(By John Jenkins)
Iffitel caused a minor upset when she led most of the way for a convincing win in today’s $50,000 Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdles (3200m) at Te Rapa.
Despite being the winner of two of her only three previous hurdle starts, Iffitel was overlooked by punters in today’s feature and returned a dividend of $18.20 for a win and $4.70 for a place.
Jockey Hamish McNeill let the Iffraaj mare take control early on in the race and they opened up a sizeable break on the field with 600m to run. The seven-year-old produced two magnificent leaps at the last two jumps and maintained a strong run to the line to score by 6-1/2 lengths. El Disparo was the best of the chasers, finishing 2-1/4 lengths ahead of third placed Tommyra, with It’s A Wonder a further 3 lengths back in fourth.
Race favourite No Change was in a prominent position in the early stages but misjudged one of the jumps with a round to go and only battled over the final stages to finish fifth.
“That’s fantastic. Absolutely amazing,” an elated trainer Glynn Brick said after Iffitel’s win.
“I was thinking he’d gone too early and thought what are you doing.?
“But she was obviously going that good and she jumped those last two really well.”
McNeill said Iffitel was travelling that well in front that he was confident of victory a long way from the finish.
“As soon as she got to the front she dropped the bit and was always travelling well and she’s a great jumper. Four strides out she locks onto the jumps and just goes for it.”
Iffitel, who was the winner of four races on the flat, took out a maiden hurdle over 2800m on the Te Rapa track in June of last year before being victorious in the Awapuni Hurdle (2900m). She was spelled after being pulled up in the Wellington Hurdles at her only other jumping start last winter and looks to have come back bigger and better than ever.