Day At The Track

Kobe Bryant takes NHT race on debut

07:49 AM 13 Jun 2008 NZST
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Kobe Bryant parades victorious Debutant Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant parades victorious - In front of his myriad of owners from the ATC Trot 2008 Synd
PHOTO: GARRICK KNIGHT
Debutant Kobe Bryant - And co-trainer Scott Phelan street clear for an easy win
PHOTO: GARRICK KNIGHT

The phenomenal success of the Auckland Trotting Club racing syndicates continued tonight when two-year-old debutant Kobe Bryant took out the $100,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales NHT Final at Alexandra Park.

In the hands of co-trainer Scott Phelan, Kobe Bryant showed all the magic of his NBA namesake by stacking the small field up and sprinting home to win untouched by five lengths.

Phelan said after the event that the win, which equaled his previous biggest win in the same race two years ago with Big Dog, was all too easy, and he really was just a passenger.

“It was all very easy, he was just a bit too good for them.”

Asked why the son of Presidential Ball had not raced until now, Phelan identified his late birth and rangy scope as the main contributor.

“He’s a pretty big horse and has taken time but we knew he’d be ready for this race.”

Phelan said the pressure of training for the ownership module that had seen monsterous success in recent seasons with the likes of Changeover, Awesome Armbro and Tintin In America, was not lost on he or senior training partner Barry Purdon.

“They’re having a good run, I might have to take a share in the next one myself,” he said.

Kobe Bryant will now head out for a six-week spell before being targeted for resumption around Christmas time and will miss the rich Sires Stakes Series in October and November.

Second home in the race was the red-hot favourite Eye For An Eye from the Mark Purdon and Grant Payne stable, while another southerner in Highbeam Rusty got up for third.

Garrick Knight

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