IN Racing
Cups future tipped for St Leger victor
Testify Me (outside) runs down The Underbelly in the final stages of The Bold One & Agraforum St Leger (2600m) at Trentham on Saturday.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | March 17, 2024
Testify Me (outside) runs down The Underbelly in the final stages of The Bold One & Agraforum St Leger. Photo:Race Images

Three Taranaki representatives were tipped as key hopes in Saturday’s The Bold One & Agraforum St Leger (2600m), but it was another of the region’s staying talents in Testify Me that reigned supreme in the Trentham feature.  

A son of Atlante, Testify Me was tasked with the challenge of contesting Robbie Patterson’s classy trio of Mary Louise, Nom De Plume and The Underbelly, the latter a scorching TAB tote favourite paying just $1.80 at the jump.  

Fellow New Plymouth trainer Janelle Millar’s charge held the fourth line of betting at $9.60, backing up from close-up second placed finish behind Orlov over 2100m at the course a week prior.  

Regular rider Chris Dell has partnered Testify Me in six of his last seven race-day appearances, and was thrilled to deliver the victory for Millar.  

“I do a lot of work behind the scenes for Janelle, so I’ve had a long association with this horse. It’s great to get a big win like this,” he said. 

Despite the narrow winning margin, Dell had been confident at the post after the race had panned out as intended.  

“He jumped well and I put him a bit handier than I was last-start, being a 2600m race they are quite tactical affairs, and there wasn’t a huge amount of pace on paper in the field,” he said.  

“I settled in behind the hot-favourite in The Underbelly, and just followed him everywhere he went. I did hit a flat-spot at the 600m, but that’s just the way my horse races, and he kept coming up underneath me down the straight.  

“I let a scream out because I knew I’d got there, even though it was by the barest of margins, he’d got his head down at the right time. I was pretty confident at the post.” 

Out of a Volksraad mare Cherry Bomb, Millar co-bred and shares in the ownership of the gelding, who has earned over $130,000 in a 16-start career.  

“Janelle’s very good with her horses, she places them very well, and she definitely will be looking after him as he’s a Cups horse for the future. What he’s lacking in starts, he’s making up with wins,” Dell said.  

“We’ll hopefully be targeting those 3200m races next year, he’s shown that he can get the 2600m distance, which is one of the hardest battles.  

“I’m not sure what she has in store for him in the immediate future, but I know I’ll be happy to be on him next start.”