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Lowry/Cullen team bag a double at Woodville 28 Jan 2016

The tremendous run being enjoyed by the Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen continued last Monday when they saddled up two winners at the Woodville meeting.

   The pair operate from Game Lodge Stables in Hastings and have now produced four winners for the New Year. Voxer and Lamborghini carried the stable colours to victory at Woodville and they followed My Tommy’s win at Hastings on New Year’s Day and Adventador’s outstanding victory in the Group 1 $250,000 Telegraph Sprint at Trentham on January 16.

   Voxer notched up a maiden win over 2100 metres at Woodville after two seconds and three thirds from his previous 13 starts. The Savabeel five-year-old indicated he was close to a win when finishing third over 2060 metres at Wanganui earlier this month. In that race it was decided to let the horse settle at the back of the field in the early stages and he made ground strongly late.

   Rider Hayden Tinsley adopted similar tactics on the horse last Monday and they were second last with a round to go. The horse started to improve from about the 800-metre mark and was only a couple of lengths off the leaders when Tinsley angled to the outside rounding the home turn.

   Voxer dashed to the front and kept up a strong run to the line to win by 1-3/4 lengths.

   Lamborghini broke through for a well deserved maiden win over 1600 metres at Woodville after five second placings from his previous 12 starts. The Shinko King five-year-old was having his third start back after a lengthy spell and the win followed two seconds on his home track at Hastings, the first over 1200 metres last month and the second over 1600 metres on New Year’s Day, where he powered home late to get within a long head of the winner.

   Rider Hayden Tinsley settled the horse perfectly midfield in the early stages of last Monday’s race before sending on a forward move entering the last 600 metres. Lamborghini was the widest runner and seemed to get off stride rounding the home turn but once Tinsley got him balanced up again he showed a good turn of foot to sweep past his rivals and win by three-quarters of a length.

   The wins by Voxer and Lamborghini also continued the good run being enjoyed by Cambridge-based Tony Rider, who has been a long time client of the Lowry/Cullen stable.

   Rider bred Voxer out of the Istidaad mare Lady Ista and races him in partnership with Guy Lowry and Mary Darby. The horse spends a lot time at Darby’s Porangahau property where she works him along the beach and this has done a lot to help settle him down.

   Tony Rider also owns Lamborghini on his own and paid $28,000 for him as a yearling from the 2012 Karaka Select sale. He is a half-brother to the winners Mary’s Book, Pryzillian, Taatinger Lad and Wayne.


New environment

   A change of stable brought about a dramatic change in form by Beau Agen in last Monday’s $20,000 Woodville-Pahiatua Cup.

   The Skagen seven-year-old had not graced the winner’s stall since taking out a 2100-metre race at Otaki in March last year and had finished well back in his first three starts this season. However he has been taken over by Awapuni trainer Antony Kaye and was having his first start from his new base.

   Apprentice jockey Leah Hemi took the horse straight to the front in the 2100-metre race at Woodville and the horse was allowed to set just a moderate pace. He had a 1-2/ length advantage over his rivals rounding the home bend and was able to maintain a strong run to the line to hold out the fast finishing The Beaut by three-year-olds of a length.

   Beau Agen is now the winner of six races and is raced by a syndicate that includes Taradale couple Bruce and Annette Keighley.


Decisive victory

   Thien Ly, part-owned by Hastings couple John and Gretta Flynn, capped off two good second placings from two starts this season with a decisive 1-1/4 length win in a $40,000 Rating 65 race over 1200 metres at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting.

   The five-year-old Stravinsky gelding appreciated the big roomy Trentham track and trainer Jeff Lynds also added blinkers to the horse’s gear. Jockey Matthew Cameron bounced him away quickly from the barrier to have him in a trailing position until the field straightened for the run home and then sent him forward to challenge the leaders.

   Thien Ly has shown wayward tendencies in the past and wanted to lay in again over the final stages on Saturday but Cameron managed to keep him on a relatively straight line and he scored well.

   It was Thien Ly’s second win from 15 starts, with his maiden success coming over 1400 metres at Hastings in February last year.


Two chances in classic

   Hastings stables will be well represented in tomorrow’s Group 3 $70,000 Wellfield Desert Gold Stakes, the feature race on the last day of the Wellington Cup carnival at Trentham.

   The in-form stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen will saddle up Chic in the 1600-metre event for three-year-old fillies while Patrick Campbell will have Goodsav running. Both horses are daughters of the highly successful sire Savabeel.

   Chic has not raced since finishing eighth over 1600 metres, against the older horses, at Hastings on New Year’s Day but she has been kept tight up to the mark in trackwork and was strong at the finish when working with stablemate Rocky Ride over 1000 metres at the Hastings track on Tuesday. She is the winner of two races but they have both been on firm tracks and her connections are hoping track conditions don’t deteriorate for Saturday.

   Goodsav also took on the older horses at her last start, when finishing third over 1200 metres on the first day of the Wellington meeting. Jockey Lisa Allpress tried for a rails run on the filly in the home straight and she didn’t get a lot of clear racing room until the race was all but over. She finished less than 1-1/2 lengths from the winner and should appreciate the step up to 1600 metres. Her trackwork has also first rate in recent weeks.


Kevin Wood dies  

   Kevin Wood, a long serving Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred racing and breeding administrator, passed away last week after a long battle with cancer.

   Kevin served both as a race day steward and a board member of Hawke’s Bay Racing Incorporated for 10 years and was made a life member of the club at the last annual meeting, in November last year.

   He took a particular interest in finance sub-committee roles and, during this period, he was also an active member of the Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay Breeders Association and the on the committee of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Federation.

   Kevin, who retired from the Hawke’s Bay Racing board by rotation in November, has battled terminal cancer over the last four years and decided that it was time to spend more quality time with family and to follow the pursuits of the horses that he and his wife Shirin have bred.

   Along with Shirin and some syndicates, they have raced horses over the past 19 years with some moderate success, achieving about 46 winners in this time.

At last count they had up to 8 horses in work, with five trained locally, two in the South Island and one in Otaki.

   The Knight (6 wins) and Jakob Gambino (4 wins) were two of the best horses Kevin and Shirin bred and, in recent years, they raced the pair in partnership with South Island trainer Bruce Tapper. Both horses lined up at last Saturday’s Gore meeting and their respective riders wore black armbands as a mark of respect.

   In recent years Kevin and Shirin scaled down their Equine Breeding and cattle fattening operation, which they have operated from their Rosser Road lifestyle block for 12 years but remained positive, passionate thoroughbred breeders, owners, and sponsors.

   On his appointment to Life Membership of Hawke’s Bay Racing Kevin said he was very emotional and humbled and that he was proud and pleased to be able to give that amount of time back to the industry over the past ten years.


Avondale Cup bid

   New Zealand Oaks winner Savaria is now being aimed at the Group 2 $100,000 Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup at Ellerslie on February 20.

   Awapuni trainer Roydon Bergerson is keen to step the four-year-old Savabeel mare up in distance again after her last start eighth in the Listed Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham on January 16. That run followed a win over 1600 metres at Awapuni on Boxing Day.


Ellerslie next for stayer

   Wellington Cup winner Mister Impatience will now be prepared for the Group 1 $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 12 before he chases further two mile opportunities in Australia.

   The Michael Moroney and Chad Ormsby-trained stayer won the Queensland Cup (3200m) in July of last year and has also been a winner over 3000 metres at Ballarat, in Australia. Another victory at Ellerslie could bring the Group1 Melbourne Cup into contention while the Group1 Sydney Cup and the Group 2 Adelaide Cup might be more realistic targets, according to Moroney.


   Goodsav rounded off her preparation for Saturday’s $70,000 Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham with a good solo 1000-metre gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was confined to the plough which was conducive to fast times after 13 millimetres of rain fell on the track yesterday.

   Goodsav ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:5.7, running the first 400 metres in 29.9 before sprinting home the last 600 in 35.8. She looked to be striding out well at the finish and has obviously trained on well since finishing third over 1200 metres at Trentham a fortnight ago. She should appreciate the step up to 1600 metres this Saturday but has a wide draw to overcome and faces a very strong field in the fillies’ feature. Samantha Collett has been booked to ride her.

   Her race-rival Chic was let off with just 1000 metres at half-pace this morning. She also looks to have trained on the right way since her last start, when finishing eighth over 1600 metres at Hastings on New Year’s Day. She has drawn well at barrier two and will be ridden by Jonathan Riddell.

   Cafe Culture, who heads north for a Rating 85 race over 2000 metres at Matamata on Saturday, was given another 1000-metre gallop this morning and looked to be working well at the finish when clocking 1:8.3, the last 600 in 37.2 Craig Grylls has been booked to ride him.

   Edge Of Glory and Darci’s Day, two horses preparing for next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, turned in a quick 1000 metres in 1:1.5, the last 600 in 36.3. Edge Of Glory will contest the Rating 65 race over 2000 metres at Hastings while Darci’s Day will run in the Maiden 1200.

   Pakapunch and Razzle Dazzle Man, two others likely to start at next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, worked together over 1000 metres in 1:6, the last 600 in 38.1 while Glorios sprinted 800 metres in 49.1, the last 600 in 35.7.

   Rocky Ride, entered for the Rating 65 race over 1400 metres at Trentham on Saturday, was let off with an easy 1000 metres in 1:15, the last 600 in 43.5 while stablemate Wait A Sec underwent similar work with 1000 metres in 1:13.4, the last 600 in 39.5.

   Irish Star was kept under a good hold when running a solo 1000 metres in 1:11.9, the last 600 in 39.7. He turned in a good debut performance for fifth over 1200 metres at Wanganui a fortnight ago.

   A Per Incanto three-year-old filly prepared by Waipukurau trainers Penny and Tony Ebbett, finished ahead of Single Girl at the end of an easy 600 metres in 39.9.


Cafe Culture was hitting out strongly over the final stages of a solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session as he prepares for Saturday’s Matamata meeting,

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

   Cafe Culture worked in from about the 1400-metre peg and was timed from the 1200 in 1:17.4. He was only going easily until the 600-metre peg in 41.2 but then quickened appreciably over the last 600 in 36.2 and looked to be full of running at the finish.

   The Citi Habit gelding was a fast finishing fourth over 2100 metres at Tauranga in his middle distance debut and will contest a $25,000 Rating 85 race over 2100 metres at Matamata Craig Grylls has been booked to ride him.

   Goodsav, a definite chance in Saturday’s Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham worked early in the session in company with stablemate Casino Jack. They were sent over 1200 metres, running the last 600 in 38.5. Goodsav recorded a good third against the older horses in a Rating 65 trace over 1200 metres on the first day of the Wellington meeting and looks to have trained on well since. Sam Collett has been booked to ride her.

   Chic, another entered for the Desert Gold Stakes, worked with stablemate Rocky Ride over an easy 1000 metres in 1:9.7, the last 600 in 39.7. Chic was also full of running at the finish and is very well going into Saturday’s stakes race. She would only need to strike a reasonably firm track to be competitive. Jonathan Riddell has been booked to ride her.

   Rocky Ride will contest the Rating 65 race over 1400 metres at Trentham on Saturday.

   Miss Cobra ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:9.8, the last 600 in 39.4. She will have a jumpout at Hastings next Thursday before resuming racing at the Wanganui meeting on February 18.

   A Cape Blanco three-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen was given an easy run over 800 metres in 58.5, the last 600 in 43.9.


   A fast 800-metre by In Another Life and a good solo effort by Ily Lily were the highlights in a reasonably quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

   Fast worked was confined to the plough which provided a good galloping surface after overnight rain.

   In Another Life showed a good turn of speed over 800 metres in 48.8, the last 600 in 35.6. The Per Incanto three-year-old was a last start maiden winner at Hastings in November and will kick off a fresh campaign at Saturday’s Wellington Cup day at Trentham. Trainer Patrick Campbell has the horse nominated for two races; the three-year-old 1200-metre event and a Rating 65 over the same distance, and will decide later in the week which one to run in.

   Ily Lily also worked well on her own when running 800 metres in 50.5, the last 600 in 36.4. She is also a Per Incanto filly and has had two starts for a fifth and an eighth for owner-trainer Kim Grant.

   Chic, preparing for the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday week, was let off with a very easy run over 1000 metres in 1:18.9, the last 600 in 46.5. Trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have just kept the Savabeel filly ticking over since her race at Hastings on New Year’s Day and have engaged Jonathan Riddell to ride her in the Desert Gold.

   Adventador, who credited Lowry and Cullen with their second win in the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap when successful last Saturday, is now having a freshen up before they decide where he will start next.

   Powerade and My Tommy, two horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable entered for Saturday’s Wellington meeting, worked together over 1000 metres in 1:8.5, the last 600 in 40.4. Powerade will contest the Rating 65 race over 1600 metres while My Tommy is in the Special Conditions 1400.

   Cajun, preparing for the Woodville Cup next Monday, had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running an easy 1200 metres in 1:25.7, the last 600 in 40.5 while Zed Leppelin was also kept under a good hold when running 800 metres in 56.7, the last 600 in 41.7.

  Glorios, a Rios four-year-old mare trained by Kim Grant, took 41.6 for 600 metres in what was her first serious run along.



   Promising three-year-old filly Goodsav rounded off her preparation for Saturday’s Wellington meeting with a 600-metre run at just three-quarter pace at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was very little in the way of fast work, which was confined to the plough (good).

   Goodsav was kept under a strong hold throughout 600 metres in 44.2s. She looks bright in condition and has freshened up well since finishing ninth in the Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki at the end of November.

   The Savabeel filly takes on a strong field in the Rating 75 race over 1200 metres at Trentham and will be racing in blinkers for the first time. Trainer Patrick Campbell expects her to be a bit outpaced in the early stages but wants to see her finishing the race off strongly as a lead up to the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30.

   Adventador, preparing for Saturday’s Group 1 Telegraph Sprint (1200m), was restricted to just half-pace in his work this morning. The big Fast ‘N’ Famous gelding has freshened up well since his last start third over 1300 metres at Hastings on New Year’s Day.

   Cafe Culture, entered for the Rating 85 race over 2100 metres at Tauranga on Saturday, worked very early in the session over 800 metres but was not timed. Owner-trainer Margaret Larsen said the horse faces a big test this weekend as it will be his first trip away, his first race on a right-handed track and his first start at a distance beyond 1600 metres. Mark Hills has been booked to ride him.

   Dukebox had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when working twice over 600 metres on the plough. He went very easily for the first one and clocked 38s for the second.

   A Guillotine-Mal three-year-old gelding worked in from the 1000-metre peg on his own in 1:9.2, running home the last 600 in 39.5 while a Citi Habit four-year0-old mare ran an easy 600 metres in 40.1.


Hawke’s Bay-owned Survived has been retired 13 Jan 2016

The Group 1 winner Survived has run his last race.

   The horse’s Hawke’s Bay owner-breeder Don Gordon made the decision to retire the Zed six-year-old after he managed to beat only two other horses home when eighth over 2100 metres at Ellerslie last Saturday.

    It was the horse’s fifth start since joining the stable of Moira Murdoch at Waiuku and followed four 1600-metre races this season, the best result being a fresh up third at Te Rapa in October.

   “Moira rang me after Saturday’s race and I said that’s the finish,” Gordon revealed this week.

   “We had been contemplating retiring him after his previous run but we thought we would give him one more chance over a bit more ground.

   “He looked well and did a good preliminary before the start but he just didn’t finish the race off like we know he can so we’ve decided to retire him.”

   Survived had 30 starts for seven wins, two seconds and two thirds and had stake earnings of more than $353,000.

   His best win came in the 2013 running of the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings while he also recorded three Group 3 victories, in the Manawatu Classic (2000m), Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) and Tauranga Stakes (1600m).

   He also had two starts in Australia and finished second behind Hawkspur in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2100m) at Doomben.

   Survived began his racing career from the Hastings stable of John Bary, who prepared him for all seven wins. He was then transferred to another Hastings trainer, Kelly Burne, for a short time before heading north to Murdoch, who uses Waiuku Beach a lot to train her horses.

   “The horse had a lot of problems, through no fault of his own, and unfortunately wasn’t able to overcome the problems he had,” Gordon added.

   Don Gordon has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years and has enjoyed success in the past with other notable horses like Mun Lee (14 wins), Secrecy (7 wins), Full Noise (7 wins) and Dancing Daze (6 wins).

   He bred Survived out of the Generous mare Liberal, who produced only one other foal before she died and that was the one race winner Quality Street.

   This year will be the 60th time Gordon has offered yearlings for sale at the national sales. He has a filly by Per Incanto out of Dancing Daze at the Select session and is also in partnership with Little Avondale Stud in a filly by Nadeem out of Lady Beretta that will be offered at the festival sale.


Sacred Elixir bred by HB man

   Prominent Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred breeder Graham de Gruchy stands to win $10,000 if the promising youngster Sacred Elixir wins New Zealand’s richest race at Ellerslie on January 24.

   De Gruchy is the breeder of the Sacred Elixir who booked his place in the $1m Karaka Million with a game victory in the $20,000 Countdown to Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie last Saturday.


   The gelding’s earnings of $12,000 will be enough to secure a start in the Karaka Million, placing him ninth on the order of entry. The breeder of the winner of the Karaka Million will receive $10,000 while the breeders of every other runner in the race will receive a bonus of $2000.

   Trained by Tony Pike, Sacred Elixir was narrowly beaten at Ellerslie on December 28. The son of Pour Moi settled in the trail last Saturday before peeling out inside the last 200m to challenge the leader, The Soultaker. The pair battled out the race with Sacred Elixir getting the upper hand late in the race to win by a nose.

   “He was a nice yearling but doesn’t look like a two-year-old, he’s a big boy”, commented Pike. “I thought we got out-bobbed again.”

   De Gruchy put Sacred Elixir through last year’s Karaka sales as part of the Wentwood Grange Stud draft and the horse was purchased by Raffles Racing and Guy Mulcaster for $170,000.

   He is the first foal out of Baltika, a Stravinsky mare who is a granddaughter of champion mare Horlicks.

   De Gruchy raced Horlicks from the O’Sullivan stable at Matamata and the Three Legs mare won 17 races, six at Group 1 level including the Group 1 Japan Cup in world record time.

   Sacred Elixir is the second New Zealand winner for his sire Pour Moi who shuttled to Windsor Park Stud. The stallion has 36 yearlings catalogued at this month’s National Yearling Sales Series.


Saavoya back in winning form

   Quality Hawke’s Bay-owned racemare Saavoya returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since her three-year-old days when she took out the Pukekohe Veterinary Centre sponsored Rating 85 1400 metre contest at Ellerslie last Saturday.

   It was the now four-year-old mare’s third appearance after a lengthy break following a three-year-old campaign that saw her post a Group 2 double with victories in both the Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie.

   Several niggling issues had seen her return to the race track this season delayed until November last year with her races in this preparation carefully spaced as she returned to full fitness.

   “She had a big season as a three-year-old so we were always going to give her plenty of time before we brought her back for this campaign,” noted co-trainer Andrew Forsman.

   “She has had a couple of setbacks along the way so we just took it quietly as we looked to bring her back to her peak. She is still a wee way off her best but it was good to see her show plenty of fight on Saturday and get the win.”

   Forsman is now keen to see the mare step up in distance as he and co-trainer Murray Baker plot a course for her over the next few months.

   “She drew away nicely on Saturday over the 1400 metres which suggests she is looking for a mile or more now,” he said.

   “We think she is probably at her best at a mile so there are some nice options for her over the next couple of months. We may back her up at Tauranga this weekend and then look to some black-type options after that.”

   Saavoya is owned by the Waimarama Partnership Syndicate, a group set up by Murray Andersen and his wife Jo. The Andersens are major shareholders in the syndicate with the others involved being their three daughters and their husbands, Murray’s sister Sharyn and her husband Mike Craig and Dave and Jenny Morison. Almost all of the group reside in Hawke’s Bay.


Derby aspirations

   Mackintosh, a three-year-old part-owned by Hawke’s Bay man John Bridge, took a giant step towards a start in the Group 1$750,000 BMW New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 5 when he accounted for a handy field of three-year-olds over 1500 metres at last Saturday’s Auckland meeting.

   The Pins gelding was given a sweet trip in the trail by Samantha Collett and took control over the closing 200 metres to beat Raghu by half a length, with favourite His Majesty three-quarters of a length back in third place.

   “We’ve got aspirations for the New Zealand Derby for him so let’s hope he keeps on improving,” said John Bridge, who shares in the ownership with his son James, who prepares the gelding from his Byerley Park stable at Karaka.

   “He’s quite a big, lean horse who has taken some time to mature,” Bridge added.

   Mackintosh was offered by Waikato Stud as a weanling and the 2013 Karaka mixed bloodstock sale and was snapped up by the Bridges for just $11,000. He has now had three starts for two wins and a fourth.

   He is out of the Generous mare Lolly Scramble and a grandson of the high-class racemare Bali Sugar.


By-monthly award

   Taradale’s Kevin Williams is the recipient of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners by-monthly award for the months of October and November.

   Williams has been a shareholder in a number of horses over the years, most of them trained at Awapuni by Lisa Latta. He is presently a member of a large group that race the capable galloper Golden Bay from the Latta stable and the Perfectly Ready gelding won a Rating 65 race over 1400 metres at Woodville on October 15.



   A quick 800-metre gallop by the stablemates Goodsav and Casino Jack and a sound solo workout from Cafe Culture were the highlights at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Goodsav and Casino Jack sped over 80-0 metres in 48.6, running the first 200 metres in 13.2 and the final 600 in 35.4. Goodsav is a likely starter in the Rating 75 race over 1200 metres at this Saturday’s Wellington meeting and will be using the race as a trial run before the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30. Lisa Allpress has been booked to ride her again on Saturday.

   Casino Jack worked the best he has done for some time and is close to a return to racing for trainer Patrick Campbell.

   Cafe Culture worked in from the 1200-metre peg on his own in 1:20.8, running the first 600 in an easy 43.5 before quickening over the last 600 in 37.3. He missed a start at the abandoned Wairarapa meeting on January 2 and will now head to Tauranga this Saturday for a Rating 85 race over 2100 metres. Mark Hills has been booked to ride him.

   Adventador, who will line up in Saturday’s Group 1 $250,000 Telegraph Handicap  at Trentham, was let off with an easy 800 metres in 56.2, the last 600 in 41.5. The big Fast ‘N’ Famous gelding finished sixth in last year’s 1200-metre feature.

   Wait A Sec ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:5.7, the last 600 in 38.2. He will contest the Rating 65 race over 1400 metres at Saturday’s Wellington meeting with Johnathon Parkes booked to ride him.

   Lamborghini, entered for Thursday’s Wanganui meeting, was let off with just 1000 metres at three-quarter pace, the last 600 in 44.9. He was narrowly beaten at Hastings last start and deserves to break through for a maiden win after several minor placings.

   Not Allowed, another entered for Wanganui on Thursday, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1200-metre peg in 1:25.8, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 39.

   Runny Honey and Ooee worked together over 1000 metres in 1:7, the last 600 in 37.7. and Runny Honey will be entered for the Rating 65 race over 2100 metres at Trentham on Saturday.

   Cajun was not hurried when running 1000 metres in 1:8.9, the last 600 in 40.2 while her stablemate Dukebox was also kept under a good hold when running 1000 metres in 1:13.2, the last 600 in 42.1.

   The promising three-year-old filly Miss Cobra recorded 57.6 for an easy 800 metres, the last 600 in 43 while a Citi Habit four-year-old mare in the Kelly Burne stable was only doing three-quarter pace over 1000 metres in 1:13.6, the last 600 in 42.3.

Derby aspirations with HB winner My Tommy 8 Jan 2016

   Hastings-trained My Tommy, an impressive debut maiden winner at last Friday’s Hawke’s Bay New Year’s Day meeting, could now be on a path to the Group 1 $750,000 BMW New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 5.

   The three-year-old Towkay gelding is prepared on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen for his Hawke’s Bay owners Tim Symes and his son Wilfred.

   Tim Symes has bred numerous horses over the years and trained most of them himself. But he presently has My Tommy with Lowry and Cullen and the horse’s half-brother, Viceroy, with Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers.

   Not that Symes doesn’t keep a keen interest in what his horses are doing. He is at the Hastings track most mornings to keep an eye on My Tommy and regularly tries to contact Kevin Myers to check on the plans for Viceroy.

   Symes has always had a high opinion of My Tommy and last week’s win has him now setting some lofty heights for the three-year-old.

   “That win should assure him a start in a $50,000 Special Conditions race at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie and, if he was to go well again there, it could be enough to get him a start in the Derby,” Symes said.

   The Special Conditions race at Ellerslie on January 24 is only over 1600 metres and My Tommy would obviously need to progress over longer distances after that to be a realistic NZ Derby contender.

   Jockey Johnathon Parkes was certainly impressed with My Tommy’s winning performance last week, saying the horse had to do a fair bit of work in the running but was still good enough to kick clear in the final stages to win by three-quarters of a length.

   My Tommy is out of the Spectacular Love mare Love Proposal that Tim and Wilfred Symes bought off another Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred breeder, Rob Mulcaster, for $15,000.

   The first foal the Symes raced out of the mare was Sordid Affair who won four races. The second was The Veep whose 10 wins included a Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Cup and Viceroy (2 wins) was the third foal.

   My Tommy is the last foal produced by Love Proposal, who is now 21 years old.


Happiness all round

   Keep Us Happy, a horse bought by two close Hawke’s Bay friends because she was related to another good one they raced, came up trumps for them at last week’s Hawke’s Bay New Year’s Day meeting.

   The four-year-old Keeper mare, trained on the Hastings track by Patrick Campbell, is owned by Napier’s Buddy Beachen and Hastings-based Dean Smith.

   The two men have raced a number of horses together over the years with one of the best they were involved in being Nanjara, a mare that won five races from the Awapuni stable of Lisa Latta including the  $100,000 Manawatu Cup in 2007.

   “The reason we bought this one (Keep Us Happy) was because she was related to Nanjara,” Smith recalled this week.

   The two men paid $3000 for Keep Us Happy at the 2013 Select session of the Karaka yearling sales and she has now had nine starts for a win, a second and a third.

   Keep Us Happy is out of the Straight Strike mare Rock The Kasbar and a half-sister to another horse Smith and Beachen shared in the ownership in called Piet Rox (2 wins).

   Other New Zealand winners out of the mare have been Rock’O (4 wins), Bedrock (2 wins) and Methodical (1 win) while another of the progeny, Rockalot, has been a prolific winner in Hong Kong.


No excuses this time

   Hastings-trained Xcuses Xcuses went some way towards fulfilling her early promise when she led all the way for a decisive three-quarter length win in a Rating 65 race over 1200 metres at last week’s Taupo meeting.

   The four-year-old No Excuse Needed mare was recording just her second win but it was only her ninth start after she missed most of last season through injury.

   Trainer John Bary revealed that Xcuses Xcuses suffered a cracked splint bone when finishing an unlucky eighth in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings in September 2014 and she never raced again until March last year, when successful over 1000 metres at Tauherenikau.

   Last week’s Taupo run was her second start back this campaign and followed a fresh up second over 1200 metres at Waipukurau on December 6. She now has a record of two wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts.

   Bary bred Xcuses Xcuses in partnership with long time stable client Ivan Grieve and she is out of the Shinko King mare Xpectacular, who was the winner of one race from only two starts.

   Xcuses Xcuses is now raced by Bary and Grieve along with Bary’s racing manager Mike Sanders and two other stable clients in Havelock North’s Tony Clark and Auckland-based Narendra Balia.

   Bary said Excuses Xcuses will probably line up next in a Rating 75 race over 1200 metres at Trentham tomorrow week.


Mare flies in

   The Hawke’s Bay connections of Missteeflying ended the year 2015 on a high when the mare brought up her fourth success with an easy win in a Rating 65 race over 1800 metres at Kurow on December 30.

   The Perfectly Ready mare was bred by two Havelock North men, Peter Rochester and Hamish MacGregor and they are members of an all Hawke’s Bay syndicate that races her. The others are MacGregor’s wife Katherine, Ross and Caroline Caulton, Jeremy Harrison, Margaret Kenny, Barry and Wendy McGaveston, Andrew Mulligan, Rachel Pedersen and Ron and Pam White.

    Missteeflying is out of the Black Minnaloushe mare Miss Toffelees and is an older half-sister to Pop Hit, another horse bred by Rochester and raced by him along with several other members of the Hawke’s Bay syndicate.

   Pop Hit broke through for a maiden win over 1200 metres at Ashburton on December 18 and followed that up with a second over 1050 metres at Wednesday’s Reefton meeting.

    Missteeflying was ridden to victory at Kurow by apprentice Brett Murray. He settled her in third place until the home turn before kicking her clear in the lead and only had to keep her going with a hands and heels ride over the final stages to score by 2 lengths.


Track specialist

   Ballybay, part-owned by Napier man Paddy Murphy, showed why he is regarded as a Tauherenikau track specialist by adding another victory on the course at last Saturday’s Wairarapa meeting.

   The five-year-old Sandtrap gelding was having his fifth start on the course and now has a record of three wins, a second and a third there.

   Ballybay had to lump topweight of 60kg in a Rating 65 race over 1000 metres and, after disputing the pace, he kicked on strongly for rider Lisa Allpress to beat The Bandito by half a head.

   Ballybay is prepared by Woodville trainer Shane Brown but began his racing career with Foxton trainer Grant Laursen. He is by Sandtrap out of the Exploding Prospect mare Gee Baby, who was the winner of five races.


Yearling parade

   A special public viewing of a number of yearlings being offered at both this month’s New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka sale and those headed to Australia for the 2016 Inglis Classic sale will be held at Lime Country Thoroughbreds this Sunday, January 10. The parade will begin at 10.30am at Greg and Jo Griffin’s Lime Country yearling barn at Okawa, on the Taihape Road.


Hastings mission

   The Group 3 $70,000 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes at Hastings on March 2 is likely to be the next big test for star filly Sofia Rosa.

   The Makfi filly bounced back to her best with a decisive 1-1/2 length win in last Friday’s Auckland meeting and her Cambridge trainer, Stephen Marsh, now has two important autumn assignments planned for the three-year-old.

   “She came through last week’s race really well and she’s now gone to the paddock for three weeks,” Marsh said.

   “She’ll come back to get ready for the Lowland Stakes and then straight into the New Zealand Oaks. The Lowland fits in well now it’s not on Derby day and we don’t have to worry about looking for riders.”

   The Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) will be run at Trentham on March 19 and is also the final race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series. Risque, who won the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November, presently leads the series with 10 points, with Sofia Rosa and Capella equal second on eight points.

   The next race in the series will be the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30.


   There was very little action at this morning’s Hastings track session, with most of the horses restricted to just pacework.

   Miss Cobra, a promising three-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable, was kept to just three-quarter pace over 800 metres on the plough in 59.2, the last 600 in 43.4. The Iffraaj filly recorded a win and a third from five starts earlier this season but is still several weeks away from returning to the race track.

    Don’t Change was schooled over the pony jumps in the bullring before running an easy 1000 metres in 1:14.8, the last 600 in 43.6. He has been on race day after showing plenty in track gallops and jumpouts.

   A Guillotine-Mal three-year-old gelding in the Lowry/Cullen stable ran an easy 800 metres in 59.6, the last 600 in 44.1.



Class mare Recite showed she is right on target for the Group 1 $250,000 Telegraph Handicap at Trentham on Saturday week with an impressive win in a 1000-metre jumpout at the Hastings track this morning.

   There were five jumpouts held up against the running rail on the course proper, which provided good footing.

   Recite was opposed by two others, Casino Jack and Wait A Sec, in the second of two 1000-metre heats. The Darci Brahma mare bounced the gates brilliantly to take an early lead and was kept under a hold for the first 400 metres before sprinting home the last 600 for an easy 8 length win. Her winning time was 59.9s and she looked to be doing her work well at the finish.

   Trainer John Bary was pleased with the way Recite jumped away quickly from the barrier, saying she had been a bit slow to begin in her last couple of starts. The mare has not raced since finishing last in the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Trentham in October but has a good fresh up record.

   Goodsav was the other star galloper on show at the jumpouts. The Savabeel filly finished a close second behind stablemate In Another Life in a 750-metre heat but could have won had she been asked for a serious effort. In Another Life’s winning time of 45.1s was easily the fastest of the three 750-metre heats.

  Goodsav, who is the winner of two of her three starts, is likely to start next in a Rating 75 race at Trentham on Saturday week as a lead up to the Group 3 $70,000 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) on the same track a fortnight later.


Jumpout results


   Heat 1, 750: Duelled 3yr-old filly (L Beacham) 1, Redoute’s Choice-Cierzo filly 2, Thorn Park 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: 1-1/4 lengths, 6 lengths. Time: 46.5s. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

   Heat 2, 750m: Thewayutwist (K Donnelly) 1, Bachelor Duke 3yr-old gelding 2, Citi Habit 4yr-old mare 3. Five starters. Margins: Long neck, ½ length. Time: 47.1s. Winner trained by Kylie Wakely, Hastings.

   Heat 3, 750m: In Another Life (R Fraser) 1, Goodsav 2, Steppenwolf 3. Three starters. Margins: Long head, Neck. Time: 45.1s. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

   Heat 4, 1000m: Hokey Pokey (T Morgan) 1, Irish Star 2, Darci Brahma 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: 2-3/4 lengths, 6 lengths. Time: 60.6s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

   Heat 5, 1000m: Recite (T Morgan), 1, Casino Jack 2, Wait A Sec 3. Three starters. Margins: 8 lengths, 1-3/4 lengths. Time: 59.9s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

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