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Royston new sponsors of Hawke’s Bay Cup 15 Mar 2018

Two close neighbours have joined forces to boost one of the most iconic races on the Hawke’s Bay racing calendar.

   Royston Hospital, which is situated alongside Hawke’s Bay Racing’s headquarters at the Hastings racecourse, will be the new sponsor of this year’s Listed $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Cup.

   The time-honoured feature event will be known as the Royston Hospital Hawke’s Bay Cup and will be run over 2200m at Hastings on April 14.

   Royston Hospital’s links with the Hawke’s Bay racecourse date back to 1931 when the hospital, then located in Avenue Road, was severely damaged by the earthquake.

   Scores of injured flocked to Royston Hospital for medical treatment but, as the building was deemed unsafe, volunteer drivers transported patients and those injured in the quake over broken streets to the racecourse where the disused jockey’s tea kiosk was converted into a make-shift Royston Hospital.

   It was used as a disaster relief centre for some time after the quake until the Royston Hospital was re-established on its current site in Prospect Road, alongside the Hastings racecourse.

   “This community minded spirit has continued with Hawke’s Bay Racing for nearly 90 years and we are delighted to be supporting our neighbour in this prestigious event on their racing calendar,” said Denise Powell, general manager of Royston Hospital.

   Hawke’s Bay Racing’s chief executive Andrew Castles said he has wanted to increase the profile of the Hawke’s Bay Cup and the race day in general and, by having an iconic Hawke’s Bay identity involved, will certainly help in this regard.

   “The two organisations have a long lasting association of working together,” Castles said.

   “With Royston agreeing to take up the naming rights of what is one of the most prestigious races on the Hawke’s Bay racing calendar it will only serve to further strengthen that association.”

   Royston Hospital is owned by the Australian company Evolution Health and the managing director, Ben Thynne, and his wife will be special guests of Hawke’s Bay Racing on Cup day.

   The Hawke’s Bay Cup was once rated the most important race run on the Hastings track, before the introduction of the spring carnival with its three Group 1 events.

   Some of New Zealand’s best gallopers have won the Cup in the past, including Hi-Jinx, who took out the 1960 running before crossing the Tasman to take out that year’s Melbourne Cup.

   Glengowan won the Hawke’s Bay Cup in 1972 and finished a close second in the following year’s Melbourne Cup while Fury’s Order was successful in 1974 and went on to win a Cox Plate.

   Mr Brooker won the Hawke’s Bay Cup in 1990 and finished third in that year’s Melbourne Cup while Surfer’s Paradise won in 1993 and went on to win a Cox Plate.

   Chenille won the Hawke’s Bay Cup two years ago and 11 months later she took out the Group 1 Auckland Cup while last year’s winner Five To Midnight went down by a nose when second in last Saturday’s Auckland Cup.

   This year’s Hawke’s Bay Cup is expected to draw a strong field of progressive stayers, with the Hastings-trained Hunta Pence rated one of the main chances.

   The No Excuse Needed five-year-old, prepared by Patrick Campbell, has recorded five wins from only 24 starts and was an impressive last start winner over 2100m at Hastings on March 1.


Onawing flies with blinkers

   The addition of blinkers brought about a significant form reversal by Onawing, a horse part-owned by Hastings couple John and Greta Flynn, at Trentham last Saturday.

   The Mastercraftsman mare was having her fourth race start when contesting a 2100m maiden event. She finished fourth on debut over 1600m at Wanganui in January but then only managed a seventh over 1600m at Hastings on February 1 and was last of 10 runners over 2100m at Hastings on February 24.

   The Flynn’s took up an 11 per cent share in the horse after her second start but were disillusioned with the horse’s poor performance last start performance, as was the horse’s Awapuni trainer Jeff Lynds.

   “Jeff thought the horse would go alright at Hastings last start and he was at a loss to explain her poor performance that day,” Flynn said this week.

   “He decided to put blinkers on her at Trentham last Saturday and they obviously worked the oracle.”

   Onawing drew the outside barrier in an eight horse field and apprentice jockey Holly Andrew settled her back second last in the early running. She then improved her position coming to the home bend before angling for a rails run early in the home straight.

   Onawing surged through an inside gap and quickly put a break on the field before hanging on to win by three-quarters of a length.

   Onawing is by Mastercraftsman out of the Thorn Park mare Hymn For Her and traces back to the very good racemare Oncide.

   “She is a horse that has just need a bit of time and blinkers on,” Flynn added.

   The Flynns have raced a number of other horses in the past and also have a share in Thien Ly, another horse trained by Jeff Lynds who finished ninth out of 10 in a Rating 75 race over 1200m at Trentham last Saturday.


Waipukurau races Thursday

   The Waipukurau Jockey Club will stage its most important race day of the year next Thursday with the running of the $20,000 Best Travel Waipukurau Cup being the feature event on the eight race programme.

   The 2100m race has been won by some of New Zealand’s top open handicap gallopers in the past with Rose And Thistle taking out the 1983 running and then going on to finish fourth in the following year’s Melbourne Cup.

   Exocet won the race in 1985 and went on to win the New Zealand Cup in 1989 while Marlon was successful in 1986 and then went on to win a Brisbane Cup.

   Von Trapp won the Waipukurau Cup in 1991 and took out the Hawke’s Bay Cup the following month at odds of 50 to one.

    There will be free admission to next Thursday’s Waipukurau meeting, with the first race timed to start at 1pm.


Walker to ride Kiwi filly

   In-form expatriate New Zealand jockey Michael Walker will partner the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs-trained Danzdanzdance in Sydney.

   He has been engaged to ride the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) placegetter in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 and in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick a fortnight later.

   Walker rode the 20th Group 1 winner of his career when he guided Harlem to an upset victory in Saturday’s Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington. He then took out Monday’s Group 2 Adelaide Cup aboard the former New Zealand-trained Fanatic.


Bonneval recovering well

   New Zealand Horse of the Year, Bonneval, is making an encouraging recovery from a career-threatening leg injury.

   Co-trainer Andrew Forsman has given a positive update as the multiple Group 1 winner deals with a suspensory ligament issue.

   The winner of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) last year, Bonneval was being prepared for another offshore autumn campaign when she suffered the setback.

   Forsman, who trains with leading New Zealand horseman Murray Baker, is upbeat after the four-year-old most recent scan.

   "We had another scan done 10 days after the initial scan and things look fairly positive at this stage," Forsman said.

   "She'll have a good break and hopefully all going well and we can get her back to the track in the spring."

   Bonneval has won seven of her 12 starts and earned prizemoney of $1.6 million.

   As well as the Oaks in Sydney, Bonneval won the New Zealand fillies Classic and returned to Australia as a spring four-year-old to win the Group One Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.


Julius taking a break

   Exciting sprinter Julius won’t be seen in action again this season with trainer John Bell deciding to turn the big Swiss Ace gelding out for a winter spell.

   “We’ve turned him out as there’s nothing left for him and we’ll concentrate on next season,” he said.

   A patiently-handled six-year-old, Julius has won six of his 10 starts and is yet to finish out of the placings and was an ultra-impressive last-start winner of the Group 3 Darley Stallions Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie.

   “He’s in a beautiful grass paddock on rolling country so he won’t put on too much condition. He’s a very, very big horse and you have to be careful with him, but he has Group 1 talent,” Bell said.


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Campbell eyeing elusive HB Cup success 7 Mar 2018

   Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell has come within an ace of winning the Hawke’s Bay Cup three times in the past and he could finally go one better in next month’s feature event.

   Campbell is aiming his promising stayer Hunta Pence for the 2200m event on April 14 after the five-year-old brought up his fifth win when taking out a $25,000 Rating 75 race over 2100m at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   Campbell has recorded three second placings in the Hawke’s Bay Cup in the past so he would dearly love to win what is one of the most iconic races run on his home track.

   The first of his second placings came back in 1979 when Tarlton, bred and part-owned by his father Felix Campbell and ridden by his then stable apprentice Jim Cassidy, went down by only a short head behind the Noel Eales-trained Lone Hand, ridden by Des Harris.

   Nine years later Campbell again had to settle for a close second when his charge Lagerfeld, ridden by David Walsh, went down by a neck behind the Laurie Laxon-trained Finezza Belle, who was steered to victory by Tony Allan.

   Campbell thought he finally had the horse to give him a Hawke’s Bay Cup victory in 1993 when he saddled up the talented stayer Val d’Arno, with Phillip Mercer aboard. But he was again denied success when the Dave and Paul O’Sullivan-trained Surfers Paradise, ridden by Jim Walker, got up to beat him by a length.

   Campbell has actually tried to win the Hawke’s Bay Cup six times. He also picked up a third placing with Royal Jazz in 2010, while Acraman finished 15th in 1980 and Claymore Boy ninth in 1984.

   It would be fitting if Hunta Pence could win next month’s Hawke’s Bay Cup as the horse is not only trained by Campbell but is also part-owned by him in partnership with Wellington’s Luke Walding.

   Campbell bought the horse privately from the horse’s owner-breeder Butch Thomas after he had one start for a fifth and he has since prepared him for four wins, two seconds, two thirds and four fourths.

   Hunta Pence gave every indication that he will run out a strong 2200m in the Hawke’s Bay Cup when scoring a decisive neck win over 2100m on Thursday of last week. Aided by a great ride by jockey Leith Innes, the No Excuse Needed gelding, was given the perfect trail until the home turn before being angled out into the open inside the last 300 metres. He produced a powerful finish to win by a neck from Porcelain Princess, with 2-1/4 lengths back to third placed Hoist.

   Campbell said Hunta Pence will need another run before the Hawke’s Bay Cup and the horse will probably contest an open 2050m race at Tauherenikau on March 25.

   “It looks like he has probably done enough to get into the Hawke’s Bay Cup at this stage but he’ll need another run so if he can go to Tauherenikau and then run in the Cup,” Campbell said.

   Campbell lined up two horses in last week’s Rating 75 2100m race at Hastings and was also pleased by the performance by Lady Guinness in finishing fourth.

   The Falkirk mare was having his first middle distance start following a last start win in the Poverty Bay Cup (1600m) on February 18. Carrying topweight of 59kg she set the pace and fought on gamely to finish less than 2-1/2 lengths behind Hunta Pence.

   “It was a great run and she can now go to the Waipukurau Cup on March 22,” Campbell said.

   Campbell will need to find a replacement rider for Lady Guinness at Waipukurau. Top apprentice Sam Weatherley, who has been aboard the four-year-old in her last two starts, will be serving a suspension from the close of racing tomorrow until the close of racing on March 23.


Mare on best behaviour

   Perseverance paid off when Hastings-trained Kaipawe took out the Rating 65 race over 1600m at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Thursday of last week.

   The Prince Conti mare was recording her second win from only five starts but has been a problem horse, on several occasions, for trainers Sue Thompson and Mick Brown.

   Kaipawe was a late scratching from a Rating 65 race at Hastings on New Year’s Day when she refused to go to the start, rearing up and dropping rider Lynsey Satherley as she left the birdcage and went out on to the racetrack. Stipendiary stewards warned the horse’s connections that her manners would need to improve before she races again.

   Thompson and Brown then hatched a plan to get the horse out on to the track safely. At Hastings trackwork mornings they had her led off the horse that is ridden by the clerk of the course on race days, going from the back parade ring through the birdcage and on to the track.

   They also put ear muffs on Kaipawe, which blocked out a lot of the crowd and speaker noise that seemed to set the mare off.

   The regular practice certainly worked as Kaipawe, with jockey Jonathan Riddell aboard, was led to the 1600m barrier last week without a problem.

   Kaipawe began quickly from an outside draw and Riddell had her positioned outside the leader Makamojito at the end of the first 300m. He then pushed on to take a clear lead entering the last 800 metres and Kaipawe had a handy break on her rivals rounding the home bend.

   She then wanted to run around over the final stages but a vigorous ride from Riddell managed to get the best out of the mare and she held on to win by three-quarters of a length.

   Kaipawe is owned by her Hawke’s Bay breeders Megan Harvey and Sam Nelson and is out of the Fiesta Star mare Meander. Both of her wins have come on her home track, the first being in a 1300m maiden race back in December.

   She is now likely to contest a Rating 75 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau on March 25.


Wait A Sec out with injury

   A tendon injury has ended an outstanding season for Hastings-trained Wait A Sec.

   “He’s got a slight strain on the outside of his tendon,” said Grant Cullen, who trains the Group 1 winner with Guy Lowry. “We’ve put him aside and hopefully we can have him back racing in the spring.”

   A last-start success in the Wairoa Cup (2100m) had boosted the confidence in Wait A Sec’s Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) hopes before he suffered the injury.

   “He sure was going the right way, but that’s the way it goes and he’s done a great job for us,” Cullen said.

   Wait A Sec won five races this season, including the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on his home track in October and the Group 3 Anniversary (1600m) at Trentham in January.


Allpress back in business

   Two-time jockeys’ premiership winner Lisa Allpress is closing in on a return to riding.

   She has been side-lined since suffering shoulder injuries in a jump-out fall at Hawera last October, but has now received a medical clearance to resume.

   “The doctor said it’s time to start riding so I’ve been to the Wanganui track,” Allpress said.

   “The most terrifying thing was thinking it could have been career-ending and the fact that it was both arms injured, but I’m really excited now and I’m feeling good.

   “I’m just looking to get my strength back up, my fitness and weight are pretty good. I’ve been doing a lot of running and bike riding.”

   Allpress is planning to make her long-awaited race return later this month.

   “I’ve missed out on some good rides so I’m absolutely chomping at the bit,” she said.

   Known for her tireless work ethic, Allpress first won the national jockeys’ premiership in 2012 when she rode 159 winners and added a second title in 2016 with a tally of 171.


Johnson opts for Savvy Coup in Oaks

   Chris Johnson is pinning his Group 1 New Zealand Oaks hopes on Savvy Coup.

   The champion jockey’s agent John Tannahill has confirmed he will ride the Michael and Matthew Pitman-trained filly in the classic tomorrow week.

   Johnson rode the daughter of Savabeel to a last-start victory in the Group 3 Lowland Stakes at Hastings and a performance that has her as the current $3.50 favourite for the Trentham feature.

   The 53-year-old jockey also had the option of riding Contessa Vanessa after he won the Group 3 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) on the Bullbars filly at Ellerslie on Saturday, but has opted to continue his association with Savvy Coup.


Drainage work at Otaki

   Remedial drainage work at the Otaki racetrack means that three meetings scheduled for Otaki in April and May are likely to be transferred to other tracks.
   The meetings are scheduled for Thursday April 12, Thursday May 3 and Thursday May 17. NZTR will announce new venues for these meetings once arrangements are confirmed.
   The Otaki-Maori Racing Club has commissioned new drainage that will be trenched and laid at 5m intervals across the track from the 800m mark back to the 1500m mark.

   Once the new drainage is completed, the track will be monitored by the club and NZTR to determine when horses can return to work on the course proper, while jumpouts and trials will be conducted before a return to racing.

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Hastings stable enjoys great time on the Coast 2 Mar 2018

   It is amazing what a week away and a change of environment can do to racehorses and this was evidenced by the results the Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen achieved on East Coast racetracks last week.

   The Lowry/Cullen stable sent a team of horses north for the Poverty Bay meeting at Gisborne on February 18 and the two day Wairoa meeting on February 22 and February 25 and picked up stakemoney from two wins, two seconds, two fourths and three fifths over the three days of racing.

   Cullen and his partner Nikki Lourie took the initial float load up to Gisborne but then based themselves on course at Wairoa for the remainder of the stay. Lowry then took another team up for the first day of the Wairoa meeting and brought some of the Gisborne runners home. He also took the stable’s probationary apprentice Hunter Durrant up so that he could stay and ride those based at Wairoa in trackwork leading up to the second day.

   The results the stable achieved seemed to get better as the week went on. After a fourth by Real Beach and fifths by Saint Kitt and Tuigold at Gisborne they then produced Silhouette Beauty to finish fourth and Pakapunch fifth on the first day at Wairoa.

   The stable then hit their straps on the second day at Wairoa when Wait A Sec and Saint Kitt took out the quinella in the $30,000 Affco NZ Wairoa Cup and Tuigold won a $10,000 maiden race over 1450m.

   The Lowry/Cullen stable went desperately close to snaring a third win on the day with Real Beach only going down by a short head when second in a $10,000 Rating 65 race over 2100m.

   “The whole week was a great team effort,” Guy Lowry said this week.

   “To have the horses stabled on course up there at Wairoa was great for them and they seemed to thrive on it.”

   Wait A Sec, winner of the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings in October, is one horse that seemed right at home in the peaceful surroundings of the Wairoa racecourse.

   The Postponed seven-year-old was coming off a last start eighth in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 10, where he was unsuited by a very wet track. He worked strongly in an exhibition gallop between races on the first day of the Wairoa meeting and then produced a herculean performance to get up and snatch a last stride win in the cup on the second day, when carrying 61kg.

   “We wanted to give him (Wait A Sec) another run before the Auckland Cup but we really didn’t think he could win on that track, carrying that weight,” Lowry said.

   “It just shows what class can do.”

   Wait A Sec was slow out of the gates in the Wairoa Cup but rider Johnathan Parkes was able to get the horse up into a midfield position going down the back straight. He then sent him forward from about the 600m peg to have him with striking distance of the leaders on the home turn.

  His stablemate Saint Kitt had swept to the lead rounding the home turn and looked set to give jockey Tony Allan his 1000th New Zealand winner when two lengths clear inside the last 200 metres. But then Wait A Sec started to really dig in and he gathered the leader in stride by stride to nose him out right on the line.

   Saint Kitt was game in defeat and showed his first glimpse of form since he finished first and second in two starts at Riccarton in the autumn of last year.

   Lowry said the Keeper eight-year-old had been struggling with his breathing in recent races and the addition of a tongue-tie helped him breathe better.

   It was Wait A Sec’s 13th career victory with eight of those wins coming from his last 12 starts. He will now head to the Group 1 $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) tomorrow week where he is listed as a $12 chance on the TAB Fixed Odds market.

   Savvy Dreams, another from the Lowry/Cullen stable, will accompany Wait A Sec on the trip north where she will contest the Group 1 $200,000 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

   The Savabeel mare turned in a creditable performance for seventh in last Saturday’s Group 1 Haunui Weight-for-age Classic (1600m) at Hastings, when unsuited by the 1600m distance and the overall pace of the race.

   Jockey Masa Tanaka did a great job to get the mare across from a wide draw to settle midfield in the early stages but then got shuffled back when the pace slackened.

   Savvy Dreams was then left flat-footed when the pace quickened again coming to the home bend but she was steadily making ground over the final stages and recorded the equal third fastest last 600m time in the race.

   Guy Lowry said the 2000m distance of next week’s Ellerslie feature will suit the mare much better but he added that, if the track became rain affected, she would be scratched and turned out for a spell.

   “Whatever happens this will be her last run this campaign and she can then have a break.

   “I think the best will be seen of her next year when she is a five-year-old,” he added. 


Cheers for Tuigold

   The Hawke’s Bay owners of Tuigold had good reason to celebrate after the three-year-old won at odds of seven to one at Wairoa last Sunday.

   The Any Suggestion three-year-old was having only his sixth start and was at remarkably good odds considering he had chalked up a second, a third and a fifth from five previous runs. He had needed the run when a close fifth over 1400m at Gisborne a week before, in his first race for a month.

   The country’s leading jockey Samantha Collett bounced Tuigold away quickly in the 1450m event and got him into a perfect trailing position. She then angled him away from the fence to lodge a challenge rounding the home turn and the horse showed great determination over the final stages to stretch his neck out and score by a long head.

   Tuigold is prepared by the Hastings partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen. He is raced by his Havelock North co-breeder John Best in partnership with Clive-based Steve Wyman and Dave Lumsden (Taradale).

   Best and Dave Lumsden’s brother Bruce bred the horse out of the Kaaptive Edition mare Miss Tui, who recorded four wins, three seconds and three thirds from 26 starts.


Close to a double

   Napier racehorse owner Paddy Murphy came close to picking up two wins in the space of 24 hours last week.

   Murphy has a racing share in Petite Midas, who broke through for a deserved maiden win at Riccarton last Friday and he is also a part-owner in Ballybay, who only went down by a neck when second in a $30,000 Rating 85 race over 1200m at Hastings on Saturday.

   Petite Midas had recorded four seconds and a third from her previous 21 starts, when prepared by Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta. It was decided to transfer the mare to a South Island stable, where the competition is slightly weaker, and she was having her second start for Riccarton-based Andrew Carston.

   Apprentice Rafi Firdaus claimed a 2kg allowance aboard the mare last Friday and positioned her midfield in the early stages before setting out after the leaders starting the last 300 metres. She gradually wore down the favourite Miss Brahmos and got up on the line to win by half a head.

   Petite Midas is an Australian-bred five-year-old, by Congrats out of the Flying Spur mare Miss Midas.


Weather to decide next start                                                                                                

   The weather will have the final say on the immediate future of Devise, game winner of last Saturday’s Group 1 Haunui Farm Weight-for-age Classic (1600m) at Hastings.

   “There are two options for her,” trainer Shaune Ritchie said.

   “She still holds a nomination for the Australian Cup at Flemington and that is on the same day as the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie,” he added.

   “Her training regime will be exactly the same wherever we go. The worry is a wet track at Ellerslie and Flemington dries extremely well so we would have no concerns there.

   “She’s already climbed the biggest mountain here with that Group 1 win so it would be interesting to see where she sits over in Australia, she’s got a bit of form around Bonneval.

   Devise had finished runner-up to Bonneval in last season’s New Zealand Oaks (2400m) in her only previous Group 1 outing before breaking through last Saturday.


Werther now sidelined

   Former New Zealand-trained galloper Werther will be sidelined for the mandatory three months after bleeding from both nostrils when finishing runner-up to Time Warp in last Sunday’s Group 1Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).

   “It’s a shame because he had already headed Time Warp and Hugh thought, when he really went for him, that Werther would give him at least another half a length,” trainer John Moore said.

   “We’ll get him back again, but there won’t be races for him at that stage of this season.”

   A son of Tavistock, Werther had been on target for next month’s Dubai World Cup meeting where he held entries for the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) and the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m).

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