Instant success for new combination

Van Irving (Danielle Johnson) causing a pleasant surprise for the new trainer-owner partnership when winning at Rotorua today.

A new partnership made the perfect start at Rotorua today.

The early celebration was prompted by Van Irving’s debut victory in the hands of Danielle Johnson in the Motion Entertainment 2YO (1230m).

“It was great to see the China Horse Club’s colours winning. This is the first horse I’ve had for them,” said Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh.

Van Irving’s success exceeded expectations and came off the back of a trial placing on her home track last month.

“She had trialled well and as long as she was hitting the line for third or fourth today I would have been happy,” said Marsh. “She’ll be a lot better over more ground, 1400 or 1600 metres.”

Van Irving dropped back to midfield from a wide gate and produced a strong closing 150 metres to score from the pacemaker Willpower, who boxed on gamely for second ahead of Capellan.

“Danielle got her into a good spot from the start and she finished off really well,” said Marsh.

A daughter of Rip Van Winkle, Van Irving is from the unraced Pins mare Dulcine’e with the three-time Group One winner Lucia Valentina the headline act in the pedigree.

She was bought out of Blandford Lodge’s 2017 Select Sale draft to Karaka for $50,000.

– NZ Racing Desk.