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Dez’s win could earn a trip south 19 Jul 2018

Waipukurau galloper Dez is now almost guaranteed a start in next month’s Group 3 $100,000 Winter Cup at Riccarton should his connections take that path.

   Last Friday the Zed gelding was languishing in 28th position on the order of entry for the 1600m Canterbury feature but a gallant win in Saturday’s $40,000 Hanley Formula Whyte Handicap (1600m) at Trentham has seen him move up to 19th.

   The starting limit from the 1600m barrier at Riccarton is 18 and, given the usual number of horses that drop out before final acceptance time, he would almost certainly make the field.

   The horse’s trainer Simon Wilson, who also co-owns the horse, said after the Trentham win he wouldn’t be making an immediate decision on a trip to Riccarton. However it was clearly in his thinking.

   “We’ll just see what happens,” he said.

   “We’ll evaluate things over the next few days but we could possibly look that way.”

   Dez made up for an unlucky ninth over 1550m at Awapuni the previous Saturday when he scored a determined victory in last Saturday’s time-honoured Whyte Handicap. The six-year-old gelding was sent out a $4.20 second favourite behind Rosewood and landed some good bets when finishing strongly up against the inside rail for a long neck win.

   He proved a great pick up ride for senior jockey Darryl Bradley after Dylan Turner could not make the horse’s 54kg handicap.

   Wilson warned Bradley before he climbed aboard that Dez was not without his quirks, one of them being his tendency to switch off with about 600m to run.

   Bradley settled the six-year-old in third place and was ready when the horse suddenly felt under pressure coming to the home turn.

   “I was warned about him hitting a flat spot, so I knew what was going to happen,” he said.

   “When he did I was able to pick him up and get him going again.

   “He fought extremely well. This horse has done a good job.”

   The victory took Dez’s career record to four wins from just eight starts, with two of those victories having come in this campaign. He was sidelined for two and a half years with a tendon injury, hence the reason for his limited racing career.

   Wilson owns the gelding in partnership with two close friends, Sam Lennox (Waverley) and Paul Mitchell (Patea).


Another class jumper

   Hastings trainer Paul Nelson looks to have another potential jumping star in his stable in The Arabian Duke.

   The seven-year-old Bachelor Duke gelding, placed in three of nine hurdle starts, made an impressive winning debut over the bigger fences in last Saturday’s maiden steeplechase at Trentham.

   The Arabian Duke scored a dominant 6-1/4 length win in the 4000m event aided by another outstanding ride by jockey Aaron Kuru.

   The 26-year-old rides the figure-eight steeplechase course at Trentham better than any other jockey at the moment. He settled The Arabian Duke just in behind the pacemakers in the early stages and made sure he saved every inch of ground around the tight turns in the centre.

   The Arabian Duke was still only fourth with two fences to jump but was obviously full of running and Kuru again took an inside run coming back on to the course proper to give him a handy advantage approaching the last fence.

   Once over that obstacle The Arabian Duke raced away from his rivals for a dominant win.

   Nelson only took over the training of The Arabian Duke in March after the horse was previously trained by Matamata-based Karyn McQuade, who races the horse in partnership with her husband Hamish and another close family friend.

   McQuade trained The Arabian Duke for two wins and seven minor placings and gave him five hurdle starts last year for a second and two fourths. They decided to transfer the horse to Nelson’s establishment to further his jumping career.

   “He promised a lot as a real stayer as a hurdler in his early days and now that he’s steeplechasing he’s going to have a lot of fun,” Nelson said.

   “Hamish and Karen had schooled him over the steeplechase fences before he came down to us and he had performed pretty well.”

    Nelson has yet to confirm The Arabian Duke’s next assignment but said the horse is likely to head back to Trentham on July 26 for a Special Conditions Steeplechase over 4000m.


Gold Mag has a silver lining

   Gold Mag, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay’s Peter Grieve, indicated he is destined for a bright future after backing up an impressive maiden win in the country with a stunning victory in his city debut in Australia on Wednesday of last week..

   With top Victorian jockey Craig Williams aboard, Gold Mag settled midfield in a $A40,000 1200m Rating 64 race for three-year-olds at Sandown before bursting to the front in the straight and then clearing out from his rivals in the final 200m.

   The gelding’s 5 length winning margin bettered the 4-3/4-lengths he recorded when winning on debut over 1100m at Bendigo last month.

   "He still doesn't know anything about what he's doing but he's got a serious motor and really good raw ability," Craig Williams said.

   "I was very impressed.

  "His asset is that he's got really good acceleration but he could sustain that for 400 metres and he still has no idea what he's doing.

   "So he's a very exciting horse for the future."

   Gold Mag is now expected to be given a freshen-up by his trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig and then aimed at important races in the spring.

   The three-year-old was bred by Peter Grieve in partnership with his close friend Barry Thomas of Christchurch. The pair raced the horse’s dam Chapinta, who was the winner of six races including an open class event over 2200m at Ellerslie.


Van Gogh adds another win

   Van Gogh, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay’s Jamie Bridge, recorded his second win when successful at Timaru last Friday.

   The five-year-old gelding followed up a third over 1600m at Wingatui last month with a decisive length success in a $10,000 Rating 65 race over 1600m.

   He settled fifth until the home turn before 40-year-old jockey Brandon Morgenrood angled him  to the inside and he finish strongly along the rail to get up and beat race favourite Bridget Town.

   Bridge, when based in Auckland, was the original trainer of Van Gogh and prepared the horse for a couple of minor placings before transferring him to Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers.

   The horse won a maiden race over 1500m at Greymouth in January last year for Myers before he was transferred to the South Island stable of Kerry and Ian Taplin at Otautau.

   Bridge still races the horse in partnership with his Auckland-based uncle Ivan Bridge and Kevin Myers.




Bi-monthly award winner

   Havelock North’s Tess Castles is the recipient of the bi-monthly Kevin Wood Memorial trophy for the months of May and June.

   The award is sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association.

   Castles is one of four close friends who lease a 50% racing share in the highly promising two-year-old London Express, who is trained by New Plymouth’s Allan Sharrock.

   The Shamexpress filly has had four starts for two wins and two thirds. She  broke through for a maiden win over 1200m on her home track on May 12 and then took out the Listed $50,000 Castletown Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui on June 2.


Parkes happy with Hiflyer

   Jockey Johnathan Parkes was more than happy with Hiflyer’s effort in his Australian debut in Sydney last Saturday.

   The Wanganui-based jockey finished fourth aboard the Peter Lock-trained son of Tavistock in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m).

   “I thought it was a god run under the weight (59.5kg), he’s not an overly big horse and there’s a bit of improvement in him,” Parkes said. “He was doing his best work late.”

   Hiflyer was bustled to settle in behind the pace before sticking on bravely in the straight.

   “I said to Peter that he’ll be a lot better-suited over there to a mile when you don’t have to ask him for too much early,” Parkes said.


Tayla Wenn to start training

   Tayla Wenn is preparing for the transition from jockey to trainer.

   The 23-year-old’s riding career will take a back seat when she takes over the Byerley Park stables of Scott Lucock and Sally Gillespie, who are moving to senior positions with the Te Akau operation from August 1.

   Wenn is currently apprenticed to the duo, but she is unlikely to continue race day riding.

   “I’ve enjoyed riding and I may still get a senior licence, mainly to ride my own horses at trials. Being a jockey isn’t a top priority.”

   Wenn, who has ridden 13 winners, said Byerley Park offered an ideal location and excellent facilities.

   “It’s nice and quiet here and I’ve learned a lot from Scott and Sally, they’re really good people.

   “They will leave four horses with me, Sheradream and three untried young horses.”

   Wenn’s partner is Jack Mackinnon, a junior driver within the harness ranks, and he is also backing the new venture.

   “Jack bought two yearlings at the sales, which I’ll be breaking in as well,” she said.

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Jumping career planned for Donardo 12 Jul 2018

   Hawke’s Bay-owned Donardo scored an emphatic win on the flat at Wanganui on Thursday of last week but his future will be as a jumper according to Waipukurau trainer Lucy de Lautour.

   She now owns the five-year-old gelding with her husband Will after the horse initially started out in the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

   “We’ve had him about 18 months,” de Lautour said this week.

   “He’d had a couple if starts on the flat and hadn’t shown much so we’ve given him a second chance.

   “He’ll have a few more runs on the flat but we actually got him to be a jumper so that’s the plan at some stage. He’s jumped a few things at home okay and he’s only a five-year-old so there is still plenty of time for him.”

   Donardo was having only his ninth start when he lined up in a 2060m maiden highweight at Wanganui and scored a runaway 6-3/4 length win in the hands of jockey Will Gordon.

   The Don Eduardo gelding settled fourth last in the early running before Gordon started to improve his position entering the last 1000m. He sprinted quickly to join the leaders, wide out, on the home turn and then raced right away over the final stages.

   The performance made up for a disappointing eighth by Donardo over 2040m on the same track at his previous start with de Lautour putting that failure down to track conditions.

   “It was late in the day and the track was a bit too cut up,” she said.

   Donardo has good bloodlines to back up his ability and was originally passed in for $50,000 at the 2014 Ready To Run Two-year-old sale. His sire Don Eduardo was a son of Zabeel while his dam Devil In Red is an unraced half-sister to Surpassing, who won six races.

   Donardo’s grandam is Superior Star, who won seven races and was crowned champion four-year-old in Singapore and Malaysia in 2004.

   Lucy de Lautour only has a couple of horse in work with the stable star being Kipkeino. The 10-year-old Sunray gelding is the winner of nine races, six on the flat and three over hurdles and was successful in last year’s Hawke’s Bay Hurdles.

   Kipkeino only managed fifth in this year’s Hawke’s Bay feature, run two weeks ago, but de Lautour said the horse has improved a lot since that run and will now line up in tomorrow’s $75,000 Wellington Hurdles, where the extra distance and expected very heavy track conditions should suit him.


HB man joins James in training

   Hawke’s Bay-born Robert Wellwood will be promoted to a training partnership with Cambridge-based Roger James in the new racing season, which begins on August 1.

   Wellwood, 23, has been working for the James stable for close to two years and is the current racing manager.

   James, who has had the likes of Ross Taylor, Lance Noble and Leanne Bertling in successful training partnerships in the past, says Wellwood has got a passion for the racing industry and is a very good people’s person.

   James, who has trained over 1000 winners and nearly 30 Group 1 winners across Australasia including Silent Achiever and Zonda, is keen to pass on his knowledge to the future generation.

   “Rob’s a very good horseman and I’m proud to bring him into partnership,” he said. “It’s not an easy game and I’m happy to give the younger people a chance.”

   Robert Wellwood is a son of Hawke’s Bay lawyer Margaret Wellwood. He attended Twyford Primary School and then Lindisfarne College before going on to Waikato University where he completed a Bachelor of Business Analysis, majoring in Finance.

   He started riding horses when he was four and went on to be a successful equestrian competitor, first at pony club and then at Grand Prix level.

   His interest in thoroughbreds was also sparked at an early age.

   “My grandfather has been a member of the Hawke’s Bay Racing Club for a long time and I used to watch the racing with him,” Wellwood said.

   “As a kid I had huge aspirations of being a top jockey, but my dream was shattered pretty early on when I passed the six-foot mark as an early teen.”

   Wellwood subsequently enjoyed stints at Windsor Park Stud and at Lime Country Thoroughbreds, then based in the Hawke’s Bay. While at university he also rode trackwork for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike.

   “After graduating I struck it lucky with Roger,” he said. “I started with him in December 2016 and he’s willing to pass on his knowledge. Hopefully, it’s going to be the start of a good career.”

   Wellwood has become a familiar figure at New Zealand race meetings and also gained overseas experience this season when he accompanied the James-trained pair of Von Tunzelman and Sherrif on their Australian campaigns.


Ishinktaatledo adds another win

   Ishinktaatledo, a mare co-bred by Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive officer Andrew Castles, brought up her third win and her first in the South Island with a dominant performance at Ashburton on Wednesday of last week.

   The Shinko King five-year-old was having her third start since being transferred to the Riccarton stable of Les and Richard Didham and her 1-1/2 length victory in a 1200m Rating 65 race followed fourth placings at Timaru and Riccarton last month.

   Ishinktaatledo was bred by Castles in partnership with New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock, Christchurch-based Dean McKenzie and two Auckland men, Gary Milne and Paul Baker.

   The five raced the horse originally from Sharrock’s stable and she won them two races in a row in the spring of 2016, the first being a maiden over 1400m at New Plymouth and the second over 1200m at Awapuni. They have now leased the mare out to a 13-member syndicate in the South Island.

   Ishinktaatledo is out of the Faltaat mare Tattledoya, who was the winner of two races before an injury ended her career on the track. Her dam was the Defensive Play mare The Gifted Shifta, who won five races and recorded a second in the Listed Marton Cup (2200m) and third in the Group 1 Wellington Cup (3200m) in 2000.

   Thatstheticket, another of Taatledoya’s progeny, was a winner over 1600m at Trentham in April 2016 and was then transferred to Brett Scott’s stable in Victoria. He has been renamed Hammerstein in Australia and has gone on to win another two races there.

   Castles and his partners are still breeding from Taatledoya. They have an unraced three-old gelding by Zed out of the mare and a rising three-year-old filly by Road To Rock that is expected to come into work in the spring. The mare has also produced a weanling colt by The Bold One and is now back in foal to that stallion.


Hastings races Thursday

   The last Hastings race meeting of the season is set down for next Thursday, July 19, and a friends and family day is planned with free admission on course and free entry to the Members’ Stand.

   There will be packages available of food and beverages for groups of any size and patrons will also be allowed BYO beverages on the public lawn area and public grandstand. This will be limited to six bottles of beer or one bottle of wine per person.

   The gates will open at 11am with the first race timed for 12.27pm and the last at 3.57pm, although these times may change if additional races are programmed.


Horse of the Year finalists

   The strength of New Zealand’s two leading stables is illustrated by the first batch of finalists for the 2018 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.
   New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for Jumper of the Year to be determined later this month.
   Half of the 22 flat finalists are trained by either the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman or the Te Akau team of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.

   All finalists are eligible for the Horse of the Year title, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday, August 26.
   Baker and Forsman, who have established a record tally in the trainers’ premiership this term, prepare all four finalists in the middle-distance category – reigning Horse of the Year Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L’Amour and Saint Emilion – and will also be represented by Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance and Sydney Cup placegetter Zacada.
   The Group I-winning juveniles Avantage and Sword Of Osman give Autridge and Richards a strong presence in the two-year-old category and the stable will also be represented by Gingernuts and the three-year-olds Embellish and Age of Fire.
   Gingernuts is a finalist in the sprinter-miler category, which has been reintroduced this year.
   The finalists are:
Champion Two-Year-Old: Avantage, Melt, Spanish Whisper, Sword Of Osman.
Champion Three-Year-Old: Age Of Fire, Dijon Bleu, Embellish, Savvy Coup, Scott Base, Vin De Dance.
Sprinter-Miler (up to 1600m): Close Up, Gingernuts, Kawi, Start Wondering.
Champion Middle Distance (1601m-2200m):  Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L’Amour, Saint Emilion.
Champion stayer (2201m and further):  Charles Road, Five To Midnight, Ladies First, Zacada.


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Surpriseus and a Shamoline Warrior three-year-old gelding were the only horses timed in another very quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

   Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided good footing.

   Surpriseus  and the Shamoline Warrior gelding, both in the Kate Hercock stable, worked in easily from the 1000-metre peg in 1:11.1, running the first 400m in 32.3 and then quickening slightly over the last 600 in 38.8.

   Surpriseus is a three-year-old filly by Showcasing who was unplaced in one start last season but finished second in a 1000-metre Foxton trial last month.

   Class mare Savvy Dreams was again restricted to just two rounds of pacework on the plough as were her stablemates Xpression and Vickezzmoet. All three horses look to be coming up well as they prepare for spring campaigns

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