A horse with a reserve of only $10,000 online landed one of New Zealand’s biggest summer staying prizes with an outstanding performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Group Three SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m).
Retained by his co-breeders Bill and Suzi Pomare in partnership with Peter Ludgate, Ocean Billy (NZ) (Ocean Park) is now the winner six of his 18 starts and $146,675 in stakes.
He soared to stardom at on Saturday with a supreme staying performance at Te Rapa. After settling in the back half of the field, 18-year-old jockey Callum Jones pushed the button in the back straight and Ocean Billy surged forward. He hit the front with more than 1000 metres still to run.
Ocean Billy never looked back from there, pinning his ears back and running his rivals ragged. He kicked hard in the straight and maintained his advantage all the way to the finish line, winning by half a length.
“I had a feeling that the further this horse went, the better he would be,” Pomare said.
“I felt this was something he was capable of. He knocked a fetlock joint before the Counties Cup (Group Three, 2100m), and in the last three weeks he has had issues with mud rash, so we’ve been working overtime to get him here.
“I know how good he is, although it’s hard telling people, but today he showed them all.
“I’m rapt for my old partner Peter Ludgate in Rotorua, and I hope his heart handles all this. And my wife Suzi will be over the moon.”
It was the first black-type win for Jones, who is still in the first year of his riding career.
“This probably won’t sink in for a while,” he said. “He’s an extremely tough horse. Although it wasn’t the way I’d wanted the race to pan out, it worked.
“I’m really happy and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m just stoked.” – NZ Racing News