Sangster sweeps to International succcess
Report: New Zealand, Saturday
Te Rapa: Darci Brahma International Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
TRAINER Trent Busuttin said he was always confident Victoria Derby winner Sangster (Opie Bosson) would be competitive in Group 1 company again after he easily won the International Stakes at Te Rapa.
Sangster won his first race since the 2011 Derby when he sprinted away in the straight to claim Saturday's 2000 metre, weight-for-age feature by 2¾ lengths from Dolmabache and Asavant.
Victoria Derby winners haven't always done much after claiming the Classic, but Busuttin says there are also many Derby winners and placegetters who haven't been harmed by the race.
"There was never anything wrong with him, but all you heard was about the VRC Derby. You see horses like Efficient, Octagonal, Tie The Knot, Diatribe, Lion Tamer. It produces Group 1 winners, but everybody just keeps knocking the race."
Busuttin said he was worried the track at Te Rapa was too strong but Sangster treated it like it was no issue, putting the race beyond doubt with 200 metres to run.
He now heads towards the Auckland Cup on March 6 and will race in the Avondale Cup on Sunday week as his last lead-up.
"This has been the only time he's been ready to go, primed to win," Busuttin said. "We were mindful of getting into the Auckland Cup with a winning weight and we've done that, but this time he was ready to go."
Te Rapa: Waikato Draught Sprint (Group 1) 7f, turf, 3yo+
Final Touch (John & Karen Parsons/Chris Johnson) stamped herself as a contender for New Zealand sprinter-miler of the year after winning her third Group 1 of the season.
The five-year-old mare sprinted past former Singapore champion Better Than Ever in the straight and then held off Xanadu and Zurella.
Final Touch may now take on Cox Plate winner Ocean Park and Veyron in the Group 1 Haunui Farm Classic in late February.