Awapuni visitor relishes Riccarton

Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin laid the foundation for a Group 1 return visit to South Island with undefeated colt Salamanca on Saturday.

Salamanca (NZ) won the LR Champagne Stakes at Riccarton and connections are already looking ahead to the G1 Two Thousand Guineas in November.  “That’s why we sent him down here,” Breslin said.  “He will benefit from the trip and a run on the track.  It will hold him in good stead for the Guineas.”

Salamanca (2g Alamosa – Anca by Howbaddouwantit) is the first stakes winner for Wellfield Lodge sire Alamosa.  A Group 1 winner on either side of the Tasman, he has sired five first-crop winners since A Beautiful Knight saluted at Wanganui in October.

Alamosa (O’Reilly) was the leading NZ-based first-crop stallion at the 2012 NZB National yearling sale.  His Riccarton stakes winner made $80,000 to Breslin’s bid at Karaka.

Salamanca had won on debut at Otaki last month but there were concerns about him coping with the heavy going at Riccarton.  Those fears were realised, but the gelding’s raw talent was enough to overcome the conditions and he got home by a neck from Rachel Rafter (Perfectly Ready) and the favourite Franzac (NZ) (Iffraaj).

“He was up on the bit and travelling because he’s got the natural ability, but Rosie (Myer) said he was floundering in the ground and got to the front a bit too soon,” Breslin said.  “He got the job done and will be back home and in the paddock on Monday afternoon for a month off.”

Salamanca is out of the seven-time winner Anca – mare that Breslin had tried to purchase as a yearling.  “I missed out on her as the under-bidder and I’ve always liked the family,” Breslin said.  “That was one the attractions of this horse, but I never looked at him at the sale – I thought he’d be a $150,000 horse.

“Auctions can be funny things, though.  He came up very early in the sale and I was just lucky to have followed him in and was able to get him for $80,000.”