On a day where she tasted Group One success with Gaultier in the Levin Classic (1600m) in 2017, Matamata trainer Danica Guy was at it again when she produced Germanicus (Rip Van Winkle) to take out Gr.3 Bluestar Anniversary Handicap (1600m).
The Rip Van Winkle gelding had looked a promising type when scoring twice over the distance at his most recent starts but Saturday’s black type challenge looked a significant step up for the four-year-old who was having just his thirteenth career start.
With ex-pat kiwi Mick Dee aboard, Germanicus settled beautifully on the fence beyond midfield as La Bella Rosa and Hinerangi set up a solid speed in front.
Dee angled Germanicus off the fence approaching the home corner but was desperate for room in the straight as eventual runner-up Cutting Up Rough held him in a pocket. Dee and Germanicus saw clear air at the 150m and charged home to get in the deciding stride over Cutting Up Rough with Scott Base just a neck away in third.
Despite throwing her charge in at the deep end, Guy was confident he had what it took to rise to a new level.
“He’s just kept stepping up and as he’s got more tractable in his racing manners, he’s showing us what he can be,” Guy said.
“I definitely think that there is more to come.
“I thought after his last race he had proved that he would be competitive at this level.
“It’s good for him to have an away trip against the better competition to see where he’s at.
“Where we go to from here is another story as we will just consolidate now and wait for next season.
“I think next season he is going to be really special.”
Dee, who had finished second aboard Harlech in the Gr.1 Levin Classic a race earlier, was pleased to take out the victory.
“It was a little bit of disappointment in the last race but I’m happy to pick this one up as it was a good effort by the horse,” Dee said.
“We got back in the ruck and were able to find a way to the outside.
“When I came off the fence and tracked through behind them, I certainly thought I was going to be the winner from then on.
“It was a good, tough effort to hold out the challengers.”
Germanicus is the second foal of high quality racemare St Germaine, who won the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) and was placed in seven black type races including twice at Group One level during a 35-start career.
Rip Van Winkle has sired 31 stakes winners including this seasons top class 3YO filly Jennifer Eccles, recent winner of the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie.
Rip Van Winkle has eight yearlings catalogued for sale over NZ Bloodstock's Karaka Sales series commencing January 26th.