Tommyra gives Raise The Flag huge Waikato Hurdles win
By Jonny Turner
It was a case of another big jumps race and another big win for Raise The Flag when Tommyra won the Waikato Hurdles at Te Rapa on Saturday.
There was no need for a photo finish when the 7yr-old powered away from his rivals to win the premier jumps event by a massive fourteen and a half lengths for rider Hamish McNeill.
Winning the $50,000 feature completed a long range plan trainer Toby Autridge had for the son of Blues Traveller mare, Hippo Priscilla.
Tommyra signalled he was on track for his big race target when second in a good field and Wanganui and third in his last start at Te Rapa.
"With that bit of rain we got over the last day or so, it made it more of a staying contest and that really suited him," Autridge told NZ Racing Desk.
"When we put him back into work in November last year this was the race we wanted to win.
"When the lockdown came about, we were in two minds what to do but we kept going and got the prize today."
Tommyra's win continued Raise The Flag's brilliant form in staying and jumping races on both sides of the Tasman.
It came less than a week after Ablaze confirmed his star status by winning the Grand National Hurdles at Sandown.
Tommyra will attempt to put another big race on his sire's resumé when he heads to Hastings for next month's Hawkes' Bay hurdles.
"The main aim now will be the hurdle at Hastings next month," Autridge said.
"I think he'll go to Awapuni for the Awapuni Hurdles which won't really suit if it is a bog track there."
"But he will need a run before Hastings as it would be over six weeks between that race and today."
White Robe Lodge's impact on the Waikato Hurdles did not end with Tommyra.
Gallant Guru's son, Arite Guru took third placing.
The good times continued to roll for Raise The Flag on Saturday when Rosie Rose won at the Sunshine Coast.
Born and bred at White Robe Lodge, the 5yr-old was sold to clients of Gold Coast trainer Harold Norman by Brian and Lorraine Anderton.
Rosie Rose had been brilliantly consistent leading in to her 2200m victory.
The daughter of Personal Escort mare, Ali Rosa, was fourth in her previous start after three consecutive second placings.