Andoyas may have been overlooked in favour of a couple of his opponents in the lead-up to this afternoon’s Dunstan Stayers’ Championship Qualifier at Ellerslie, but he emphatically stepped out of their shadow and into contention for summer staying features.
The son of Lando was bred in Germany and made a winning debut there, then added another three victories in Hong Kong.
He made his New Zealand debut in August with a flying finish for second over 1400 metres at Te Rapa, and he won at Avondale two starts later.
But his stocks slipped with two unplaced finishes in his last two appearances in late October and early November. First he blundered leaving the starting gates at Ellerslie, injuring the foot of rider Opie Bosson and taking no further part in the race. Then a slow beginning proved costly in an eighth placing over 1550 metres at Awapuni.
Today he stepped up to 2200 metres and it was a very different story. Pre-race attention surrounded the impressive last-start winner Gundown and Counties Cup fifth placegetter Terra Sancta, but Andoyas upstaged them.
With apprentice jockey Darren Danis in the saddle, he strode past the front-running Sunburst in the straight and went clear to win by a length and three-quarters. Terra Sancta got going late for second, with August Edition pipping Sunburst for third.
“He just hasn’t had a lot of luck in his last couple,” co-trainer Andrew Scott said. “This was a good performance. He’s a staying horse and hasn’t had a run for six weeks leading into it. He quickened very nicely and will relish the extra distances of these longer races from now on.
“Lance(O’Sullivan, training partner) had talked to the owners and warned them that they would need to be patient in the early part of the season. We wanted to take him along quietly and make sure he had fresh legs for some of the good staying races through the summer months. They’ve been very patient, and hopefully now they’re going to be rewarded.”
O’Sullivan and Scott have nominated Andoyas for the Gr. 3 City of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, the Gr. 3 Wellington Cup at Trentham on January 19 and the Gr. 1 Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on March 9.
The TAB now rates Andoyas a $12 fourth favourite for the City of Auckland Cup (Igraine is the $5 favourite). He is also prominent in Wellington Cup betting at $16 and at $21 for the Auckland Cup.
Andoyas represents a high-profile group of owners who are currently spread among a number of far-flung locations. Former Black Caps bowler Simon Doull is in the United Arab Emirates, where he was part of the commentary for New Zealand’s series victory over Pakistan last night.
Former TAB bookmaker Paul Lally and broadcaster Jason Tan are in Hong Kong, with the prestigious Hong Kong International Races just over 24 hours away.
Also in the ownership are the Malory Partnership, Sam Russo, Shane Cuthbert, former Black Caps captain Ken Rutherford and former All Whites coach Ricki Herbert.