White Noise was the least fancied runner of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s pair in the Gr.3 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki on Thursday, but somebody forgot to tell the grey gelding that.
The son of El Roca was sent out an $11.90 prospect and ran away to a dominant win in the three-year-old feature.
Fairly away from the gates, jockey Ryan Elliot elected to settle off the pace with White Noise, while stablemate Turn The Ace (NZ) (Turn Me Lose) took the opposite approach, with jockey Lisa Allpress taking the stakes winner forward early to take a front-running role.
The pressure told on Turn The Ace, who was collared by favourite Unusual Culture soon after turning for home, however, the stable’s chances were not spent, with White Noise breezing on by to win by three-quarters of a length to Unusual Culture (NZ) (Unusual Suspect), with a further 1-3/4 lengths back to Barrow Boy (NZ) (Savabeel) in third.
Forsman was delighted with the winning efforts of White Noise and admitted to being shocked to see the market discount his chances ahead of the race, with the gelding having won two of his previous three starts.
“He has always shown quite a lot of ability, just at times he hasn’t quite put it all together. He just struggled in that bad track at Tauranga last start (when finishing sixth),” Forsman said.
“I was surprised (by his odds). I thought he would be one of the favourites. You had to forgive him that last start but outside of that his form has been pretty good.
“We decided to put the blinkers on, we knew it was going to be a quicker track and they would run a long a bit and just hoped it would sharpen him up, and he did it quite easily I thought in the finish.”
No solid plans have been made with the gelding, who holds a nomination for the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March.
“We haven’t really made any plans,” Forsman said. “He has been up a while. He is going to be due a freshen-up at some point and that might be now.
“We will just have a think about it, talk with the owners and see what they want to do and come up with a plan in the next day or two.”
White Noise is one of four stakes winners for Westbury Stud stallion El Roca, who was represented by impressive Group Two winner Lucky Patch (NZ) in Hong Kong on Sunday.
While pleased with White Noise’s efforts, Forsman admitted to being disappointed with Turn The Ace’s run.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. “He did a little bit of work to get across to the front, I thought he was entitled to do a little bit more, he just gave it away quite quickly.
“He is a big horse and whether he is trying to fill into his frame at the moment. He will appreciate a good spell now and hopefully he will come back better in the autumn.”