Innovation lives up to Cropp’s prediction

Cambridge apprentice Matthew Cropp was happier than even the winning jockey Jason Collett after Innovation won the Listed $50,000 Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic at Tauranga today.

Innovation is trained by Cropp’s employer, Ralph Manning, and broke through for her first stakes win when she charged down the extreme outside of the racetrack to win by a length from Rememba Howe.

Cropp had been riding Innovation in trackwork and after being aboard the Keeper filly in work this week he told Manning she would win, despite a jump in class.

“She worked so well I couldn’t see her beaten,” said Cropp, who was the first on hand to greet Innovation in the winner’s stall.

Manning was full of praise for Innovation, who made it four wins in succession and five victories from a total of 12 starts.

“She’s been up for a long time, but is as tough as old boots,” said Manning. “I was getting her ready for the Oaks and though she didn’t get there she’s still done well. It’s fantastic to win a Listed race with her. She deserves it.”

Innovation was bred by Dick Karreman and is raced by Karreman’s Oaks Stud, whose general manager, Rick Williams, was on hand for the stakes win.

“She’s got bad knees and that’s why we didn’t take her to the sales,” recalled Williams. “I’ve always had faith in her dam, Miss Grosvenor, and this filly has just kept improving.”

Innovation’s recent winning streak began over 1600 metres at Ellerslie on April 14, then continued over the same distance at Wanganui (May 10) and Ellerslie (June 2). In the first and third of those wins she was ridden by Jason Collett, who was instrumental in winning aboard her today.

Innovation settled at the rear and was a shade closer with 800 metres to run. Collett then angled her to the outside for a run, but coming into the home straight it looked to be a risky decision.

With all runners angling out, Innovation was squeezed for room on the outside and at one stage it looked like she would hit the outside running rail or run out of room to improve.

“I knew it was going to be tight and luckily there was just enough for her to get through,” said Collett. “She had her head on the side early in the straight and wasn’t able to stretch out properly until later when she got more racing room. When she did get room, she finished it off well.”

Manning is uncertain where to go next with Innovation, who holds a nomination for the Group Three Estaronline Winter Cup at Riccarton on August 4.