Happy Harvey after White Shield wins

White Shield (Mark Du Plessis) revelling in his work as he strides to the winning post a decisive debut winner at Rotorua yesterday.

Australian entrepreneur Gerry Harvey had plenty to smile about after White Shield registered a debut win at Rotorua yesterday.

White Shield was bred by Harvey and races under his NZ Thoroughbred Holdings Ltd banner and even more pleasing for the head of Magic Millions is the fact he is a son of Reliable Man, the successful young sire who stands at Harvey’s Westbury Stud at Karaka.

And there was a bit more to celebrate at Westbury Stud as two races earlier, Mr Trump, another son of Reliable Man, was also successful.

White Shield, a three-year-old from the Royal Academy mare Princess Zanzibar, had benefited from each of his three trials. He was third in his first trial at Te Awamutu last October, second at Cambridge a few weeks later then after a break he resumed with a trials win at Cambridge last month.

“He trialled well,” said Noel Waddell, stable representative for trainer Shaune Ritchie, in a pre-race interview. “He’s a bit immature mentally but the trip away today seems to have settled him down a bit. If he cops the track he should be thereabouts.”

Whether he liked the track or not, White Shield was too good for his opposition in the Holiday Inn Chapmans Restaurant 1230 in the hands of Mark Du Plessis.

He bounced out well, tracked the leader early then settled third or fourth on the inner and was travelling like a winner at the 800 metres.

Du Plessis then moved him up to challenge on straightening for the run home and he finished solidly to win comfortably by a length and a quarter from the Stephen Marsh-trained Darci Palmer.

“He could have a bit of a future,” said Waddell’s comment after the race and that’s hard to dispute. In fact, White Shield looks set to take the next step or two and could develop into a handy performer for Harvey and Ritchie.