Yamuna on the winning path

Yamuna (Shaun McKay) unwinding strongly to notch her first win at Tauranga last Friday. She looks set to make her mark over more ground.

Chris Wood put a couple of new stable clients in a celebratory mood when producing Yamuna to clear maiden ranks at Tauranga last Friday.

Yamuna, a four-year-old daughter of Iffraaj, had promised a win with her first five starts resulting in two seconds, two thirds and a fourth and she duly delivered with a convincing win in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1400m.

Yamuna is owned by an Auckland couple, Rean (Ray) and Ann Cattle, and races under their Anray Holdings Ltd banner.

“It’s great to get a winner for them,” Wood said. “They’re new clients of mine so it’s exciting.”

The couple bought Yamuna from the 2016 Select Yearling Sale at Karaka for $27,500 and the win will help boost interest in her half-brother by Proisir who is being offered in the Haunui Farm draft in Book 2 at the upcoming National Yearling Sales at Karaka on January 31.

Yamuna’s dam, Yamanna (by Yamanin Vital), was a capable stayer who won three races from 2100 to 2400m and is a sister to the stakeswinners Requisite (Gr.3 MRC Eclipse Stakes) and Rosa Marada (Listed Belle of the Turf Stakes at Gosford).

Yamuna was runner-up on debut at Matamata last May and two starts later she finished third at Te Teko behind Sweet Nineteen and Codecracker, form that has stacked up well.

Sweet Nineteen won again at Ellerslie last Thursday and Codecracker scored at Matamata last July and has been four times placed since that success.

However, an even better form recommendation for Yamuna came at Te Rapa late last month when she looked to lose all chance with a very slow getaway and somehow managed to charge home for second over 1400m.

Making that effort even more notable was the fact the winner was the exciting Queen Of Diamonds, who went on to win the Gr.3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1550m) at Awapuni last Saturday.

Despite that huge performance at Te Rapa, Yamuna was overshadowed in the betting in her Tauranga outing and started third favourite behind Massachusetts (fourth) and Salt Bay (seventh).

Shaun McKay was again in the saddle and he made sure Yamuna jumped out well before letting her settle.

She drifted to midfield on the inner and was fourth-last at the 800m then held up a shade across the top before being angled out on the turn.

With 150m she still had four runners in front of her, but then she slipped into overdrive, flashing down the outside to win easily in the end by two lengths from the Stephen Marsh-trained Snitz Of Time.

“She’s not a big robust horse and she needs to find her feet,” Wood said. “Halfway up the straight I didn’t think she’d get there.”

McKay has been aboard Yamuna in each of her three runs this campaign, the first resulting in a third at Tauranga last month.

“She’s been really unlucky in her last two starts and once into the clear she really run home well,” McKay said.

“Once she gets to a mile she’ll win a few more. She’s going to be a pretty good horse.”

Yamuna’s next mission will be a $50,000 special conditions 1400m at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.