Becoming a trainer was never in the plan for Kelly Van Dyk, but on Wednesday she found herself welcoming back her first winner at Te Rapa.
Van Dyk operates Prima Park, which has been primarily involved in agistment and sales preparation over the last 14 years. However, she has elected to diversify the business over the last couple of years, which led to taking out her trainer’s licence this season.
“The training wasn’t something I saw myself doing, but we have expanded our operation over the last year and we are doing a lot of pre-training and breaking in for some of the bigger stables,” she said.
“It fitted in to get my trainer’s licence and be able to trial some of our own horses and train one or two of our own, or for the odd client that wants to come onboard.
“It has been going well so far and I am enjoying it more than I thought I would.”
It is going so well that she recorded her first win from just four starts when Dreams Come True was victorious in the Race A Horse With Te Akau Mile (1600m) on Wednesday.
The three-year-old daughter of Staphanos was just having her second raceday appearance and Van Dyk was confident of a strong showing following her debut fourth placing at Te Aroha earlier this month.
“She is a very nice, progressive staying filly by Staphanos,” Van Dyk said. “Her first start over 1200m at Te Aroha the other day was very encouraging when storming home for fourth.
“Today we were pretty confident, although the barrier draw (13) wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t the plan to miss the kick like she did. She had to do all the donkey work and to get right back like that at Te Rapa is not ideal, but she showed her class when doing all the work in coming around them and to finish off really strongly.
“I think as she gets up over more ground it is going to be ideal for her.”
Van Dyk said jockey Kozzi Asano shared the same enthusiasm for the win.
“Kozzi was very complimentary of the filly and said once she gets up over 2000m she is going to be even better,” she said.
“He commented on how relaxed she was today. Even after missing the kick, she lobbed along and was nice and relaxed throughout the run. He was very happy.”
Van Dyk was pleased to get her first training win on the board, albeit in a caretaker trainer capacity, with usual trainer Reece Cole sidelined.
“She has been with Reece Cole in his stable. Full credit to him, he has done most of the work with her during this preparation,” Van Dyk said.
“Reece has been sidelined for the past month, so we have just had a few horses in training for him. She will go back to him eventually, but nonetheless it has been exciting to have her in our stable. We think she is pretty smart and one to look out for the future as we hand the reins back over to Reece.”
Cole inherited the filly from his mentor, the late Toby Autridge, and was trackside for the emotional win.
“The owner is Japanese and had been with Toby (Autridge) over the last 10-12 years,” Cole said. “He bought the mare (Avant) from Karaka and bred this horse.
“12 or 18 months ago I told him she looks like an Oaks filly. A lot of time has passed, and Toby passed away, and she has developed into such a big, raw filly.
“I always thought she had a lot of ability, but she is a lot better than even I thought.”