Bargain buy Benji (NZ) bags Group Three success

6 March 2023

Benji winning at Gloucester Park
Benji (NZ) (Highview Tommy) wins the G3 at Gloucester Park. Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Benji (NZ) (Highview Tommy) again showed he was one of the bargains of the 2020 National Yearling Sale when justifying his warm favouritism for the A$29,000 Group Three Chandon Four-Year-Old Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The four-year-old held out fellow NZB Standardbred graduate Street Hawk (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in the feature event which carried a stake almost ten-times his purchase price of just $3,000.

Benji was secured for that bargain sum by trainer-driver Kirstin Green who selected the pacer out of the Rosedale Farm draft at the 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch.

Benji was bred and offered by Hazel Van Opzeeland.

Green developed the horse and produced him to win in New Zealand before selling him to clients of West Australian trainer Nathan Turvey.

The trainer admitted she didn’t plan to buy Benji at the National Yearling Sales in Christchurch, but once she saw him in the sales ring she was keen to put her hand up to bid.

“I hadn’t seen him before the sales but we were sitting there and when I saw him I thought he was a nice type.”
“When he was only at $3000 I thought I would put my hand up.”

Benji has been an outstanding performer since crossing the Tasman, winning 10 of his 15 starts and placing in four others for trainer Nathan Turvey.

The pacer took his game to a new level on Friday night when breaking through for stakes race success courtesy of a front-running drive from Gary Hall Jnr.

The reinsman held the lead with Benji from barrier 1 and from there, the pair never gave their rivals a look in.

Benji went on to score by more than three metres, with Street Hawk running on well in a meritorious second placing.

Street Hawk was also sourced from the 2020 National Yearling Sales at Karaka, out of Woodlands Stud’s draft for $45,000 by trainer Regan Todd.