Ayrton (NZ) All Class in Comeback Win

19 April 2022

Aryton (NZ) scored a brilliant win in the A$200,000 Group Three Neds Victoria Handicap (1400m). Photo: NZTM.

Gifted Karaka graduate Ayrton (NZ) (Iffraaj) made a brilliant return to racing in Saturday’s A$200,000 Group Three Neds Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield, and now the Queensland Winter Carnival awaits. 

Offered at Karaka 2019, Ayrton has now had eight starts for six wins, two placings and A$536,650 in stakes.

The Victoria Handicap was the first start in seven months for the exciting four-year-old, whose spring campaign was derailed by a spider bite. But if that stint on the sidelines had made anyone forget what Ayrton was capable of, Saturday’s comeback performance quickly set the record straight.

Ridden by Jamie Kah, Ayrton sat just behind the speed before angling off the heels of Streets Of Avalon (Magnus) at the home turn. He changed gears and lengthened stride brilliantly down the straight, soon casting that rival aside and stretching out to score by a length and a quarter.

“I was mindful that he was probably coming into it a bit underdone, but he was the class horse in the race,” Kah said.

“I wasn't going to do anything silly on him like push forward or try and get out and get going early. I wanted to wait and give him the cosiest run I could, and everything turned out perfectly for him.

"But he still had to do it, and he really accelerated. He's come back probably better than he was last time I rode him.

“He’s just improved each time I’ve ridden him. When I first rode him at Bendigo, he felt like a nice horse, but he didn’t give me any exciting feel. But today is probably the best he’s felt.

“He hasn't just run along in front and kicked away – he's had to stop and go again. If they can keep him ticking along in his races, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be really competitive."

Co-trainer Mick Price paid tribute to his partner Shona Drechsler, along with the team at the South East Vet Clinic, for Ayrton’s outstanding recovery.

“He was at South East Vet Clinic,” said Price, who trains in partnership with Michael Kent Jnr. “When they go there, sometimes it is a one-way ticket, sometimes not, but it’s always intensive treatment.

“Big bill, intensive treatment, great vets out there. And then we nursed him on the farm at home, Shona and I. She’s done a great job, Shona. The horse needs that sort of TLC. He spent a long time there, and he’s come back nice and sound and in one piece, and off to Queensland he goes.

“He only had one 1200-metre trial before this. We were trying to fit in a race before a Queensland programme for him, so usually I don’t come to the races without two trials, and I thought, ‘Well, he’s going to be underdone.’ But a beautiful ride and the race worked out perfectly.”

Ayrton is now going to target the Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m), Group One Doomben Cup (2000m) and Group One The Q22 (2200m).

Ayrton was bred by Cambridge accountant Greg McCarthy, who retained a share of the ownership when the gelding was sold privately to Australian interests in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo.

Vendor Leanach Lodge
Breeding Iffraaj – Odessa
Sale Lot 834, Karaka 2019 Book 2, Psd (Res $40,000)
Bred by G J McCarthy