Tonight (August 1st) may have been the first night of the new harness racing season in New Zealand but it was one of the established brigade who was handing out lessons at Alexandra Park tonight.
Brent Mangos has long been regarded as one of the elite reinsman in New Zealand and his drive tonight on Rockn Ruby was a subtle reminder that he has lost none of his ability in the bike.
Sent forward early from barrier three to find the lead early by Mangos, Rockn Ruby stole a couple of cheap quarters before applying the pressure at the 800 meters mark.
Skipping clear on the corner, Rockn Ruby dug deep for Mangos and held on for a narrow but deserved victory.
It was her sixth win from just twenty starts and took her stake earnings to $73,678.
She paced the 2200 meters in 2:45.6, a mile rate of 2:01.1 with smart closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27.
It was a beautifully timed drive from Mangos, one of the best drivers in the business.
A regular in all the filly age group classics at two and three,the Mach Three mare Rockn Ruby is a half sister to the smart gelding Liston 1:53.3 ($131,813).
Her dam Dougs Choice is a half sister to Lord Diego 1:55.2 ($95,199) and Lord Oliver 1:54 ($80,878) amongst others.
The maternal family which traces to noted producer Bravine, has always left its fair share of smart fillies and mares.
And with Brent Mangos in the bike, it wont be the last time that Rockn Ruby salutes the judge this season.