New Zealand gelding Okanagan could be the next star on the horizon for Vinery sire Testa Rossa.

The three year-old impressed co-trainer Andrew Forsman and jockey Opie Bosson after he overcame difficulties to score a three-length victory on debut at Te Aroha on Wednesday.

Okanagan (3g Testa Rossa – Inniskillen by Centaine) is a homebred for Sir Peter Vela and was classes above a midweek maiden carrying his owner’s famous blue and white silks. “It’s a pleasure to train a winner for Sir Peter and he’s a lovely horse with a beautiful nature,” Forsman said. “We thought he would be too good even though 1200 metres was too short.”

The winner started in the red after a Matamata trial win last week but favourite punters would have been concerned when he missed the start. “He jumped in the air and the saddle slipped back a foot,” Bosson said. “But he mustered speed to lead and did it all himself, really. He wasn’t pressured and there’s plenty more to come.”

Testa Rossa got him from a winning half-sister to 2008 NZB Filly of the Year Insouciant (Keeper) who won the G1 NZ One Thousand Guineas in those same blue and white colours. Dorabella (Postponed) is another close relation with a NZ One Thousand Guineas to her credit in 2006.