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HB Racing Column 26 May 2017

Keen HB thoroughbred owner-breeder now on national body

(By John Jenkins)

Chris Russell, a successful Hawke’s Bay businessman and a passionate owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, has been appointed the Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay member on the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Russell takes over from the formerly Hawke’s Bay-based Jo Griffin, who has moved to Australia with husband Greg to start a new thoroughbred breeding business there.

Chris Russell has been a member of the Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay branch of New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders for many years and has also held a position on committee.

He has been a racehorse owner for 25 years with the first horse he and brother Ken raced being Miss Virginia, who won two races back in January of 1992.

“I’ve probably been breeding horses for about the same amount of time as I’ve raced them,” Russell said this week.

“My brothers Roger and Howard had a share in the stallion Virginia Privateer, who stood here in Hawke’s Bay, and my brother Ken and I got interested from there as Miss Virginia was by Virginia Privateer.”

 Roger Russell, who is now deceased, and his brother Howard owned an Australian-bred mare called Jazz Concert, who left the unraced mare Johnny Loves Jazz. She turned out to be the foundation mare for a large number of horses Chris and Ken Russell have bred and raced in the ensuing years.

The best horses Chris and Ken Russell have been involved in the breeding of have been Native Jazz and Pentamerous.

Native Jazz was by St Hilarion out of Johnny Loves Jazz and won seven races including the Group 2 Craiglee Stakes in Australia. He also finished second in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup.

Pentamerous was by Pentire out of Johnny Loves Jazz and, although she was the winner of only one race, she left the seven race winner Shoot Out, whose victories included the Group 1 Australian Derby and Group 1 Randwick Guineas.

Chris and his family now own a 45 acre property in Valley Road, Hawke’s Bay, where they currently have 20 horses, which include broodmares and young horses. He will also stand the stallion O’Reilly’s Choice on the property in the coming breeding season.

“O’Reilly’s Choice is by O’Reilly out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Dorotea Dior and was the winner of one race from only nine starts. 

Chris Russell has had experience at serving on a national body through the business he and brother Ken built up known as Russell Roads. He was a member of the New Zealand Contractors Federation for many years and also served as chairman of that organisation.

“I have served on a national body so I think I know what is required when it comes to the position I’m going into,” Russell said.

   “I met with the Chief Executive of  New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders, Michael Martin, and the president a couple of weeks ago and we had a good talk about the way the breeding industry is going.

“The industry has obviously struggled, especially the smaller breeders like ourselves, and  I’ll be looking to see how we can improve the position of the smaller breeder,” Russell said.

   He added that he can understand the need for big studs to make a good return on their investment, given the millions of dollars it costs to buy and stand a stallion at stud, but it should have a filtering down effect.

“If we want to get back to the heights of the past years we also need to look after all thoroughbred breeders because you never know where a top horse will come from.”

Wanganui Cup start next

Hastings owned and trained Wait A Sec earned a probable start in the Listed $50,000 Wanganui Cup on June 3 with another top winning performance in a $22,500 Rating 75 race over 1550m at Awapuni last Saturday.

It was the Postponed six-year-old’s sixth win from 35 starts and his second one this campaign, following an easy 3-1/2 length victory over 2500m at Hastings on April 15.

Wait A Sec is in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable and it was a good training feat to get the horse to successfully drop back in distance. The horse was a shade slow to begin and jockey Johnathan Parkes let him settle at the tail of field in the early stages. They were still back third last coming to the home bend but, while the rest of the field fanned on the corner, Parkes stuck to the inside and got a great run through to quickly join the leaders.

Wait A Sec shot clear early in the home straight and had plenty in reserve to hold out the challengers by three-quarters of a length.

Wait A Sec is owned by his Hastings co-breeder Ian Henderson in partnership with his Perth-based son Paul.       

Pacorus proving a gold mine

Pacorus, a horse that cost Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison just $15,000 at the 2013 Karaka yearling sales, is fast turning into a great money spinner for them and the other owners of the horse.

The Tavistock five-year-old took his stake earnings to more than $193,000 with a decisive 2-1/4 length win in last Sunday’s Group 3 $75,000 Rotorua Cup.

After the Morisons purchased Pacorus they asked Cambridge trainer Chris Wood if he could arrange other people to help them race the horse and Wood brought in eight other stable clients.

Pacorus has proved to be a model of consistency with eight wins, two seconds and four thirds from only 28 starts. He won five races in the space of six starts between last winter and spring but his form then dropped away when he resumed racing earlier this year.

“He just hadn’t been right so I had the chiropractor come in and look at him,” explained Wood after the horse’s return to form last Sunday.

“She found a niggle in his back so she worked on him and he has come right so I was happy leading into the race. He was coming in fresh but he’s a clean-winded horse so that didn’t worry me.

“He also got a track that suited him so it all played in his favour. He doesn’t want it bottomless but when it races like it did today (heavy-11) then he is going to be right in the fight.”

Wood said he now has two options for the horse tomorrow week, either the $50,000 Wanganui Cup (2040m) or the $40,000 Cornwall Handicap (2200m) at Ellerslie.

HB-born jumps’ jockeys dominate

Hawke’s Bay-born jumps jockeys Shaun Fannin and Aaron Kuru captured three of the four major jumping races in New Zealand last weekend.

 Fannin, 21, combined with premier jumps trainer Kevin Myers to win all three steeplechase races at Te Rapa on Saturday and Riverton on Sunday while 25-year-old Kuru took out the feature hurdle event at Riverton.

   Fannin ventured to Riverton to partner the Myers-trained Crash Bandicoot to victory in the 111th running of the DT Kings Transport Great Western Steeplechase on Sunday. The previous day the pair combined to land the Warren Storm Lifebrokers Waikato Steeplechase with The Big Opal and the Neil Treweek Steeplechase with Highly Likely.

Fannin said he was honoured to have won the iconic Great Western for the second year in a row, after success aboard the Kelly Thompson-trained Cecil last year.

"People come from miles to attend and it is not always the best weather but they're in their winter woollies and having a great time," Fannin said.
"There are some fantastic names on the honour board that have won the race previously and to have my name up there is a great privilege.

The Big Opal was the seventh Waikato Steeplechase winner trained by Myers, who has also won the Waikato Hurdles four times.
Broadway Lad, in 1997, was the stable’s first Waikato Steeplechase winner and Our Jonty won the following year, before Rioch (2013), Palemo (2014), Sea King (2015 & 2016) and The Big Opal extended Myers’ dominance. No other trainer has won the race more than three times.

Fannin’s winning treble last weekend took his career tally of wins to 51 while Kuru brought up his 52nd success when he steered Gold Leaf to victory in the Great Western Hurdle at Sunday’s Riverton meeting.

Both jockeys began their careers in Hastings, with Fannin originally attached to the stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen before transferring to Myers in Wanganui. Kuru first learnt to ride when based with Patrick Campbell before working for a time for fellow Hastings trainer John Bary. He is now based in Cambridge.

Johnson focussed in title quest

Chris Johnson is prepared to go the extra mile in his quest for a second national jockeys’ premiership.

The veteran South Island rider won the title with 139 winners in 1995-96 season and a treble at Rotorua on Sunday took him to 84 for this term, five behind pacemaker Danielle Johnson.

“Depending how things go, he might even go back to hurdle racing,” his manager John Tannahill said.

Johnson, 53, hasn’t ridden over fences for a while, but he has an outstanding record.

 “It would be three or four years since he rode over the jumps,” Tannahill said.

 “He’s ridden 55 winners over hurdles from about 260 rides, but he’s only had one steeplechase ride and fell at the first fence.”

Johnson’s jumping CV features wins in the Great Northern, Grand National and Wellington Hurdles

 

Chris Russell...new board member of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Hastings owned and trained Wait A Sec and jockey Johnathan Parkes stave off the challengers to score a three-quarter length win in a Rating 75 race over 1550m at Awapuni last Saturday.

 

Hastings-born jumps jockeys Shaun Fannin and Aaron Kuru won fourjumping races between them on New Zealand racetracks last weekend.

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HB Racing Column 19 May 2017

Six of the best by Hastings trainers at local meeting

Hastings trainers had a field day at their local race meeting on Thursday of last week, producing six of the nine winners at the annual Hawke’s Bay Fruitfed Supplies raceday.

Paul Nelson, a renowned trainer of high class jumpers, produced the winners of the two hurdle races in Rocky and Ooee; the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen partnership also had a brace of wins with Pakapunch and Worldclass; while Patrick Campbell (Hunta Pence) and John Bary (Moscow Mistress) also picked up a win each.

Nelson’s double success was a welcome change of luck for both him and his wife Carol as they lost one of their best performers of recent times, San Pedro, when the horse died suddenly at their Air Hill Station a couple of weeks ago.

Nelson said San Pedro had just completed a workout on the property’s famous hill climb when he collapsed. The horse had shown no sign of distress beforehand but Nelson said he did suffer a bad bout of travel sickness when taken south for the Grand National meeting at Christchurch, in August last year, and has since been told that can have a lasting effect on horses.

San Pedro had a record of 10 wins, 6 seconds and 8 thirds from his 62 starts. Seven of his victories were on the flat, the most recent being over 2200m at Woodville in April last year. He had also shown good promise as a jumper, with his nine hurdle starts resulting in 3 wins, two seconds and a third.

The Nelson-trained Rocky disputed the pace in the 2500m maiden hurdle at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting and really attacked his fences in the early stages. He was taken on by Cullister with 1000 metres to run but shrugged off that challenge coming to the last fence and surged clear soon after to win by 3 lengths.

It was a Paul Nelson-trained quinella with Rocky’s stablemate No Change running past Cullister in the final stages to get second place by 3-3/4 lengths.

Rocky is a seven-year-old gelding by Danroad out of Sugar Bee and was bred by Hawke’s Bay couple John and Lucy Scoular. They are members of the I See Red Syndicate that race Rocky and several other horses from the Nelson stable.

Ooee showed plenty of potential as a hurdler last winter and he looks in for another successful campaign judging by his dominant win in the Restricted Open Hurdle (2500m).

The Ruff Nipper seven-year-old settled perfectly in the trail for jockey Aaron Kuru before jumping his way to the front at the third to last fence. They were always clear of the opposition after that and Ooee’s winning margin was 2-1/2 lengths from Wiggle, with another 2-1/2 lengths back to third placed Yipson. 

Ooee is owned by Nelson and his wife Carol and is now the winner of five races, two on the flat and three over hurdles. He finished second in last year’s Hawke’s Bay Hurdles and is a likely starter in tomorrow’s $50,000 Waikato Hurdles at Te Rapa.

The horse’s little known sire, Ruff Nipper, is a son of Pentire and stands at stud in the Waikato. The Nelsons bought Ooee for $2000 from a South Island Mixed Bloodstock sale in August 2011 and he has now won them more than $60,000 in stakemoney.

 

Winter break for Hunta Pence

 Hunta Pence has earned a winter spell following his success in the Rating 65 race over 2100m on his home track last week.

Trainer Patrick Campbell said the No Excuse Needed four-year-old has shown a dislike for rain affected tracks in the past so he will now be given a break and brought back again in the spring.

The horse started favourite for the Ballance Agri-Nutrients 2100 but his supporters had some anxious moments when the horse, who had been positioned midfield on the fence by rider Chris Johnson, got shuffled back to second last inside the last 600 metres.

Fortunately the field fanned out on the point of the home turn and Johnson was able to pick a path between horses.

Hunta Pence still had several lengths to make up on the leaders with 300 metres to run but showed great acceleration to get up and score by half a length from Tiffany’s, with 3-1/2 lengths back to third placed Zcastle.

Hunta Pence has now won three of his 16 starts and has also picked up a second, a third and two fourths. Campbell owns the gelding in partnership with Wellington’s Luke Walding after they bought the horse in a private sale off his then Hastings-based owner-breeder Butch Thomas.

Patrick Campbell only trains a small team nowadays and intends spelling his entire team over the winter while he takes a holiday, following the Lions Rugby Tour in New Zealand. Scandalo and Lady Guinness, both impressive winners from the stable at Hastings on April 29, went out soon after those wins while Goodsav had been kept in work pending a possible start in a Rating 75 race over 1550m at Awapuni this Saturday but will also now be turned out.

“I kept her in hoping for a reasonably good track at Awapuni but that doesn’t look likely now so she can go out too. The only other horses I’ve got are a couple of young ones and they will also go out within the next couple of weeks,” Campbell said.

 

Samantha Collett at her best

Trainer Guy Lowry praised jockey Samantha Collett after she produced two excellent winning rides aboard stablemates Pakapunch and Worldclass at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

Collett produced a great front running ride to get Pakapunch home a narrow winner in the Rating 75 race over 1200m.

The Per Incanto mare has to be ridden on the pace to produce her best and Collett bounced her out quickly from the barrier to take a clear lead at the end of the first 200 metres. From then on she kept the horse rolling along at a steady clip before asking her to extend rounding the home bend.

Pakapunch had a 2 length advantage over her rivals inside the final 200 metres and, although she was starting to take short strides late, she managed to hold on for a nose victory over the fast finishing Malacanto.

It was Pakapunch’s third win from only 11 starts. She was bred by Tony Rider, who owns the Pak N Save supermarket in Cambridge and is a member of the Pak N Save Syndicate that races the mare.

Lowry said Pakapunch is now likely to be turned out for a winter spell as she has shown a dislike to rain affected tracks.

“We were a bit worried the dead-5 track wouldn’t suit her today but she got away with it and it was a great ride from Samantha Collett,” Lowry said.

If Samantha Collett’s ride on Pakapunch was a good one her performance aboard Worldclass in the Rating 65 1400 was even better.

The Iffraaj mare drew wide in the 1400m event and Collett restrained her to the back for a start but then found herself caught three-wide, without cover, with her mount wanting to race too keenly.

Instead of fighting her mount Collett used her initiative to let Worldclass roll around the field to be in a challenging position on the home turn and the mare kept up a strong run to the line to win by a head from Royal Ruby, with O’Ceirins Choice a long neck back in third place.

Worldclass is owned by her Feilding-based breeder Mary Wilson and Lowry had a special thank-you for Porangahau-based Mary Darby, who had spent several weeks working the horse at her beach property to help prepare her for last Thursday’s race.

 

Win was a pleasant surprise

   Hastings-trained Moscow Princess recorded an impressive debut win at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting but the performance came as a bit of a shock for her connections.

   The Road To Rock filly scored a decisive 1-3/4 length win in a maiden 1400m event after doing a lot wrong during the race. She was last on settling and then wanted to over-race badly in the middle stages, with rider Chris Johnson having great difficulties trying to restrain her.

Moscow Princess had moved up to be within striking distance of the leaders on the home turn but many, including her connections, thought she had burnt up too much energy by going too keenly in the early stages.

However Johnson still had plenty of horse under him once the field straightened for the run home and Moscow Mistress maintained a strong finish to win by 1-3/4 lengths from Normandy, with Crafty Jess a long head back in third place.

Moscow Princess is prepared by Hastings trainer John Bary who races the horse in partnership with his racing manager Mike Sanders and long-time client Ivan Grieve.

The three men raced Miss Faberge, the dam of Moscow Mistress, and she won four races.

“Miss Faberge was a tough mare but was always a bit small but this filly looks to have a bit more size about her,” Sanders said.

“To be honest the win was a bit of a shock. She won a jumpout here the other week but I thought if she could finish in the top five I would be happy. And when she was pulling her block off going down the back straight I thought she was no hope.”

Rocky, ridden by Hastings-born jockey Aaron Kuru, puts in a magnificent leap on his way to winning the maiden hurdle race at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

Strapper Lisa Beacham looks well pleased as she leads Hunta Pence away following the gelding’s impressive win at Hastings last week.

 

Paul Nelson picked up a winning double with Rocky and Ooee.

 

Trainer Guy Lowry is interviewed by Radio Trackside presenter Bevan Sweeney following Pakapunch’s narrow win at Hastings last week.

 

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Hastings Trackwork 18 May 2017

Gilhoolie was the only horse to work at any speed in a very quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

 Working on the plough (soft), Gilhoolie ran an easy 1000 metres in 1:12.7, the last 600 in 44.5. The Guillotine gelding is entered for the $20,000 two-year-old race over 1200m at Awapuni on Saturday with Lisa Allpress booked to ride him.

 A large number of Hastings-trained horses have been turned out for a winter spell, including two winners from last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting in Hunta Pence and Pakapunch. Both horses have shown a dislike for rain affected tracks and will now have a break and return in the spring.

Scandalo and Lady Guinness, two other last start winners from the Patrick Campbell stable, are also now spelling while their stablemate Goodsav will be going out within the next week.

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