Rios off the mark

Former top-class performer Rios has opened his stallion account with the aptly-named Happy Place. The lightly-tried three-year-old was successful at New Plymouth this afternoon to post an overdue win for Matamata trainer and part-owner Danica Guy.

The gelding suffered an interrupted run when beaten on debut and then finished a sound second on his home track last month. In one subsequent appearance, he clipped heels and nearly fell when looking for clear room at Te Rapa.

Happy Place is from a small first crop of the WS-based Rios, a regally-bred son of Hussonet who won six races, including the Gr 2 Wellington Guineas and was placed in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas. He is out of the former NZ Broodmare of the Year Gussy Godiva and is a half-brother to the Gr 1 Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor. It is a family that also includes Black Mamba, a Kiwi-bred Group One winner in the United States.

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