Apellido wins but watch for runner-up

Apellido (Jonathan Riddell) holding out stablemate Spring Delight (outside) in a close finish at Ellerslie on Sunday.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman picked up a quinella at Ellerslie on Sunday and the senior training partner handed out a valuable tip for punters.

The Cambridge duo produced Apellido to win the Mag N Turbo Catch Me If You Can Soul Man 1600 from stablemate Spring Delight and, though pleased with the win, Baker was quickly pointing toward the runner-up as a next-up winner.

“The filly hit the front a long way out. I thought it was a top run,” he said.

“She did everything wrong in her first start. She’s got ability and should improve a lot.”

Spring Delight, co-bred and part-owned by Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan, was seventh on debut at Te Rapa last month when having to be steadied on occasions and in Saturday’s race she settled fourth and went through to lead at the 300m then was headed by Apellido and fought back bravely to go under by a mere head.

The daughter of Tavistock holds nominations for two Gr.1 Trentham events, the Levin Classic (1600m) on January 12 and the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on March 16.

She is a daughter of the Zabeel mare Ana Zeel, a three-race winner who developed into a handy stayer with her efforts including a second in the 1999 Gr.2 Queen Elizabeth Handicap (2400m) at Ellerslie.

Apellido also showed a touch of stamina with his winning performance over 1600m, aided by a top ride from Jonathan Riddell.

From a wide draw, Riddell elected to take hold of Apellido in the early stages, easing him back and across to the rail to be last on settling.

After being in the last couple, he improved Apellido a shade at the 650m then got to work on the son of Sepoy who appeared to be flat heading to the home turn.

He then wisely stuck to the inside rail to make his bid and Apellido responded well to finish strongly and set to in a battle with his stablemate, but he didn’t help himself through lugging out inside the final 50m.

Apellido is raced by his breeders, Marc and Sara Devcich (of Henley Park), and was having just his second start.

He had finished fourth in the first of his two trials then raced greenly when seventh on debut over 1400m at Te Rapa last month.

Blinkers were added for the first time on Sunday and the desire result was achieved with the promise of more success with experience.