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Midnight Runner flies home for first Riccarton win

3 minute read

A win at the South Island’s flagship racecourse was one of the only things missing from the CV of accomplished Winton galloper Midnight Runner, and the nine-year-old ticked that box with a barnstorming come-from-behind performance in Saturday’s Daphne Bannan Memorial (1200m) at Riccarton.

MIDNIGHT RUNNER winning the DAPHNE BANNAN MEMORIAL OPEN HANDICAP
MIDNIGHT RUNNER winning the DAPHNE BANNAN MEMORIAL OPEN HANDICAP Picture: Race Images South

Midnight Runner was already a 10-race winner before Saturday's $40,000 sprint feature. He began his career with five wins in the North Island, then ventured south in 2020 and has since added victories at Gore, Riverton, Ascot Park, Oamaru, and back at Riverton two starts ago on May 10.

His nine previous starts at Riccarton had produced only two placings, but he turned that record around in style on Saturday.

Midnight Runner  was ridden by 3kg claimer Ruvanesh Muniandy, who settled well back in third-last as La Bella Nera  and Miss Harley Quinn  set only a moderate speed out in front. They were pursued by The Good Shepherd, Blue Vein and Street Fightin Man, who fanned across the track at the top of the straight and looked like having the finish to themselves as they surged past the leaders.

But then Midnight Runner roared home from the back of the field, bursting to the front in the final 50m and kicking away to win by half a length.

"He ran really well," said Muniandy, who has now ridden Midnight Runner to two wins from just three rides. "His last 600m were very good and he won the race easily in the end."

Midnight Runner's 64-start career has now produced 11 wins, 18 seconds and eight thirds, earning $298,394 in stakes.

The Jimmy Choux gelding is trained by John Phillips, who shares ownership as part of a family syndicate that also includes his son Shane.

"That was very good," Shane Phillips said. "After that win at Riverton last month, we had a bit of confidence coming into this race today. It's my first win as an owner here at Riccarton, so it means a lot."


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