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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 15 Nov 2019

A magical day for Hastings-trained horses

(By John Jenkins)


   Hastings stables dominated their local meeting last Sunday, winning five of the eight races on the programme.

   John Bary saddled up two winners while James Bridge, Fred Pratt and the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen each produced a win apiece.

   One of the most popular wins on the day was that of the Fred Pratt-trained Magic Incanto in the 1400m maiden event.

   Not only was it the seven-year-old mare’s first victory but it was also the first success for her trainer since he saddled up Golan Express to win a 1000m maiden at Tauherenikau in June 2014.

   The 61-year-old Pratt, a former successful jumps jockey, has dabbled at training for many years. He was based in Woodville for a start before crossing the Tasman where he spent 20 years training with success in Australia.

   He decided to return to New Zealand about eight years ago, first spending time assisting Levin trainer Peter McKenzie before shifting to Hastings, where he is now employed at the local freezing works.

   Racing has been in Pratt’s blood since he was born so there was always a desire to continue an involvement in the industry, whilst also trying to make a living elsewhere. He presently has three horses in work and is one of the first at the Hastings track of a morning to get his horses worked so he can go off to his main job.

   ‘I’d love to get more horses and give up the freezing works but it is hard to get them and it is getting a lot harder,” he said.

   Magic Incanto was bred by Woodville butcher John Shannon and Wellington’s John Fokerd and is raced by Shannon’s wife along with several other butchers’ wives from around the central districts and other family friends.

   Although Magic Incanto is seven years old, she was having only her 15th start last Sunday and has been plagued by injuries. She had to be late scratched from a race at Waipukurau in March of this year after injuring herself during the float trip from Hastings to the races and also took plenty of skin off when she got tangled up in a fence at one stage.

   The mare was having her first start since finishing sixth of eight over 1350m on a heavy track at Wanganui in July but had performed well in jumpouts and turned in an impressive trackwork gallop at Hastings a couple of weeks ago.

   Magic Incanto and jockey Leah Hemi led all the way when winning at Hastings last Sunday but Pratt said that was not the plan.

   “I thought she’d be a bit fresh and said to Leah to jump her out of the gates and go forward but I didn’t expect her lead all the way,” Pratt said.

   “But she was always traveling well.”

   Magic Incanto bounced straight to the front and Hemi dictated terms, maintaining a good advantage over the field until the home turn before kicking clear at the top of the straight. The mare kept up a strong run to the line to win by 1-1/4 lengths from Vita Sicilia, with 2 lengths back to third placed Unbroken.

   Although it was only a maiden win Pratt is confident Magic Incanto will measure up in stronger company and has the $35,000 Open 1400m race at Awapuni on November 23 as a possible target for the mare.

   “There is also a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 1600m at Awapuni that day and I’ve told the owners that could be an easier assignment,” Pratt said.

Magic Incanto and jockey Leah Hemi are clear of their rivals at the finish of the 1400m maiden race at Hastings last Sunday. The Per Incanto mare led all the way and never looked like being caught.

Trainer Fred Pratt (centre) is congratulated by fellow Hastings trainers Guy Lowry and Patrick Campbell following Magic Incanto’s maiden success at last Sunday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.


Good training feat

  James Bridge started the ball rolling for the five Hastings-trained winners at last Sunday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting when Resolution scored in the opening event, a 2100m maiden.

   The Nom de Jeu five-year-old was coming off a last start third over 1400m at Woodville on October 24 and it was a good training feat by Bridge to get the horse to step up 700m in distance and win.

   Resolution got no favours in the running either. He drew the outside of a 10 horse field and was caught three-wide for the first 600m before rider Jonathan Riddell decided to push on and take up a trailing position behind pacemaker Border Leicester.

   The latter tried to put a winning break on the field rounding the home bend and had a 3 length advantage at the top of the straight. But Resolution was not to be denied and kept grinding away to get up and win and win by half a neck.

   Resolution is owned by James Bridge in partnership with his parents, John and Jackie, and was bought in a private sale from the Fell family’s Fairdale Stud in Palmerston North.

   He is bred to be a good stayer, being out of the Alleged mare Miss Vita and a half-brother to the 2010 Auckland Cup winner Zavite.

   “He definitely appreciated the step up in distance today,” James Bridge said.


Motivation very impressive

   The John Bary-trained Motivation was arguably the most impressive winner at last Sunday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

  The Mastercraftsman five-year-old came from two lengths last on the home turn to win by a decisive three-quarters of a length in a Rating 65 race over 1300m, stamping himself as a promising stayer in the making.

   Motivation had not raced since disappointing when only eighth of 11 over 1600m on the third day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, on October 5, but had shown good ability on the first two days of that carnival, with a second and a fourth over 1400m.

   The grey was turned out in prime condition by Bary for last Sunday’s assignment and jockey Johnathan Parkes rode the gelding like he was the best horse in the field, dropping him back to last and biding his time until the home turn.

   Once in the straight Parkes picked a path between horses and Motivation unleashed a devastating final sprint in the last 200 metres.

   It was the horse’s second win from 15 starts but his first since joining the Bary stable after he was formerly prepared by the then partnership of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards at Matamata.

   He is owned by his Hunterville-based breeders Christopher and Susanna Grace and is out of the Zabeel mare Tenacity, who was the winner of five races in the South Island.

   Bary’s racing manager, Mike Sanders, said Motivation is now likely to head to the Wellington meeting on December 7, where he could start in either a Rating 72 race over 1400m or a Rating 82 sprint over 1200m.

  Motivation was the second of two winners produced by the Bary stable at Hastings last Sunday. The first was Bucky, who scored an all the way win in a 1200m maiden.

   The Power five-year-old was having his first start since finishing an unlucky seventh over 1200m at Hastings in July but had indicated he was ready for a big fresh up performance when finishing a close second in a 1000m jumpout at Hastings a month ago.

   The horse bounced straight to the front from the outset last Sunday and rider Johnathan Parkes was able to dictate the pace, maintaining a good advantage before kicking clear in the home straight.

   Race favourite Holsty and Rakuten lodged a challenge to Bucky inside the last 100 metres but he was able to stave them off and win by a long head.

   Bucky is bred to be good as he is out of the former speedy racemare The Lady, who won two Listed stakes races as a two-year-old and was also placed at Group 3 level. He is owned by his Auckland breeders Ron and Nuala Saunders of Maroal Bloodstock Limited.

The grey Motivation produced some big strides late for jockey Johnathan Parkes to get up and down Second Slip (Holly Andrew) in a Rating 65 race over 1300m at Hastings last Sunday


Deserved win for Tuigirl

   Tuigirl made up for some unlucky runs this campaign with a deserved success in the final event at last Sunday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, the Rating 65 race over 1600m.

   The Niagara four-year-old, trained on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, should have finished a lot closer in each of her previous three starts this campaign. She was blocked for a run 250 metres from the finish when a fresh up fifth over 1400m at Hastings in August and then got caught wide in the running when eighth over 1800m at Taupo the following month. She then lined up on the last day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, on October 5, where she was again held up in the home straight and never really got clear running in the final stages, finishing sixth.

   Jockey Craig Grylls gave Tuigirl every chance in the running last Sunday, positioning the mare in a trailing position behind the pacemaking Platinum Wild Card soon after the start.

   Tuigirl was travelling easily coming to the home turn and hit the front soon after straightening. Grylls then kicked her clear and she maintained a strong run to the line to win by three-quarters of a length from The Midnight Shift, who was a head in front of third placed Kinshasa.

  Tuigirl was recording her second win from 10 starts, the first coming in a 1600m maiden at Hastings in April this year. She is owned by her Taradale co-breeder Bruce Lumsden and is out of the Kaaptive Edition mare Miss Tui, who won five races in Australia from 800m to 1600m.

Bruce Lumsden (left), the co-breeder and owner of Tuigirl discusses the mare’s win in the final race at Hastings last Sunday with co-trainer Guy Lowry and jockey Craig Grylls.


By-monthly award winner

   Hastings woman Christel Jager is the recipient of the by-monthly Kevin Wood Memorial Trophy for the months of September and October.

   The trophy is sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association and is presented to a Hawke’s Bay-based owner who has achieved success on the racetrack.

   Jager has a small 2.5 per cent share in Cool Aza Beel, who took out the first two-year-old race of the season at Wanganui on September 7.

   The Savabeel colt was turned out for a spell after that debut win but resumed with a trial win over 880m at Te Rapa last month.


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Hastings Jumpouts 12 Nov 2019


(By John Jenkins)

   The well-bred Galileo Express was one of the most impressive winners at today’s Hastings jumpouts, recording a quick time in one of the 750-metre heats.

   The jumpouts were held well out from the running rail on the course proper, where the ground was dead after steady rain overnight.

   Galileo Express took out the second of the 750m heats, winning by a long neck in the hands of former jockey Kate Hercock. The winning time of 46.4s was the quickest of the four heats at the distance.

   Galileo Express is trained by John Bary for long time stable client Ivan Grieve and is by Shamexpress out of a Galileo mare.

   Other good winners at the jumpouts were the former northern-trained Trueman, who is now prepared by Paul Nelson ad Corrina McDougal, and the Richard McKenzie owned and trained Chalk.




Heat 1, 750m: Niagara-All In Grace 3yr-old gelding (H Durrant) 1, Darci Brahma-Wind Of Savannah 2yr-old gelding 2, Ferlax 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 2-3/4 lengths. Time: 53s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 2, 750m: Galileo Express (K Hercock) 1, Savabeel 3yr-old gelding 2, Belfast Babe 3. Four starters. Margins: Long neck, 2 lengths. Time: 46.4s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Power 2yr-old filly (M Stowe) 1, Niagara 3yr-old filly 2, Zed 4yr-old mare 3. Four starters. Margins: Nose, 3 lengths. Time: 47.9s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 4, 750m: Lou Lou (Sammy) 1, Matta Cain 2, Eleventhour 3. Four starters. Margins: Long head, 3 lengths. Time: 47.3s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: Tequila (Sammy) 1, Rebamine 2, Nedwin 3. Four starters. Margins: Long neck, 1-3/4 lengths. Time: 1:05.5. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: Trueman (J Bassett) 1, Iffraaj-Erbe 3yr-old gelding 2, Ohms 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 1 length. Time: 1:04.3. Winner trained by Paul Nelson & Corrina McDougal, Hastings.

Heat 7, 1000m: Chalk (J Bassett) 1, Sheer Elegance 2, Red Sunday 3. Five starters. Margins: Long neck, 1/2 length. Time: 1:02.9. Winner trained by Richard McKenzie, Hastings.

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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 8 Nov 2019

Hastings partners now eyeing feature races

(By John Jenkins)

   The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen are on weather watch as they plan feature assignments for two of their stable stars over the next month.

   The stable has Riva Capri and Can I Get An Amen nominated for the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton tomorrow week and are also looking to tackle the Listed $50,00 Wanganui Cup (2040m) on November 30 with Atlanta Peach, who scored an impressive win at Awapuni last Saturday.

   Riva Capri has been ticking over in training since her good last start fourth in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings on October 5 and is booked to travel south next Wednesday while Can I Get An Amen is already in the South Island and finished second in a 1400m maiden race at Motukarara last Sunday.

   “At this stage both fillies are heading for the Guineas if the track is not too firm,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week.

   “Riva Capri hasn’t raced for a while but has done well and has raced well when fresh in the past while Can I Get An Amen is still a maiden and, if she doesn’t make the guineas field, there is a $30,000 maiden race at Riccarton for her.”

   Riva Capri has had four starts for a win, a second and a fourth, with her victory coming in the Listed O’Learys Fillies Stakes (1200m) on a heavy track at Wanganui.

   Lowry says the filly really needs some easing in track conditions to show her best and is hoping there is some rain in Christchurch next week.

   Atlanta Peach has also shown her best form on rain affected tracks, with her five wins being on either dead., slow or heavy ground.

   “We are looking at running her in the Wanganui Cup at the end of the month, providing the track is not too firm,” Lowry said.

   Atlanta Peach produced an outstanding performance to win a $30,000 Rating 82 race over 1600m at Awapuni last Saturday. The mare was last on settling and still a long way from the leaders approaching the home turn.

   Rider Ryan Elliot decided to ride her for luck, picking a path through the field but still keeping her under a hold. He managed to get a late split between horses inside the last 50 metres and Atlanta Peach dived through to get up and win by a head in a close four-way finish.

   “That is the way she has to be ridden,” Lowry said.

   “You have to ride her quiet and have that last crack at them. She’s got a really good sprint if you can hold her up for one last run.”

  Atlanta Peach was recording her fifth win from only 14 starts and her success last weekend followed a creditable eighth in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on October 5.

   The Bullbars mare is owned by Cambridge-based Tony Rider and raced by him in partnership with staff from his Pak N Save supermarket.


Atlanta Peach sticks her head out on the line to snatch victory in a Rating 82 race over 1600m at Awapuni last Saturday. The Hastings-trained mare is now being aimed at the Wanganui Cup (2040m) at the end of this month.


HB owner celebrates again

   Taradale racehorse owner Ken Robson has enjoyed good success with Secret Squirrel from the New Plymouth stable of Bryce Revell and now looks to have another promising galloper in Ekstrememiss.

   The big Cape Blanco mare broke through for her maiden victory over 2000m on her home track last Friday and looks a good stayer in the making.

   Ekstrememiss was having her 13th start, with her best previous placings being two fourths and three fifths.

   Revell decided to step her up in distance last Friday and also added a tongue-tie to her gear and it seemed to have the desired effect. Rider Shaun McKay settled the mare back midfield in the early running before asking her to improve entering the last 600m.

   The mare was under a hard ride coming to the home bend but once McKay angled her to the outside she started to hit top gear, stretching out impressively in the final stages to win by three-quarters of a length.

   “Bryce has always thought a lot of her but she has just taken time,” Robson said this week.

   “At her last start, over 1600 at Woodville, her rider Chris Johnson said she lost her way at the 800 and the track was really too heavy for her. He also said that she would be better suited by 2000 metres.”

   Revell bought Ekstrememiss for $15,000 at the 2017 Karaka yearling sales and then set about syndicating the horse out, with Robson taking up a 10 per cent share.

   Revell was very familiar with the horse’s pedigree as he had trained her dam Ekstreme to win seven races, including the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

   “Ekstreme was a really good mare who won more than $400,000 in stakemoney and Bryce always said he would like to race one out of her,” Robson added.

   Ekstrememiss is likely to have her next start in a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 2100m at Awapuni next Thursday.

Extrememiss pictured on her way to winning a 2000m maiden race on her home track at New Plymouth last Friday. The Cape Blanco mare looks a promising stayer in the making.


Melody Belle rings true again

   Glamour New Zealand mare Melody Belle, part-owned by Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters, will be looking to extend her Group 1 winning record to 11 when she lines up in tomorrow’s $A2million MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne.

   The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year recorded her first Australian success at the elite level when taking out last Saturday’s Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and returns to the same venue for tomorrow’s weight-for-age feature.

   “She broke the pattern of the day,” trainer Jamie Richards said, reflecting on the mare’s outstanding win. “She came from off the speed and quickened well.”

   It was one of the biggest moments in Richards’ fledgling career and he hopes that Group One feeling will return tomorrow.

   “It was a big thrill on Saturday,” he said. “Gingernuts won the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas in Australia when I was training with Steve (Autridge), but to go to Melbourne in the spring, on arguably the biggest day of the year, was very exciting and I was very pleased that she could put it all together.”

   The Empire Rose victory gave Richards, Te Akau principal David Ellis and Fortuna Syndications manager John Galvin, the confidence to press on to the Mackinnon rather than the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.

   “There’s a big difference in the prizemoney,” he said. “It’s very hard to fault her form and we think she deserves an opportunity to have a go at the best of them.”

   Melody Belle will be shooting for her fifth win in a row in the 2000m feature but will need to overcome barrier 15 in the 16 horse field.

   It is not the first time Richards has been met with such a hurdle this spring. Te Akau Shark was dealt the outside barrier in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but a gun ride by leading New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson resulted in a game third-placing. 

   “We are going to need a little bit of luck with the way the barriers have come out, but hopefully there is good tempo in the race and we can get back a little bit, where hopefully she can finish off as strongly as she did last Saturday,” Richards said.

   He has been happy with the way Melody Belle has pulled up after Saturday’s assignment. 

   “She has done well, we have been pleased with her,” Richards said. “She has eaten reasonably well.” 

   Melody Belle is unbeaten over 2000m, winning both the Group 1 Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie and the Group 1 Livamol Stakes at Hastings this year and Richards is hoping to keep that record intact on Saturday.

   “In the Livamol, she probably didn’t beat much that day, but at Ellerslie in the autumn when she beat Danzdanzdance on a heavy track in the Bonecrusher certainly suggested that she has got a bit of stamina and she can handle the trip. The 2000m doesn’t look to worry her.”

   With Melody Belle now having proven herself at the elite level in Australia, the $57,500 Karaka yearling sale purchase by David Ellis is set to return to Australian shores next year in a bid to chase more Group 1 spoils.

   “She will be in the spelling paddock on Monday and she will be coming back to New Zealand for a break,” Richards said. “Hopefully we can crank her up in the autumn and get her back over to Australia.”

   "She's a fabulous horse and she's been so good for my career," Richards added. 

   "We're proud Kiwis and we're glad to be over here representing the country.”

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters own a 10 per cent share in Melody Belle and have rarely missed being on course to witness her 25 starts, which have reaped 15 wins and three thirds. They were among a large group of Kiwis rejoicing at Flemington racecourse last Saturday and will again be there tomorrow to cheer home their pride and joy.

   Top New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson rode the perfect race to get Melody Belle home first last Saturday and will again be aboard the mare tomorrow, a horse that he now rates as one of the best he has ridden.

   "To do it on both sides of the Tasman and win ten Group Ones, not many can do that," Bosson said. 

  : Melody Belle and jockey Opie Bosson are comfortable winners of last Saturday’s Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington The Commands mare will be shooting for her 11th Group 1 victory in tomorrow’s MacKinnon Stakes (2000m).

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