It may not have been a pretty win, but it was a win nonetheless for Solidify in the Poverty Bay Turf Club 3YO C&G (1100m) at Taupo on Wednesday.
Jumping a $2.30 favourite, the son of Redwood found himself at the rear of the pack shortly after the start and had to be urged on by jockey Ryan Elliot to make up their deficit.
Elliot sent his charge forward three-wide at the 600m mark but the pair were still several lengths off the leaders when turning for home. However, Solidify showed his brilliance in the closing stages when Elliot navigated his way between runners to nab What You Wish For on the line to win by a nose.
“Everything didn’t go to plan. Ryan said he got back and then coming down the hill the ground was shifting a bit,” said Graeme Rogerson, who trains the three-year-old colt with his wife Debbie.
“He was going to run straight past them and Trudy’s (Thornton, jockey) horse (Discovery Bay) ran out in front of him. He then had to dive back into the inside, but he got a result.
“He has the makings of one hell of a horse.”
Rogerson has big plans with Solidify this spring, culminating with a tilt at the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.
“His main aim is the 2000 Guineas and then we may aim for the Herbie Dyke (Gr.1, 2000m) and the Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) with him before we go to Australia.”
Solidify had a two-race Queensland winter campaign where he was unplaced in the Gr.2 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and Gr.1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m), and Rogerson wants to get more experience under Solidify’s belt before returning to Australia in autumn.
“He had a bad experience in Queensland, he got knocked down both times he ran,” Rogerson said.
“We are not going over in the spring with him with what happened. He has got to learn to be a racehorse and he certainly has got the ability.”
Rogerson will now see how Solidify comes through the run but said he will head to the Central Districts for his next assignment.
“I will see how he pulls up, but his next race will either be the Wanganui Guineas Listed, 1200m) or the El Roca at Hawke’s Bay (Listed, 1200m),” he said.
Meanwhile, Rogerson is looking forward to taking a four-strong team to Te Rapa on Saturday where his charge will be led by promising filly Enterprise Gem in the Banquo 3YO 1200.
The Reliable Man filly finished runner-up on debut and Rogerson is hoping she can work her way toward the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.
“Enterprise Gem is a very good filly and she got to the line well on debut,” Rogerson said.
“We are hoping she is a 1000 Guineas filly, but she has just got to learn to be a racehorse.”
Rogerson will also line-up Gibraltar Rising in the Noverre Mile (1600m), Hutson in the Ocean Park 2400, and Brookbourne in the Super Seth Mile (1600m).
“Gibraltar Rising has just got to put it all together and Hutson has the makings of a very good staying horse,” he said.
“Brookbourne had a few little setbacks but he won last year at Hastings. He trialled well and will run a nice race.”
Rogerson is also looking forward to seeing his star galloper Sharp ‘N’ Smart gallop in-between races at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“He is galloping with a horse called Infer, who I think is a very good horse. He is under offer to Hong Kong at the moment,” he said.