Sagunto (NZ) Supreme in Manawatu Cup
19 December 2022
Improving with age and defying the doubts of his connections around unsuitable rain-affected track conditions, Karaka graduate Sagunto (NZ) (O’Reilly) scaled new heights with his first stakes win in Saturday’s $100,000 Group Three Humphries Construction Manawatu Cup (2300m) at Trentham.
Bought by Peter and Kim McKay for $120,000 from the 2017 Premier Sale, the gelding has now banked $204,846 in a 53-start career that has produced seven wins, seven seconds and four thirds. He is trained by Peter McKay in partnership with the couple’s son Shaun.
A blacktype placegetter over a sprint distance in the Listed El Roca Trophy (1200m) as a spring three-year-old in 2018, Sagunto has surprised his connections with his ever-growing strength and stamina as he has matured.
Saturday’s Manawatu Cup provided the clearest illustration of those qualities, dominating the race from the front and never giving his rivals a look-in. Even when challengers began to eat into his margin down the home straight, Sagunto stuck doggedly to his task and held on for an outstanding victory.
With leading rider Lisa Allpress in the saddle, Sagunto swept past the finish line with a margin of a length and three-quarters up his sleeve.
“That was outstanding,” Shaun McKay said. “He is a horse that normally likes it firmer, so when the rain came, we didn’t think he’d be able to carry on like that. But he rolled along, put it to them on the corner and won really well.
“We thought he was going to be a very good sprinter earlier on, and he was stakes-placed over 1200 metres. But the further he went, and the older he got, the better he’s been. He seems to be really only just coming into his prime now, even though he’s seven, and we think he is going to be a good Cup horse.”
|Waikato Stud Ltd
|Mr PN & Mrs K McKay (Matamata)
|O’Reilly – Queen Sabeel
|Lot 362, 2017 Premier Sale, $120,000
|Waikato Stud Ltd