A never-say-die attitude led to proven stayer Bizzwinkle capturing his second Stratford Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Fresh-up off the back of his Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) win at Riccarton in November, the Glenn Old-trained stayer was confidently tipped to defend the title he won in 2017 with a dashing front-running performance.
With apprentice Jasmine Fawcett aboard, who had ridden the Rip Van Winkle five-year-old to victory last year, Bizzwinkle adopted similar tactics this year despite being annoyed by several runners throughout the contest.
Although clearly headed in the home straight Bizzwinkle called on all his reserves to put his head back in front where it mattered as he downed Lorde Have Mercy, Gorbachev and Hank Moody in a blanket finish.
“To tell you the truth I wasn’t really expecting that today,” Old said after the race.
“It was more of a maintenance type of run as he hadn’t done a lot since he came home from Riccarton.
“He’s got that will to win though and when he gets to the front he fights like a tiger. They took him on all the way but he was too good in the end.”
Old will now set his sights on the Gr.3 NZ Campus for Innovation and Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham on January 19.
“He’s pretty clean-winded so he won’t have another run between this one and Trentham,” he said.
“The Wellington Cup is his main aim and he will love the big, roomy track there.
“We’ll take him home and keep him ticking over with plenty of swimming and a bit of jumping.
“He loves the hurdles so it’s a good way to vary his routine and keep him sharp.”
Bizzwinkle sits on the second line of betting at a $10 quote on the TAB market for the Wellington Cup with Rock On and Alinko Prince currently joint favourites at $8.
Bizzwinkle, who was a $36,000 purchase from the Henley Park draft at the 2015 Select Yearling Sale, has now won six of his 19 career starts and $250,000 in prizemoney.