Ayrton (NZ) Makes Triumphant Return

15 October 2023

Ayrton (NZ) winning the Listed Weekend Hussler.

Super-talented Karaka graduate Ayrton (NZ) (Iffraaj) made a welcome return to top form with a determined win in Saturday’s A$175,000 Listed Weekend Hussler (1400m) at Caulfield.

Ayrton was offered by Leanach Lodge in Book 2 of Karaka 2019, where he failed to meet his $40,000 reserve. He has now had 17 starts for seven wins, three placings and A$771,225 in prize-money.

Ayrton made an outstanding start to his career, winning six of his first eight starts including the Group Three Gunsynd Classic (1600m) and Group Three Victoria Handicap (1400m). But his form has been more down than up in the two years since he suffered a spider bite in the spring of 2021, and before Saturday he had recorded just one placing from his last eight starts.

That all changed on Saturday with one of Ayrton’s finest performances. Ridden by Damian Lane, he sat in a handy position before striding forward to tackle the front-running Buffalo River (Noble Mission) in the straight. He went past with a slick turn of foot, and despite tiring in the closing stages, he kept finding enough to claim a long-overdue win.

“I ride a lot for this stable and have ridden lots of winners, so it is good to team back up with this horse and get a long-awaited win for the owners,” jockey Damian Lane said.

“I was in front quite early for a horse that was first-up over 1400 metres. As you can see, he got a bit tired late. All’s well that ends well, but I think he’ll benefit from the run and hopefully he’s got another good race in him.”

Co-trainer Mick Price was relieved to see Ayrton show his true colours again.

“He had a lot of toxicity in his system,” he said. “We suspect it was a white-tailed spider. We nursed him and nursed him. He was a very sick horse. I wasn’t sure whether he’d come back today or ever, but today is a great day for the owners and the staff.

“He’s had a different training regime. We took him to our beach stable and brought him in. We’ve been kind to him. The race set up beautifully, and D Lane had him one out and one back in a perfect spot. Now I’m hoping he can go on.”

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