In a thrilling finish to the day’s second feature jumping event, Waverley visitor It’s A Wonder fought back in the final few strides to down South Island raider Delacroix in the Signature Homes Waikato Steeplechase (3900m).
The pair were locked together over the final two fences and just as Delacroix looked to have the upper hand, rider Shaun Fannin extracted a little more from It’s A Wonder to claim victory by a short neck.
The win capped a stellar day for trainer and part-owner Harvey Wilson who produced Bad Boy Brown to run close up in fourth in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m) whilst promising flat galloper Password finished on strongly for third in a rating 83 2100m contest.
“That was a great thrill and he was very tough, so we are very proud of him,” Wilson said.
“We were a little concerned going into the race as he has had his troubles getting around the bends here in the past but he handled it a lot better this time.
“We were happy with him although the track may have been a little heavier than we would have liked but he is getting more adaptable in that sort of ground.
“Delacroix is a good horse and won well last time so to get his measure was a good effort by our bloke.”
Narrowly beaten by Shamal in the corresponding race last year, It’s A Wonder then went on to produce a winning double at Riccarton that culminated in a stylish all-the-way success in the Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) to close out his season.
With that option not available this year due to the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on race programming, Wilson has thoughts around contesting the time-honoured Great Northern Steeplechase (6400m) at Ellerslie in October instead.
“He will probably go to Hastings for the Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase next and then we might have a look around Ellerslie in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup in early October,” he said.
“We will see what happens at Ellerslie but if he went well then we would have to look at the Northern.
“He’s no certainty for the Northern but the Pakuranga Hunt Cup is only twice over the hill there rather than the three of the Northern, so it would give us a good guide to see if he could handle that before we made any further plans.”
Wilson advised that Bad Boy Brown is also a contender for the feature hurdle event at Ellerslie on October 17, the Boutique Body Corporates Great Northern Hurdles (4190m), but his immediate task would be the Manawatu ITM Awapuni Hurdle (2900m) on August 22.