Raupunga Lad and Hidden Talent impress

By Jonny Turner

They went about their work completely differently, but three-year-olds Raupunga Lad and Hidden Talent both showed similar class in their outstanding victories at Winton on Thursday.

Raupunga Lad played hide and seek with his rivals, running away to an emphatic nine and a quarter-length debut victory for trainer Brent McIntyre and driver Craig Ferguson.

Hidden Talent scored by just a neck, but she showed brilliant speed to reel in the leaders on a sizzling 27.9sec final 800m to remain unbeaten in her second start for trainer-driver Nathan Williamson.

Hidden Talent is a full sister to Williamson’s former outstanding racemare Dark Horse and a half-sister to several good winners including Monty Python.

The filly looks to be on a path towards feature races for three-year-old trotting fillies in the spring and summer.

Williamson hopes that is the case and has a starting point in mind.

“She is a nice filly from a nice family and she has got good speed, so hopefully she keeps improving.”

“There is a Group Three race at Addington next month we are going to work towards.”

“She has to qualify from behind the mobile first so we will just take it one step at a time.”

Brent McIntyre is yet to decide exactly where Raupunga Lad goes next but the trainer is certain going up in grade won’t worry the pacer following his classy debut victory.

The three-year-old started at very short odds on Thursday after gaining a big reputation following some impressive trial performances.

That reputation only got bigger when Raupunga Lad jogged away from his rivals, going to the line hard held as he romped to his nine-length win.

“We are very happy with the horse, he didn’t let us down today,” McIntyre said.

Raupunga Lad is raced by Northern Southland breeder-owner Neil Timms, a renowned educator of working farm dogs.

Timms has been good friends with McIntyre and his family since they moved to Northern Southland and established their Macca Lodge stud farm.

Their association hit a new high with Raupunga Lad’s outstanding win.

“We obviously realised he was a pretty nice horse early on.”

“We had him up and going earlier this year but he got crook and we ended up tipping him out.”

“It has actually done him a favour because he did a lot in a short time and he was a horse that needed a break.”

“He has come up a treat this time and he is improving all the time.”

“He just jogged that today.”

McIntyre and his staff will soon be juggling training their race team with breeding around 300 standardbred mares at Macca Lodge as the spring breeding season approaches.



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