THE Nick Ryan stable continued its stellar run of form when it took out a tough benchmark 64 sprint at Bendigo on Tuesday with Gold Spark.
Confidently ridden by Rhys McLeod, Gold Spark ($7.70) made amends for a rare disappointing performance at Moonee Valley last month by defeating a quality field of emerging sprinters over the 1100m trip.
The five-year-old gelding delivered his Caulfield trainer a seventh winner from his last 15 starters, comfortably accounting for the Echuca-trained Was Written by two-lengths, with the pacemaker Kiata, for Bendigo trainer Rod Symons, close up in third ahead of the Kym Hann-trained Rogue Star.
A win for the Ryan stable capped a winning homecoming for stable representative Toby Lake, who was quick to dismiss Gold Spark's previous effort at the Valley over 955m.
"We always like coming here, it's one of the best tracks in Australia, every horse gets its chance, so we try and bring some of our nicer ones here," he said.
"He has placed over the 995m at the Valley before, but the idea was to run him there and back him up in a 1200m the week later.
"He such a big horse and Nick has had some luck doing that in recent times, but he just didn't come through it as well as we thought.
"We tipped him out into the paddock for 10 days, brought him back and he had a nice gallop and a jump-out the other day and it's proved successful."
Lake said Gold Spark would be aimed at the $250,000 Country Mile Race Series Final, to be run next month at Moonee Valley on All-Star Mile day.
"He's an older horse, but he's progressive and he's lightly raced, so we're pretty excited," Lake said.
An exciting eight-race program was highlighted by a thrilling dead heat in the opening race between the two-year-olds Cloudy and Seradess.
Best performed of the locally-trained brigade were the Jarrod Robinson-trained River Tycoon, who finished second in a 1400m maiden, Kiata and the Shane Fliedner-trained Air Defence, who finished third behind Caboom Duke, in the benchmark 64 over 1300m.
Another impressive win for Gold Spark today at Bendigo 👏🏻 The son of Akeed Mofeed strode to the line pretty comfortably under the guidance of McLeod & was never in doubt.Lightly raced, we see plenty more wins in store! Congratulations to Golden Farms! pic.twitter.com/tw90zcDEb5— Nick Ryan Racing (@nryanracing) February 23, 2021
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