Race favorite Kawi was given a textbook ride by Leith Innes to win the NZ$200,000 Thorndon Mile (NZ-I) Jan. 23 at Trentham and add a third top-level victory to his record.
Fourth on the turn, Kawi stormed up to lead from Mabeel in early stretch and dug down when asked to deny good-closing Stolen Dance the victory by a long neck. Sports Illustrated was a long neck back in third.
Kawi covered the distance in 1:35.14 on a turf course rated as dead.
“He’s a beauty, a very good horse,” trainer Alan Sharrock said. “He doesn’t do it by much, but he gets the job done. He’s probably the best I’ve had.”
Kawi, a New Zealand-bred 5-year-old Savabeel gelding, won for the 11th time from 22 career starts that include his last-out triumph in the Zabeel Classic (NZ-I) going 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) Dec. 26 at Ellerslie and the about seven-furlong Makfi Challenge (NZ-I) last August.
“I didn’t really ask him for an effort until the 100 (-meter mark),” Innes said. “It was a great effort by Allan and the team to bring him back from 2,000 meters.”
Kawi was bred by Steak Goodin from the Volksraad mare Magic Time.