South Coast Arden showed the brute strength and speed required to win a New Zealand Cup when powering to the fastest win on an epic day of racing at the IRT Harness Jewels.
Driver Natalie Rasmussen expertly controlled the Group One Civtec 4YO Diamond, letting South Coast Arden deliver crushing 400m splits that let simply left his rivals chasing his shadow.
Aside from delivering trainer Brent Mangos and his owners a brilliant IRT Harness Jewels Day win, Rasmussen’s tactics also resulted in a sensational 1.51.68 mile (1609m) time.
One of the greats of New Zealand’s driving ranks himself, Mangos found himself in the odd position of having to watch his stable star from the grandstand because of a suspension.
But it definitely didn’t take away from what the trainer rated as one of the biggest thrills of his training career.
“It didn’t worry me at all, Natalie is a great driver and she can sum up a race within 50m,” Mangos said.
“And that is what she did today.”
Always highly rated, South Coast Arden’s already strong reputation has gone to new levels in the past month with two brilliant Addington wins before he claimed his maiden Group One title at Cambridge on Sunday.
While his star has been on the rise, South Coast Arden isn’t showing any ability Mango didn’t already know he had.
“He has always been a very good horse but he had a wee setback earlier in the year,” the trainer said.
“He is a horse that has taken time to grow into his frame and now he is really showing how good he is.”
“He is a great stayer and he really showed that today.”
What has been made infinitely clear in the past month is South Coast Arden relishes left-handed racing, which hasn’t always been the case.
“He never used to, he always used to be better right-handed but we have worked on his gear a wee bit and he is much better.”
South Coast Arden left a string of proven open class performers in his wake in his two and a half-length Jewels domination.
Even months out, the four-year-old must rate a big part of this year’s New Zealand Cup picture.
Mangos has thought of the pacer as the ideal New Zealand Cup horse, but said he wouldn’t be getting ahead of himself before the spring.
“We always thought he was that [New Zealand Cup] type of horse, but we will just play it by air at the moment.”
Bad To The Bone ran yet another exceptionally tough second placing at Group One level in the 4YO Diamond after racing three-wide and then parked outside of South Coast Arden for the entire race.
Laver was exceptionally gritty in third, digging deep after racing three-wide for the race’s last lap.
Race 9 : Civtec 4YO Emerald
Many were thinking the IRT Harness Jewels had kept the best to last - the Civtec 4YO Emerald - and it was South Coast Arden who was brilliant in taking it out in 1:51.68, the fastest mile of the day. Copy That was the favourite, despite a second line draw, and he got a nice run three wide with cover but couldn't make any headway on the winner, who paid $7.80 and $2.20. Trained by Brent Mangos, South Coast Arden got handy off the gate and was always looking like it would take some running down. It was Natalie Rasmussen's second win for the day (along with Bettor Twist). Tony Herlihy, Mark Purdon and John Dunn also had two wins. Bad To The Bone was second, with Laver third at lucrative odds ($10.40). The 7:5:11:1 First 4 paid $26,378.20. It was the biggest First 4 of the day by far.
To view the exciting race click here:
Chanelle Lawson Photography