Smiles galore after Little Alfie Brown upset

A couple of locals, owner-trainer Peter Blick and jockey Rogan Norvall, were still smiling this morning after combining for an upset win with Little Alfie Brown at Awapuni last Saturday.

Little Alfie Brown rocked punters when taking the Listed $50,000 Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at odds of better than 50/1. It was Blick’s first stakes win as a trainer and for Norvall, it was his first win for the season.

“My cat was coping a bit of a hiding after each racemeeting,” quipped Norvall in regard to his overdue win. “It was great to get the win and Blicky was still walking on air this morning. It’s great for him.”

Norvall missed six weeks of the season through being in Sydney with Veyron and has been battling to get going again on the local scene, but hopes Little Alfie Brown’s win boosts his prospects of getting more rides.

“I needed that,” said Norvall. “I knew he was well but it was a big surprise on top of the ground.

“He had been working brilliantly and had really improved since the Rotorua race and when rain was forecast I thought he would be a chance. But then when the rain didn’t come I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

Cambridge was expecting a win in the Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup with Guns At Five, who had won at Rotorua last start in the same race in which Little Alfie Brown finished on for sixth. And he did produce a good dress rehearsal for the New Zealand Cup when finishing strongly, but he was unable to reel in Little Alfie Brown and had to be content with second.

Norvall admits to being a bit worried in the early stages of last Saturday’s race.

“We wanted to ride him a bit handier, but I got squeezed at the start and ended up being back a bit further than we wanted,” said Norvall. “Then we got flushed wide on the first turn.

“But he was travelling well down the back and he was able to roll forward without using much petrol. He did surprise me with the turn of foot he showed when I went for him. He put two to two and a half lengths on them so quickly.”

Little Alfie Brown has now won eight races for Blick and the successful rider on three of those occasions has been Norvall. The pair combined to win the $25,000 Freight Lines Te Awamutu Cup last July.