IT DIDN’T take boom freshman Chase Auckland long to bounce back into the winners’ circle.
Suffering his first defeat when returning from a two-month spell last week, Chase Auckland was at his dominant best during last night’s Northern Derby in Auckland.
Driven by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, the gelding was settled towards the tail of the field from barrier six as Sheriff and then Sicario worked to the lead.
Angled three-wide during the middle stages, Chase Auckland was taken to ‘death seat’ for a few strides before claiming the lead from his stablemate – driven by co-trainer Mark Purdon.
With Sicario issuing a quickly thwarted challenge along the sprint lane, Chase Auckland proved too slick to score by a length, with Sheriff two-and-a-half lengths away third.
Rating 1:57.3 over 2700 metres, the son of Auckland Reactor broke the national record to stretch his tally to eight wins and a second from nine starts for earnings of $392,329.
“His work after his first run back was pretty good and he’d improved a bit between runs,” Rasmussen said. “He’s done it hard out three-wide before taking the lead and was still too strong up the straight.
“He will be better again for that run as he heads towards the New Zealand Derby in April.
“After that he has the Harness Jewels and the Breeders’ Crown, but we will make a decision about the Crown after the Jewels.”