Five To Midnight breaks through in Hawke's Bay Gold Cup Sat, 15 Apr 2017

Richard Edmunds
Five To Midnight (Danielle Johnson) completes a dominant victory in the Hawke's Bay Gold Cup.
Five To Midnight (Danielle Johnson) completes a dominant victory in the Hawke's Bay Gold Cup.
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Five To Midnight snapped a long string of big-race placings with a richly deserved Listed win in this afternoon’s $75,000 Winning Edge Presentations Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup at Hastings.

The four-year-old Domesday gelding came into today’s 2200-metre event with four wins from 21 career starts, but stakes success had so far eluded him.

As a three-year-old Five To Midnight ran second in the New Zealand St Leger and the Manawatu Classic, and this season he has added a third in the Feilding Gold Cup, third in the Manawatu Cup, third in the City of Auckland Cup, fourth in the Avondale Cup, fifth in the Auckland Cup and second in the Awapuni Gold Cup.

Today, at last, it was Five To Midnight’s day. He broke well from the starting gate and assumed a forward position in the first 200 metres of the race, but rider Danielle Johnson was happy to ease back into midfield as Balham, Clarify and Cheeky Boy showed the way in an off-and-on pace.

Accomplished stayer Maygrove was the first to make a big move, sliding up alongside Balham at the 500-metre mark, while Five To Midnight steadily improved into third position and Johnson brought him to the outside at the top of the straight to make his bid.

Maygrove and Balham both provided plenty of resistance when Five To Midnight moved up alongside them, but the Lisa Latta-trained Five To Midnight would not be denied this time. He surged clear in the last 200 metres and raced to victory by two lengths from Maygrove and Balham.

“I’m so happy with that,” said Kevin Pratt, who owns Five To Midnight under this Kamada Racing banner. “Five To Midnight is a horse who really, really tries.

“We thought he could win a good race this season, but he’s been a bit unlucky at times. This was it for him for this season, and it’s great to see him win it.”

Trained by Lisa Latta, Five To Midnight is now the winner of five races and prize-money of more than $186,000.

Five To Midnight was bred by The Oaks Stud and is out of their two-race winning Fastnet Rock mare Fastnet Lady. The Oaks offered him at the 2014 Select Yearling Sale at Karaka, where Latta bought him for $165,000.

Latta has indicated that Five To Midnight will go out for a winter break after today’s race. Next season he may be given the chance to follow in the footsteps of last year’s Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup winner Chenille, who 11 months later added the Gr. 1 Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.