths astern at the 600m, Maasir took an inside passage and quickened too strongly for his opponents, with stablemate Aromatic finding plenty after racing outside the leader.
It was a cagey ride by talented hoop Ryan Elliot, seizing the initiative to save ground, and one that determined the outcome in the mind of Richards.
“He was given a lovely ride by Ryan, and really, the ride was the winning of the race,” Trainer Jamie Richards said.
“If he’d had to come around the field, I doubt he could have won, but he snuck up the inside and duly delivered. I was pretty happy with that.”
Last season, Maasir recorded consecutive victories to 2100m at Te Rapa, and appeared a likely contender for three-year-old classics before injury stymied his campaign.
“He’s come up well since the knee surgery in February, when he was working up as though he could have been a realistic chance in the Avondale Guineas (Gr. 2, 2100m) and he was one of the favourites for the New Zealand Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m),” Richards said.
“We gave him plenty of time and he’s come back in good shape. I’d been pleased with the way he’d trialled and it was a good fresh-up effort.”
Raced by the Te Akau Proisir Pride Racing Partnership, Maasir was bred by Gordon Cunningham and sold through Curraghmore's 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale draft. He was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $72,500 when he returned to the auction ring later that year at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale in the draft of Leanach Lodge. -NZ Racing Desk