What a difference a year makes.
Expat New Zealand jockey James McDonald rode True Enough to victory in the Thames Cup (1600m) in January and nearly a year later he reunited with the six-year-old gelding to record a Group One victory in the Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
McDonald was delighted with the victory and said True Enough has blossomed in the 12 months since he last rode him.
“I am two from two on him now, he might have to follow me across the Tasman,” he said.
“If you had told me that a year ago (that he would win a Group One), I would probably have said he wouldn’t have got out of that handicap grade, but he has done a marvelous job.
“It’s well-deserved for the horse. He has been so consistent the whole way through, there’s probably no horse that deserves it as much as him.”
It was a stellar day at Ellerslie for McDonald who won earlier on the card aboard Jennifer Eccles in the Gr.2 SKYCITY Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Only in Jakarta in the Headquarters Viaduct/The Lonely Hearts Club 1200.
Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman also had a good day at the office after winning the opening race of the day with Artiste, but they were over the moon with True Enough’s victory in the feature race.
The son of Nom du Jeu has been in a purple patch of form this season, recording three wins and two placings from five starts, including victories in the Gr.3 Red Badge Sprint (1400m) and Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), and a last start placing in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, and his trainers were delighted with their charge’s breakthrough victory at elite level.
“Every time we raise the bar for him he just keeps stepping up, and now he is a Group One winner,” Forsman said.
“He ran out the mile at Wellington as though he needed 2000m and it had to be a good ride in a quality field today and it was spot on.”
Forsman said True Enough has now earnt a break and will most likely return for some autumn targets.
“We have no real plans, he may deserve a break now off the back of that and consider racing into the autumn.”