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Following lengthy deliberation, the judge declared Savile Row (4 h Makfi – Fleece, by Daylami) winner of the $60,000 Hallmark Stud Handicap (Listed, 1200m) on Boxing Day at Ellerslie.

Three times runner-up in Group One races as a three-year-old: 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m), Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), and weight-for-age Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m), for owner and breeder Kevin Hickman (Valachi Downs), Savile Row was resuming off 66 days and having twice won previously over 1200 metres in a fresh state, including once on the course, he produced a sterling performance.

Easy off the outside gate and last of nine at the 600m, he was hooked to the outside on straightening by rider Leith Innes, showing good stretch to reel in the leaders and snatch a nose victory on the line.

Paying $10.00 & $2.70 fixed ($9.70 & $3.10 tote) with the NZ TAB, Savile Row ran the 1200 metres in 1:10.8, last 600m in 35.1, on dead ground.

“It’s a great job done by Pam (Gerard) and Tommy (Hazlett) and the team,” said co-trainer Mike Moroney, on course.

Savile Row had campaigned through the spring from the Ballymore Stables at Flemington.

“His manners were really good in Australia, but we couldn’t work out why he raced so badly. It was just the way they ran their races and pulling hard, wanting to over race and race too handy, and often when we tried to slow him down it didn’t work.

“But, I think he’s a wiser horse for having had the Australian trip and far more relaxed than what he was as a three-year-old.”

Moroney said Savile Row is heading towards the $200,000 Thorndon Mile (Gr. 1, 1600m) on the middle day of the Trentham carnival, 20 January, the scene of his close second last season in the Levin Classic.

After riding him for the first, Innes also felt the mile journey in the Thorndon would be “more his go”.

Accepting the trophy for Valachi Downs, Tommy Hazlett said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank Mark Baker (Hallmark Stud) for the sponsorship. I’ve know Mark and Denny (Baker) for awhile now, it’s always a pleasure to work with them and they operate a first-class establishment at Hallmark Stud.

“On behalf of Kevin and Joanna Hickman, and Jonathan Scully, I’d like to thank the Auckland Racing Club for the wonderful job they do here on Boxing Day.

“Pam Gerard and her team have done a fantastic job with this colt. Things didn’t quite go his way when he went to Australia, but he’s come home, bulked up, there’s still improvement in him and I hope he’s going to continue to run well.”

Savile Row was strapped by Tommy Hazlett.

[26 Dec 17]

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