Trojan Warrior shows true colours

Trojan Warrior (Brendan Hutton) charging past Sono Veloce to win the final event at Te Rapa last Saturday. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Trojan Warrior (Brendan Hutton) charging past Sono Veloce to win the final event at Te Rapa last Saturday. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).


Race fans who watched the final event on last Saturday’s 12-race card at Te Rapa witnessed the performance of the day from a horse with cups potential.

Trojan Warrior looked a forlorn hope to win the Super Easy @ Hallmark 1200 when among the tailenders early in the run home. Even with 200 metres he seemed to have no hope of paying a dividend.

But the Postponed three-year-old sprouted wings over the final stages to swamp Sono Veloce, whose supporters were heading off to collect their winnings with 50 metres to run. Such was Trojan Warrior’s finishing burst, he not only collared Sono Veloce but went on to win by a half-length.

Trojan Warrior is in his first campaign of racing and the win was his second from eight starts. His maiden victory came in his fourth start, over 1400 metres at Tauranga last December, and, though he picked up a second behind Always On My Mind two starts later at Te Rapa, he wasn’t at 100 per cent in his three starts between wins.

“We were scratching our heads over last few starts,” said trainer Anne Herbert. But then it was discovered Trojan Warrior was suffering from an entrapped epiglottis, but minor throat surgery remedied the problem.

“He had a couple of weeks on the walker so didn’t miss much work,” said Herbert. “When he had the problem he became a handful and stressed and sweating up at the races. This time he was back to normal and relaxed.”

Trojan Warrior’s biggest test of stamina has been over 1600 metres and that was two starts ago when he was still suffering from the wind affliction. But Herbert believes his future will be over more ground.

“He’s hugely talented,” she said. “He might be a Cups horse.”

Trojan Warrior, at odds of better than 16/1, was ridden by Matamata apprentice Brendan Hutton, who landed two wins on the day. He was also successful on an even bigger outsider Singapore Sling, who paid $73.90 when winning the Go Racing Syndications 1600 for Te Aroha owner-trainer Iain Marks.

Hutton and his girlfriend, Ulrika Holmquist, have formed a successful association with the Herbert stable and will be aboard Herbert’s three representatives at Matamata on Wednesday. Hutton will ride The Boxer in the AA Auto Service & Repair Matamata 1400, while Holmquist will ride stablemate Kiddo in the same race and also Ysabella Brave in the NZ Insurance Pearl Series 1400.

Kiddo has the best credentials of the Herbert runners in the fourth event, having charged home late for third behind Mareeba on debut at Tauranga a couple of weeks ago, while The Boxer is a first-starter who has been placed in two of his five trials, including a second at Waipa last month.

“That was a top run from Kiddo at Tauranga but he’s always slow away. He’ll stay,” said Herbert. “The Boxer still has a bit to learn but he’s shown promise.”

Ysabella Brave has won two of her nine starts and Holmquist has been in the saddle for both those wins on the Matamata track last winter. She resumed with a fourth to Suggestive Heights at Tauranga last month and Herbert is expecting her to add to her fine Matamata record on Wednesday.

“Her fresh-up run was very good,” said Herbert. “She drew well and couldn’t get out from the inside. It was better out wider on the track.”