Harlech finds winners’ enclosure after long absence

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  • May 06, 2024
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Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

4 May 2024

Fan favourite Harlech has finally found his way to the winners’ enclosure following more than three and a half years since his last victory, racing away for a satisfying win in the Avon City Ford Easter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton.

The seven-year-old son of Darci Brahma has been in many elite level battles over the years, with a number of placings in races such as the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) and most recently runner-up in the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m), since winning the Benalla Cup (1406m) back in October 2020.

Co-trainer Pam Gerard has never lost faith in her charge and echoed the sentiments of many after witnessing his return to winning form in spectacular fashion by running away from his rivals in the final stages.

“He deserves it as he was very unlucky last start when finishing second off a slow pace,” Gerard said.

“I thought we were a little bit stuck at the top of the straight today but once we got out, he showed the confidence he has gained since being down here.

“He had gone up a lot in weight and it is hard to carry that when you are at the end of a long prep.

“He looked sensational and to Sian and Hugh and all his other owners who have been so patient and trusted me to bring him down here, a big thank you.

“He is one of the favourites at home and we thought he was coming to the end of his career but a trip down here (from Matamata) and some sun on his back means there is no better place than the South Island.”

Allpress cut a satisfied figure after the victory and was keen to remind people that her mount was a class animal.

“When I got around to the start there were a couple of people there asking if he knew where the winning post was as he has that sort of stigma around him,” she said.

“He has been in every big race possible and run creditably so the potential has always been there.

“He just kept on giving and wanted to be there and he is very genuine.”

Raced by a large group including Dame Sian Elias and Hugh Fletcher, who Gerard had acknowledged in her post race comments, Harlech is out of the former top race mare Obsession who won the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and also finished third in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) during her career on the track.

He was purchased by co-trainer Mike Moroney’s brother Paul for $100,000 out of the Oaks Stud draft at Karaka in 2018 and has now won four races and secured more than $555,000 in prizemoney from his 39 career starts.


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