The Cossack reigns supreme at Te Rapa

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  • June 20, 2023
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The powerful combination of trainers Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal and rider Aaron Kuru swept all before them at Te Rapa on Saturday as they took out the two premier jumping events with The Cossack and Nedwin.

The Cossack, who has turned his hand to the bigger steeplechase fences this season after carrying all before him in the hurdling caper, started a $1.20 favourite in the Signature Homes Waikato Steeplechase (3900m) and never gave his myriad of supporters a moment of concern.

Kuru had an armchair ride as he kept The Cossack handy to the pace before idling to the front with 600m to run.

Kept up to the mark The Cossack simply cruised to the line to win untouched by eight lengths from stablemate and last year’s winner Argyll, with Des De Jeu fighting on well for third.

Nelson was delighted with the final result as his champ never looked like getting out of second gear throughout.

That was great and he is very very good,” Nelson said.

“We weren’t too sure how they were going to run the race, whether they would go hard or just switch the speed on and off, but in the end it probably wouldn’t have mattered to him.

“Aaron was thrilled with his run and just confirmed to me how good he thinks the horse is.

“We never make plans on raceday so I can’t really say what we do next with him, but I guess we will be guided a little by the weight increases he cops as it won’t take long to get to the top of the handicaps with him.”

Nelson part-owns the son of Mastercraftsman, along with Peter and Doug Grieve and John Frizzell, with their star having now won sixteen of his 52 starts, with 12 of those over fences and more than $515,000 in prize money.

Although they provided the quinella with Argyll, Nelson and McDougal were denied the opportunity to provide the first three home with topweight No Tip late scratched due to the unavailability of a suitable jockey when rider Dean Parker was injured in a fall in the previous event.

Earlier in the day outstanding hurdler Nedwin displayed all of his remarkable qualities when he lumped 70kgs to victory in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m) at Te Rapa.

The eight-year-old took the jumping scene by storm last year with four wins from six starts including the Wellington Hurdle (3400m).

Unbeaten in two starts on the flat to open this campaign, the son of Niagara stripped a fit horse for Saturday’s feature with Kuru producing a patient effort to get him home..

Allowed to settle well back off a hot speed set up by English Gambler and Tweedledee, Kuru brought his mount into contention on the point of the home turn as he began to chase down rank outsider Odysseus ($51), who had found the lead at that stage.

The pair staged a titanic battle over the final 400m with Nedwin gaining the upper hand to run out the winner by half a length with Abu Dhabi plugging on well for third.

“He has never been ridden back like that, so I was in two minds as to how he was actually travelling most of the way,” Nelson said.

“He showed his class in the finish and Aaron did say that while he was a fair way off them early on, he had plenty of horse under him and when asked for the effort he found nicely.

“He is also at the top of the weights now so we will have to look at how we place him for the rest of the winter.”

Nedwin took his career record to ten wins from 28 starts and over $224,000 in prizemoney.

Kuru, who made the trip over from his Australian base, was well rewarded as he won all four jumping races on the card, with victories on the Mark Walker-trained The Mighty Spar and Bill Thurlow-trained Whiskey Tango added to his two feature race wins.

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