Wainui gave his side the lead for good after a topsy-turvy encounter on the scoreboard even though the home side had dominated much of the possession and territory.Fullback Solomon Alaimalo and hooker Nathan Harris had scored either side of half time to give the home side a 20-7 lead only for the visitors to come storming back with tries to Tevita Li and Sio Tomkinson and take a two-point lead with about 20 minutes remaining.The Highlanders, who lost first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga early in the match with what appeared to be a serious Achilles injury, had scored the match’s first try through All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo.The Highlanders had held a 7-6 lead after a scrappy first half before fullback Alaimalo crossed after a sustained build-up and brilliant leap, catch and pass in one movement by winger Toni Pulu following a cross kick.The Chiefs extended their 13-7 halftime advantage just four minutes into the second spell when hooker Harris was driven over to give the home side a 20-7 lead and looking like they could run away with the game.The visitors, however, managed to fight their way back into the game with winger Li put over by a brilliant wide pass from half-back Aaron Smith.While replacement first five-eighth Fletcher Smith missed the conversion he added his first penalty to get his side to 20-15 with a little over 20 minutes remaining.The visitors then surprisingly grabbed the lead when a Damian McKenzie clearing kick was charged down, brilliantly scooped up by hooker Ash Dixon and swung wide by Aaron Smith to Luke Whitelock who put replacement outside back Tomkinson over.The Chiefs, however, struck back with Wainui’s try in the left corner and the home side then stole two crucial lineout throws from the Highlanders in the final minutes to ensure they did not sneak a late win.
This year’s derby winner SEEKING MY DREAM, running as the 3-1 second favourite, turned in a ‘Horse of the Year’ performance at Caymanas Park yesterday to win the inaugural running of the rich Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile.Ridden by four-time champion jockey Omar Walker in the green and black chequered silks of Member of Parliament Derrick Smith, the classy 3-y-o colt from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta stormed through on the inside early in the straight to win by 2 1/4 lengths from the 2012 derby winner and two-time ‘Horse of the Year’ TYPEWRITER (9-2) with jockey Aaron Chatrie aboard, followed by the DaCosta-trained PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, the 2013 derby winner, finishing another two lengths away third.PERFECT NEIGHBOUR was the 2-1 favourite for the race which had a purse of $13.5 million, the largest ever offered for any race in the English-speaking Caribbean.With the winning owner receiving a record $6.5 million and purse money paid to the first 10 past the post, DaCosta, who is safely on course for a record 15th trainers’ title, not only saddled the winner and third horse PERFECT NEIGHBOUR with Robert Halledeen aboard, but fourth past the post ALI BABA (19-1) as well.BLISTERING EARLY PACEDaCosta, who saddled as many as six horses in the field, sent his speedy American 5-y-o gelding FORTUNEONEHUNDRED (74-1) to ensure a blistering early pace from the outside post position. He was joined by another fleet-footed American horse, UPPA TUNE (9-2), under champion jockey Dane Nelson and both had a prolonged duel for the lead in the backstretch, as SEEKING BY DREAM bided his time off the pace in fifth before starting his winning run on the inside approaching the 600-metre pole to win in a fast 1.36.2.Bred by Sherman Clachar and Norman Gordon, SEEKING MY DREAM, by Seeking The Glory out of the 2008 ‘Horse of the Year’ and Triple Crown winner Alsafra, has now won the two biggest races for the year to become the season’s leading stakes winner with $13.7 million.For owner Derrick Smith, it was part two of a dream come true. “My dream was always to win the derby. But having realised that back in June, I had to dream again and this time it came up big with the Diamond Mile,” said the former minister of national security, who was accompanied by his wife Karleen and their three sons, Derrick Jr, Jay and Duane.DaCosta said that following his close second to PHINEAS under topweight in the recent Coca Cola Invitational Mile, SEEKING MY DREAM had the conditions in his favour.”Walker rode a perfect race and I am happy with the outcome, in that Perfect Neighbour placed third and Ali Baba fourth,” he explained.Sales went through the roof with records falling all around. The Diamond Mile sold $2.5 million in win tickets alone and sales touched close to $70 million on 14 races.