His future as a top-class stayer got considerably brighter March 5 when Who Shot Thebarman powered to victory in the two-mile Auckland Cup (NZ-I) at Ellerslie.
Racing in eighth with a mile to run, the 5-year-old gelding was ridden to striking position on the home turn and once in the straight burst clear to lead. Celtic Prince closed late on the outside in a desperate rally, but the winner repelled the challenge to win a by one length.
More Than Sacred, winner of the 2013 New Zealand Oaks (NZ-I), unleashed a strong kick from well off the pace to take third, 2 1/2 lengths back.
"When he caught sight of the other horse (Celtic Prince) he kicked again," winning jockey Matthew Cameron told The Informant. "It's a privilege to ride a horse like him that can sprint away at the end of two miles."
The 5-2 favorite off a victory in the 1 1/2-mile Avondale Gold Cup (NZ-I) Feb. 15, Who Shot Thebarman completed the Auckland Cup in 3:25.28 for his first group I win.
He has six wins and two seconds from nine starts for Mark Oulaghan, who trains the son of Yamanin Vital for Dan, Shaun, Michael, and Humphrey O'Leary. The brothers privately acquired Who Shot Thebarman from New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame member Brian Anderton of White Robe Lodge. Anderton bred him out of the Carolingian mare Ears Carol.
Who Shot Thebarman was unraced at ages 2 and 3, and debuted last April at Trentham with consecutive wins to launch his career. He finished second by a head in his stakes bow in December in the 1 1/2-mile Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup (NZ-III) but returned for a convincing breakthrough in the Avondale Gold Cup.
His sire, Yamanin Vital, a son of Sir Tristam, was 19 when he died in 2009 from an inoperable bowel obstruction. A stamina influence, he stood at White Robe Lodge in New Zealand for several years after racing in Japan.