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Trainer Kevin Myers and stable rider Matthew Gillies added the Great Northern Hurdles to their trophy list when they combined at Ellerslie with a gallant Gagarin.
Successful with the impressive Tallyho Twinkletoe in last month’s Grand National Hurdles, they again proved a potent partnership with the seven-year-old too good for his stablemate Mahanadi in Saturday’s Schweppes-sponsored event.
|Gagarin Photo: Trish Dunell|
“All credit to Kevin who has placed the horse very well,” Gillies said.
The 29-year-old won the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles on Gagarin in June but with other stable commitments Shaun Fannin rode the gelding into fifth in the Sydenham Hurdles at Riccarton before they came to grief in the Grand National.
Fannin broke his collar bone in that fall and stable employee Lisa Kennedy won a restricted hurdle at Wanganui on Gagarin before he was switched back to the flat for a third placing at Hawera.
That proved the ideal Northern lead-up for Gagarin, who moved into contention 800 metres from home.
“He pulled hard at the back and I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t be able to finish off after over racing,” Gillies said.
“Down the back straight the last time my arms were dead and I let him go. I thought I may have gone too soon, but he’s a tough horse.”
Gagarin, who had finished runner-up 12 months ago, led over the closing 600 metres to defeat Mahanadi with last year’s winner Wee Biskit taking third narrowly from Superturf.
“With another year on him he is a lot stronger, he’s a very talented horse,” Gillies said. – NZ Racing Desk.
Myers also went on to claim second in the Great Northern Steeplechase with Snowdroptwinkletoes ridden by Jo Rathbone.