IN Racing
Eliud shines in class rise at Wanganui
“He’s always shown good ability at home, he was a bit disappointing in his first couple of starts but he’s come back this prep really well."
Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | June 02, 2024
Eliud continues on his winning way with a comfortable victory at Wanganui on Saturday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Progressive three-year-old Eliud took a rise in class with ease at Wanganui on Saturday when racing away with the Property Brokers 3YO 1600.

The Almanzor gelding has been held in high regard by Cambridge trainer Tony Pike for some time, and he delivered on that promise at his fourth start at Taranaki in May with a comprehensive maiden success.

Pike set a stronger task for Eliud in the open three-year-old contest on Wanganui’s feature day, where he sat a $2.20 favourite in a competitive field that included Bozo, who finished fourth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at $5.20, and Listed winner Loch Katrine ($5.40).

In the hands of Michael McNab, Eliud jumped positively from gate four and assumed the role as a rolling pacemaker heading along the back straight, staying well away from the fence.

His main rivals in Bozo and Loch Katrine remained within chasing distance of the favourite turning for home and the former looked like she may be looming up to Eliud, but once McNab pushed the button at the 200 metres, he stormed clear to win by an extending 3 ½ length margin.

McNab shared Pike’s opinion of the gelding in his early preparations, and was thrilled to see that on display despite the Heavy 10 track conditions.

“He’s always shown good ability at home, he was a bit disappointing in his first couple of starts but he’s come back this prep really well,” McNab said.

“I cantered a long way down the back in my prelim to have a good look at it, and where I was is the best spot.

“My main aim was just to keep him comfortable and not break stride or dip in the ground. That was the key for him and he picked up really well so it was good.”

With all still to play for in the final two months of the New Zealand Jockey’s Premiership, McNab tightened the gap on Warren Kennedy with winning trebles at both the Cambridge and Riccarton Synthetic meetings bringing his tally to 114, two shy of Kennedy.

Eliud is out of a lightly-tried Rip Van Winkle mare in Pendleton, who among her four career victories in just nine starts picked up the Listed Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m).

He was offered by breeder Kevin Hickman’s Valachi Downs at the 2022 Karaka Yearling Sales and was purchased for $320,000 by Waikato Bloodstock, with $35,380 returned on that investment in five starts.