A “Date” at Trentham

WS enjoyed a perfect lead in to sales week at Karaka when the Chittick-owned and bred filly Dating posted a slashing victory in the Gr 3 Desert Gold Stakes on the champagne turf at Trentham. The Matamata farm later had further cause for celebration when stud graduate Justanexcuse landed the prestigious Douro Cup.

By champion sire O’Reilly, Dating was given a dream ride by James McDonald and she responded in the positive with a stunning turn of foot in the straight to win with plenty in hand. “This is a very good filly and she’s improved out of sight after the spell,” he said. “It was a super effort and when she gets to 2000 metres she’ll be right at her prime.”

Trainers Debbie and Graeme Rogerson can be justifiably proud of their efforts with Dating as she was sent into the Trentham feature unraced since the New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November. “She’s done a really great job after we gave her a couple of weeks off after Christchurch to freshen her up,” Debbie said. “She had no luck down there either.”

Dating, who had won a trial Paeroa earlier this month, is now likely to head to Te Rapa for the Sir Tristram Classic. “We’ll have a chat to Waikato Stud but that looks a nice race for her.” The three-year-old, who has won four of her nine starts, is out of the Sound Reason mare Mandate.

The WS-bred and sold Justanexcuse was aided by the patience of jockey Jonathan Riddell to post his first victory at a metric mile in the Douro Cup. “I don’t think he totally gets the mile but it was a fantastic ride by Jonathan,” Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta said. “He got the horse to relax beautifully and he’s had three rides on him now for three wins.”

Purchased for $105,000 by agent Paul Beamish from WS’s 2008 Premier Sale draft, Justanexcuse is out of the Val Dansant mare Aggressive. He is half-brother to Listed Feilding Gold Cup winner On Call from the family of stakes winners Gentle Call (Gr 3 Lowland Stakes) and Call Spades and Tough Call (both Listed Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes winners).

Justanexcuse had also won two starts back and was then beaten through no fault of his own on his home track. “He was extremely unlucky at Awapuni where no gaps opened up for him,” Latta said.

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