Dogged Sakhee’s Soldier pips gallant mare
Opie Bosson did everything in his powers to bring Rising Romance home a winner on Saturday for her late co-trainer Dean Logan.
The favourite pairing were in front in the shadows of the post, only for the determined Sakhee’s Soldier to get in the deciding stride to claim the Gr.1 Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand Stakes.
Sakhee's Soldier and Rising Romance
Photo - Trish Dunell
The drama continued after the race with Rising Romance’s connections firing in an unsuccessful protest alleging interference from the winner on the turn.
Bosson was adamant the outward movement from Sakhee’s Soldier cost him victory and a highly poignant one following Logan’s passing on Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with throat cancer.
Ironically, Bosson was also attempting to bite the hands that have fed him Group One carnival wins with New Zealand Derby winner Mongolian Khan and Dal Cielo, successful in the Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes.
Sakhee’s Soldier is from the all-conquering Cambridge yard of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
“He’s just kept getting better and better and he’s a very relaxed horse, a bit timid even,” Baker said. “He’s still learning what it’s all about.”
Sakhee’s Soldier has made remarkable progress with six wins from his last seven starts and an appearance at The Championships in Sydney is now a possibility.
“He’s in the Doncaster and the Queen Elizabeth, but whether he’s up to that standard I don’t know,” Baker said.
“It was a brave effort today to beat Rising Romance, she’s possibly the best staying mare in the country and maybe Australasia.”
Sakhee’s Soldier was ridden by Matt Cameron, who has been aboard the four-year-old in all but one of his eight career wins.
“Murray and Andrew have done a superb job with him and he just pinned his ears back to get past the mare,” Cameron said.
Racing’s barest margin separated Sakhee’s Soldier and Rising Romance, who will make her next appearance in the G.1 BMW Stakes on March 28, with Farm Boy a creditable third in his first weight-for-age test. – NZ Racing Desk.