Brooks keeps punters happy

Apprehend (Opie Bosson) giving Mark Brooks the first of his two wins at Tauranga yesterday.

Apprehend (Opie Bosson) realising his potential when giving Mark Brooks the first of his two wins at Tauranga yesterday.

Cambridge trainer Mark Brooks was the punters pal at Tauranga yesterday.

Brooks saddled up two favourites, Apprehend and Duke Of Oz, and both were successful with Apprehend’s win coming in his first start for the stable.

Previously trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Apprehend had proved costly to punters in the past when looking likely to score but coming up short. In eight starts for the top trainers he had to settle for two seconds, two thirds and three fourths.

It was after his seventh at Matamata last October – the only time he failed to weigh-in – Apprehend’s original owners decided to call it a day with the son of Super Saver who was an NZ Derby nominee last year.

Apprehend was offered in an on-line auction and Brooks was the successful bidder, securing the gelding as a potential jumper.

“Murray and Andrew always liked the horse and they even said with a bit of time he might make it on the flat,” said Brooks.

“We ultimately bought him as a jumper because he’s got a good staying pedigree. We’ll see him over the Ellerslie hill at some stage in the future.”

For now, however, Apprehend looks set to deliver more on the flat and Brooks is pleased he decided to find out early.

“I was going to turn him out but he was going so well in the stable we thought we might give him a run and see where he is at,” said Brooks.

With Opie Bosson aboard, Apprehend was installed a $2.70 favourite for the Koning Webster Lawyers Tauranga 2100 and with side winkers on for the first time, replacing blinkers he previously wore, he gave his new syndicate of owners a quick return on their investment.

Bosson settled him third last and improved him widest across the top. With 200 metres to run he hit the front and went on to win by a length from Nombero.

“Once he got to the outside he kept improving,” said Bosson. “Halfway up the straight he had a gawk around but he won well in the end.”

Duke Of Oz (Sam Collett) scoring a comfortable win at Tauranga yesterday.

Duke Of Oz (Sam Collett) scoring a comfortable win at Tauranga yesterday.

The next mission for Apprehend is a $50,000 special conditions maiden 2100 metres on New Year’s Day at Ellerslie and that is also on the programme for Duke Of Oz. The event is confined to maidens on October 31.

Duke Of Oz quit maiden ranks over 1600 metres at Avondale on November 15 in his fourth start and he did it comfortably, scoring by two and a quarter lengths. He was even more impressive yesterday when stepping up to Rating 65 over the same trip.

Settled midfield by Sam Collett, he improved nearing the home turn and challenged halfway down the straight before drawing clear to score by four and a half lengths.

“He showed a good turn of foot once they straightened (for the run home),” said Brooks. ”He has always been pretty consistent. He normally runs the fastest last 600 in all his races so he tries hard and he’s got plenty of ticker.”

Duke Of Oz, a six-year-old son of Bachelor Duke, didn’t see a racetrack until trialling in August last year and he didn’t make his raceday debut until last April when finishing sixth over 1400 metres at Te Aroha. But he is making up for lost time.

“Actually he was an unbroken four-year-old just before we got him. He hadn’t done a lot,” said Brooks. “He’s showing plenty of promise.”