Million-Dollar Milestone Within Reach for Ayrton (NZ)
27 January 2024
Ayrton (NZ) (Iffraaj) was passed in at Karaka 2019 with a reserve of only $40,000, but a tenacious victory in Friday’s A$175,000 Listed Evergreen Turf John Dillon Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield has put him within sight of A$1m in stakes.
Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr and carrying the colours of syndicators Roll The Dice Racing, Ayrton has had 21 starts for eight wins and three placings. He has earned A$906,675, which is almost 25 times the reverse placed on him by vendors Leanach Lodge in Book 2 of Karaka 2019.
Caulfield has been a particularly special course for Ayrton, whose seven starts at the Melbourne track have produced six wins including the Group Three Victoria Handicap (1400m), the Listed Weekend Hussler (1400m) and Friday’s John Dillon Stakes. His only defeat at Caulfield was a sixth placing in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) in November.
Ayrton showed plenty of class and courage in Friday’s win. Given an ideal run in third by Jamie Kah, he quickened smartly in the straight to move ahead of Buffalo River (Noble Mission) and Not An Option (Not A Single Doubt).
He had to lift again to turn back a late challenge by the fast-finishing Ka Bling (Capitalist), but Ayrton was up to the task and held on in a tight photo finish.
“He’s just such a tough horse,” Kah said. “I love this horse. He’s been great to me throughout my career. He was feeling the pinch late today, but he’s always so tough. Whenever I ride him, he tries his hardest.
“The race worked out perfectly for him in the end. I know that I can push him a bit in the early stages and he always comes back to me. The tempo ended up being beautiful, we got a good sit, and he’s just a push-button horse. I love him.”
Price and Kent will now consider giving Ayrton another shot at Group One level in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24.
“It was fantastic that he held on to win for the big ownership group that’s on course to see him today,” Price and Kent’s racing manager Tom Sheahan said. “We’ll let the dust settle after this, and then we could aim higher again. There’s a 1400-metre Listed race in a couple of weeks that might be a nice option, and then there’s the Futurity Stakes.”
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.
|Leanach Lodge Ltd
|Iffraaj – Odessa
|Lot 834, Karaka 2019 Book 2, Psd (Res $40,000)
|G J McCarthy