Masterhorseman franks good form

Masterhorseman (Danielle Johnson) was the punters' pal at Ruakaka yesterday.

Masterhorseman (Danielle Johnson) was the punters’ pal at Ruakaka yesterday.

Masterhorseman lived up to the expectations of form students at Ruakaka yesterday, but there might not be many more New Zealand opportunities for the talented Cambridge galloper.

The four-year-old son of Mastercraftsman broke through for his first win in the Fell Engineering 1200, much to the delight of punters who backed him into $2 favouritism on the strength of good trials form and a debut third in a strong form race.

“I don’t know how many more (starts) he’ll have in New Zealand, maybe one or two,” said trainer Alex Oliveira. “He’s owned in Hong Kong and will end up there.”

Oliveira gave Masterhorseman his first trial at Te Teko last October and the result was a second to Hiflyer, who has gone on to record a win and three seconds in as many starts. He then ran second in his next trial, at Te Aroha later that same month, and the third placegetter that day was Scarlet’s Secret, who has trained on to be a winner and four times placed.

Masterhorseman was given a decent spell and didn’t reappear until last June when winning at the Avondale trials then made his raceday debut last month on the same track when a close third behind Highlad and Kamikaze Rebel over 1200 metres. And it’s that Avondale result which saw punters climb aboard him big time yesterday.

Highlad went on to win the Listed H.S. Dyke Wanganui Guineas in his next start and will continue his bid for a crack at the Gr. 1 Victoria Derby when tackling the Listed A$120,000 UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Sunday.

Kamikaze Flyer has trained on from that Avondale second to be placed in his other two starts, the most recent being a third behind the exciting Francaletta at Hastings earlier this month.

Beauty’s Rose finished fifth in that Avondale event, four and a half lengths behind Masterhorseman, and has since won twice, the latest win being at New Plymouth last weekend.

Boosting Masterhorseman’s form even more is the Listed Ryder Stakes winner Manhattan Street, who suffered his first defeat from four starts when beaten by Highlad in the Wanganui Guineas and will make his Australian debut tomorrow night in the Gr.2 A$200,000 Bill Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Oliveira has purposely bided his time with Masterhorseman since his debut.

“It’s taken a little while waiting for a track that is suitable,” he said. “It’s five weeks since he raced and she (rider Danielle Johnson) did a good job. He’ll definitely need more ground.”

Masterhorseman disputed the early pace then trailed third until Johnson improved him approaching the home turn, after which he soon challenged for the lead. Though Masters Choice fought back strongly on the inner, he was too strong, scoring by three-quarters of a length.

“I didn’t want to lead today and they slackened up the pace going into the first corner but he ended up coming back to me when they put a bit more pace back into the race,” said Johnson.

“I didn’t want to go for him too early at the top of the straight just because he’s a big baby and was gawking a bit, but when he heard the competition he dug deep.

“He gives me the feeling he’s going to go through the grades.”