Viva La Jour ends drought

Viva La Jour (Mark Hills) returning to her best form at Tauranga yesterday.

Viva La Jour (Mark Hills) returning to her best form at Tauranga yesterday.

A forced change of plans brought an overdue win for the Cambridge mare Viva La Jour at Tauranga yesterday.

Trainers Robyn and Russell Rogers had planned to run the Bachelor Duke mare at Matamata last Saturday, but with that meeting cancelled a Tauranga outing became the next option and the result was a welcome sight for the Rogers.

Viva La Jour was given a nice run by Mark Hills when tracking the leader and ready to pounce early in the run home in the Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant 1600. Once into full flight she drew clear inside the final 150 metres to win by four lengths.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Robyn Rogers. “She has had a few little niggles and like everyone else at the moment we have been waiting for the tracks to turn. This is better than she’s been racing on in the last couple of starts.”

Rogers wasn’t surprised to see Viva La Jour win as she did.

“She takes a little bit of getting there,” said Rogers. “She’s really got to have a bit of room to wind up before she can sprint but once she winds up she can maintain that for a fair while.”

Co-bred by the Rogers from their one-race winner La Campanella, Viva La Jour has now won twice and been placed on five occasions from 14 starts.

She was placed in three of her first five starts before clearing maiden ranks over 1200 metres at Te Aroha in May last year, when also ridden by Hills.

“We always thought she had a fair bit of ability and in her first few runs she showed that then went off the boil a little bit,” said Rogers. “It’s nice to see her back.”

Viva La Jour was the second winner of the day for Hills, who was also aboard the Stephen Cole-trained Amachi when taking the second event, the Greers Gastro Bar 1600.

Khar Khorum (Danielle Johnson) getting the better of Gata (grey) at Tauranga yesterday.

Khar Khorum (Danielle Johnson) getting the better of Gata (grey) at Tauranga yesterday.

Cambridge was also in the winner’s circle after the first event, the Matamata Vets 3YO, when the Ralph Manning-trained Khar Khorum capped three placings with an impressive win.

Ridden by Danielle Johnson, the Choisir gelding settled midfield and unleashed a big finish once angled to the inside halfway down the home straight. He got home by a head from fresh-upper Gata, from the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable.

Gata started a raging hot favourite at $1.60 on the strength of three placings in his first four starts, particularly his nose second to subsequent Ryder Stakes winner and Wanganui Guineas runner-up Manhattan Street at Awapuni last July.