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Atlanta Peach and Mohaka, two horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable expected to start at Taupo next Wednesday, worked well together in a reasonably quiet track session at Hastings today.

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

   Atlanta Peach and Mohaka worked in from the 1000m peg in 1:7.7, running the first 200 in a leisurely 29.4 before quickening over the last 600 in 38.3. Both horses looked to have plenty in reserve at the finish. They have both been freshened and are likely to be race-rivals in the Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo.

   Riva Capri and Pinotage, two others from the Lowry/Cullen stable, also worked in from the 1000m peg and were not extended when running their last 800m in 54.4, the final 600 in 39. Riva Capri, who recorded a good second on debut at Hastings last month, is likely to contest the three-year-old race over 1100m at Taupo.

   A Niagara-Devine Missem three-year-old filly and one by Bullet Train were not hurried when running 800m in 59.8, the last 600 in 43.6 while Allacciato finished off her work with an easy 600m in 44.6.

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HB couple rejoice after Grand National success 15 Aug 2019

Former All Black Mick Duncan celebrated his biggest moment in racing when Alfie Dee prevailed in a hugely intense finish to the 130th running of the $75,000 Grand National Hurdles at Riccarton on Wednesday of last week.

   Alfie Dee had led for almost the entire 4200m of the feature and, under desperate riding from jockey Buddy Lammas, managed to get in the deciding stride to win by a nose from Bad Boy Brown, ridden by Shaun Phelan.

   The two horses had gone stride for stride over the last 300m and, just as Bad Boy Brown looked likely to get his head in front, Alfie Dee pulled out extra reserves to get the decision right on the line.

   Lammas was elated with the win and said his strategy all along was to get to the lead. 

   “My whole game plan was to get to the front. I was going to aim for the front down the home straight on the first lap, but I got there sooner. 

   “He was just happy cruising and pricked his ears. I just kept him in a happy spot. When he wanted to get a bit quicker I let him roll a bit, then I eased him back. I gave him a couple of breathers.”

   Lammas thought he had been beaten on the line, but he was pleasantly surprised when he found out otherwise.

   “I thought he (Bad Boy Brown) got me on the line, but he just stuck his nose out and got the win,” he said.

   Hawke’s Bay-based Duncan and his wife Barbara bred Alfie Dee and have a 15 per cent ownership share in the Zed nine-year-old. The gelding was recording just his third win from 26 starts with his latest victory following a maiden hurdle success over 2750m at Awapuni on July 25.

   Mick Duncan played two tests for the All Blacks against the touring British Lions in 1971 and also played 83 games for Hawke’s Bay, when he was a prolific try scoring wing during the province’s Ranfurly Shield era of the late 1960s.

   Both he and his wife were on course to witness Alfie Dee’s outstanding win last week which he described as “a marvellous experience.”

   “It was great. To have bred the horse and been a part of it all the way through is really something,” he said.

   Alfie Dee is trained by Hunterville-based Ken Duncan, who is no relation to Mick but has been instrumental in taking the horse from a maiden winner over 1600m at Woodville in October 2016 to now be a Grand National victor.

   “Ken has done a great job with the horse,” Mick Duncan said this week.

   “He’s a horse that has had a couple of issues over the years, but he has got him right.

   “He did a tendon and was off the scene for 12 months and was being a pain in the paddock at home so we put him back into work and then he had a bit of a cough.

   “Ken rang me last week and told me the horse was pretty right and said you better get down here to Christchurch so we went and it was amazing to be there.”

   Mick Duncan bred Alfie Dee out of the Victory Dance mare Isadora and said the initial plan was to give him a brief campaign on the flat before turning him into a jumper. But when the horse won his Woodville maiden on debut it was decided to continue racing him on the flat and he recorded a further five seconds and two thirds as well as contesting last year’s Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m).

   Alfie Dee finished fifth in his hurdle debut over 2760m at Ellerslie on June 3 before a sixth in the Awapuni Hurdles (2900m). He was then pulled up when struggling on an extremely heavy track at Trentham last month before his maiden hurdle victory at Awapuni on July 25.

   Ken Duncan has trained Alfie Dee for the past three years after he initially spent some time with Donna Beck at Levin and then Dean Cunningham at Hunterville.

   Ken Duncan is a very good conditioner of jumpers. He prepared Wee Biskit to win the 2013 Great Northern Hurdles as well as back-to-back Wellington Hurdles and Shamal to win last year’s Grand National Steeplechase and this year’s Waikato Steeples.

   Alfie Dee is now likely to be aimed at the $125,000 Great Northern Hurdles (4190m) at Ellerslie on September 7.

   He is the last living foal out of the now deceased mare Isadora, who won one race for the Duncans when trained at Waipukurau by Penny Ebbett.

   The Duncans also share in the ownership of Fort Knox, who has been the winner of one race from the Te Awamutu stable of Richard Sherwin and they have an unraced two-year-old by Giant Steps out of an Ekraar mare in the same stable.


Stars to do battle in Tarzino Trophy

   Last year’s winner Melody Belle will head another star-studded line up for the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy, feature race on the first day of the Bostock Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival on August 31.

   Trainer Jamie Richards has said the Commands mare, rated hot favourite to claim the New Zealand Horse of the Year title after five Group 1 wins last season, will kick off a fresh campaign in tomorrow’s Group 2 $100,000 US Navy Flag Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa and then target the three Group 1 features over the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

   The second of those is the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 21 with the $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) being the carnival high point on October 5.

   Melody Belle, in the hands of Singapore-born jockey Shafiq Rusof, took out last year’s Tarzino Trophy by half a length from Hiflyer, with Our Abbadean a long neck back in third. The outstanding mare then went on to take out the Windsor Park Plate on the middle day but bypassed the Livamol on the final day.

   Other Group 1 winners nominated for this year’s Tarzino Trophy are Danzdanzdance, Shadows Cast, Santa Monica and Avantage while there is also plenty of interest in the nomination of Australian-trained and multiple Group race winner Cliff’s Edge.

The full list of nominations for the Tarzino Trophy is.-

Melody Belle


Shadows Cast

Santa Monica


Endless Drama

Cliff’s Edge

Te Akau Shark



Contessa Vanessa

Sleeping Beauty

He Kin Fly

Dark Princess

The Bandito

Helena Baby



Seventh Up

More Wonder


Battle Time

Irish Flame


Atlanta Peach



Nisbett & Smith special guests

   Hawke’s Bay Racing is excited to announce that two legends of New Zealand broadcasting will attend Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil race day at Hastings on Saturday August 31.

   SKY Sport commentators Grant Nisbett and Ian Smith have taken time away from Mitre 10 Cup duties to step in as guest presenters for TAB Trackside.

   This year’s event is a celebration of ‘Rugby, Racing and Volunteers’ to raise money for the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society.

   “Their involvement in the day certainly creates another talking point and underlines what an important cause it is we are raising money for,” Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive Andrew Castles said.

   Smith will provide his infamous ‘pitch report’ reviewing conditions on track before the commencement of the days racing, then the pair will replace regular presenters Brendan Popplewell and Bevan Sweeney and preview the El Roca Sir Colin Meads Trophy.

   “They both have a real interest in and passion for thoroughbred racing so I’m sure they will transfer their world class broadcasting skills to their preview of the El Roca Sir Colin Meads trophy,” Castles said.

   Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil Raceday is the opening day of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Carnival.

   Admission on the day is by $5 donation to the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society.


HB/PB Awards night August 30 

   This year’s annual Bramwell Bate/VetsOne Hawke’s Bay & Poverty Bay Racing Awards function will be held at the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse on Friday, August 30.

   Hosted by the Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay Breeders and Owners Associations, in conjunction with Hawke’s Bay Racing, the function recognises the achievements of the districts’ trainers, owners and horses during the past racing season.

   The function will begin at 6.30pm and tickets can be purchased, at a price of $85/head, from the Hawke’s Bay Racing office.

   The awards being presented are.-

  • Jimmy Choux Three-year-old of the Year for the highest earning three-year-old bred by a HB/PB breeder.
  • HB/PB Owner of the Year on a points basis.
  • HB/PB Trainer of the Year on wins.
  • HB/PB Trainer of the year on winning strike-rate.
  • HB/PB Breeder with the most wins by progeny bred.
  • HB/PB Breeder of the Year on points, based on the performances of progeny bred.
  • HB/PB Trained Horse of the Year for a horse trained in district that won the most stake money.
  • HB/PB Owned Horse of the Year for a horse owned in the district based on their performances in black type races.
  • HB/PB Broodmare of the Year for the mare owned in the district whose progeny recorded the most success at black type level.
  • Group & Listed awards to the breeders of horses that won black type races.
  • Horlicks Salver award for significant contribution to racing and breeding in the district.



Promising HB-bred winner

   Hawke’s Bay-bred Shelly’s Lass scored an impressive fresh up maiden win at last week’s Woodville meeting.

   The Niagara four-year-old was bred by Pourerere’s Sue Harty, who sold the mare to Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin when she was a yearling and he then set up a syndicate to race her.

   Shelly’s Lass was resuming from a spell when she scored a length win over Greystone in the 1300m Woodville event but indicated she was ready to produce a big performance after finishing second in an 850m Foxton trial at the end of last month.

   She also showed potential in three starts last season, one of them resulting in a second over 1400m at Wairoa in February.

   Shelly’s Lass is out of the Paris Opera mare Sea Shells, who has now ceased breeding.

   Harty, who has been a successful thoroughbred owner and breeder for many years, says she is now winding down her operation. However she does have a promising Per Incanto four-year-old called He’s Done A Runner in work with Mike Breslin and has the broodmare Surf Patrol, who was the winner of seven races, now in foal to Dalghar.


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Last start winner Estefania, preparing for Saturday’s Otaki meeting, turned in one of the quickest 600m times at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Estefania worked early in the session and went half-pace for a round and a half before quickening over the last 600m in 37.5.

   Trainer Richard McKenzie said the Darci Brahma mare has trained on well since winning a Rating 65 grade race over 1600m at Otaki on July 27 and will steps up to a Rating 72 race over the same distance this Saturday. She seems to relish heavy tracks and is likely to strike favourable conditions again.

  Tuigirl, one of several horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable being prepared for next week’s Taupo meeting, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 800m peg and quickened slightly over the last 600 in 39.9. She hasn’t raced since finishing well back over 2040m at Wanganui on June 1, when unsuited by a heavy-11 track.

   A Fastnet Rock four-year-old gelding and one by Nom de Jeu, both trained by James Bridge, worked together over 800m in 53, the last 600 in 37.6.

  One Prize One Goal, who is likely to resume from a spell on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on August 31, was given an easy 800m workout in 54.8, the last 600 in 40.6 while his stablemate Stradivarius underwent similar work, clocking 53.5 and 39.1.

   Talenti and a Showcasing three-year-old filly, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, were restricted to not much more than three-quarter pace when running 800m in 56.5, the last 600 in 41.2 while Atlanta Peach clocked 58.8 for an easy 800m, the last 600 in 43.5. She is likely to race next in a Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo on Wednesday of next week.

   Mohaka, another likely starter in the Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo, was restricted to just pacework while Uncle Bro ran the last 600m of his work in 44.8.

   Riva Capri and Ruie’s Crumpet worked together over 800m at three-quarter pace, the last 600 in 44.4. Riva Capri finished second on debut in a two-year-old 800m race at Hastings on July 18 and is likely to contest the $25,000 three-year-old fillies’ race over 1100m at Taupo next week.

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