The Hawke’s Bay Hurdles on June 29 will be the next assignment for promising jumper Tommyra following his mistake free winning performance in today’s $50,000 K S Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie.
The Toby Autridge-trained seven-year-old produced an impeccable display of hurdling to take out the 3350m prestige event by a neck from the fast finishing Letmeby, with Delegate 5-1/2 lengths back in third.
While Tommyra never put a foot wrong during the race the well supported Duffers Creek, who led coming to the second to last fence, hit the top of that obstacle and crashed on landing. Rider Shaun Fannin was sent sprawling on the ground and was lucky to escape injury when he was hit by a following horse.
Tommyra had looked the big improver for today’s race after his gritty run for third in the Waikato Hurdles (3200m) last month. Regular rider Shaun Phelan stuck with the ship and produced an inch perfect effort to guide his charge home after he jumped fluently throughout.
Settled back in the pack by Phelan in the early stages, Tommyra began to improve his position with 1000m to run. Tommyra and Duffers Creek ranged up wide on the point of the home bend and looked set to fight out the finish until Duffers Creek’s costly mistake at the second last fence.
“It was a great effort from the horse (Tommyra),” Phelan said.
“He’s probably not a wet-tracker but he did it all on ability.
“I had to get out wide to avoid the real bad ground and once he got rolling out there, he got some momentum, and kept carrying on.
“I thought I had Duffers Creek covered before the second to last and once that happened (the fall) I thought I was home.”
Autridge was delighted to see his charge handle the testing track as he looks forward to bringing Tommyra back to Ellerslie in September for a tilt at the Great Northern Hurdle (4190m).
“Last year we talked about maybe going to Aussie but we will wait and see, so at this stage we will go to Hawke’s Bay (next).”
Tommyra finished fourth in last year’s Te Whangai Romney’s Hawke’s Bay Hurdle (3100m) and Autridge believes he is a lot stronger horse now. Today’s victory was the horse’s third over fences from just six starts and his seventh overall from 45 career starts.