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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 28 Feb 2020

One Hastings-trained winner at Wairoa

(By John Jenkins)

   Hastings stables were only lightly represented at this year’s annual Wairoa meeting compared to previous years but managed to pick up one win over the two days.

   The Patrick Campbell-trained Maria Dior took out the opening event on the first day, coming from off the pace to get up in the last stride for a half-head victory in a $12,000 Rating 72 race over 1300m.

   It was the Rip Van Winkle mare’s third win from 16 starts and she has also chalked up three seconds and three fourths for her Hastings owner-breeder Chris Russell.

   Maria Dior had been freshened since her last start fifth over 1200m at Trentham on January 11 and had the services of top woman jockey Samantha Collett when she stepped out at Wairoa on Thursday of last week.

   Normally a front runner, Maria Dior dwelt slightly at the start and had to be hunted up to take a prominent early position. She then looked under pressure coming to the home turn but, once Collett angled her into the clear, she finished the race off strongly to get up and snatch a half-head victory over Desert Magic.

   Collett said later that it was only in the last five strides, when Maria Dior saw the horse inside her, that she really put in some big bounds.

   Maria Dior is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Dorotea Dior, a horse that was also trained at Hastings by Patrick Campbell and who only had nine starts for two wins, two seconds and a third.

   She is also the dam of the winners Donna Beel, O’Reilly’s Choice and Jonny Russ while Chris Russell now has an unraced two-year-old gelding by Reliable Man out of the mare coming on.

   “Since she produced the Reliable Man two-year-old she has missed getting in foal to Rip Van Winkle and unfortunately slipped a foal to Preferment but is now back in foal to Preferment again,” Chris Russell said this week.

Hastings-trained Maria Dior sticks out her neck to claim a half-head win over Desert Magic in a Rating 72 race over 1300m at Wairoa on Thursday of last week. It was the Rip Van Winkle mare’s third win from 17 starts.


Promising jumper put down

   The Hastings training partnership of Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal has had the misfortune to lose the promising jumper Look Out, with the horse having to be put down after suffering a broken leg in a paddock accident earlier this month.

   Look Out was one of several horses Paul and Carol Nelson and their staff had to shift from small paddocks close to their house to a bigger one further back after a raging fire threatened to engulf their property in the first week of February.

   “The fire had started on a property opposite us but had jumped the road and we were told to evacuate,” Nelson recalled last Sunday.

   “I told them we are not leaving until we shift our horses to a big paddock at the back which we did.

   “One of the other horses must have kicked Look Out at some stage after that. He only had a small nick on his leg, but it was broken.”

   The Nelsons also lost a young horse by Niagara, after it become entangled in a fence.

   Look Out was the winner of six races from only 26 starts and had also recorded four seconds and a third.

   He looked to have a promising career as a jumper after winning his hurdle debut by 1-1/2 lengths over 3000m at Rotorua in September last year.

   Successful jumps jockey Aaron Kuru was aboard Look Out for that hurdle victory and rated him a top jumper in the making.

   Kuru also rode Look Out to two of his five wins on the flat and, on another occasion, the Nom de Jeu seven-year-old lumped 70kg to win the Duke Of Gloucester Cup (2200m) for amateur riders at Waverley last winter.

   Look Out was raced by a syndicate made up of Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu people that included Paul Nelson and the horse’s owner-breeder Gary Freeman.

Look Out and jockey Aaron Kuru clear the last fence in impressive style on the way to winning a 3000m hurdle race at Rotorua in September last year. The horse had to unfortunately be put down after suffering broken leg.


Plushenko part of Wairoa dead-heat

   Plushenko, part-owned by Hastings woman Irene Downey and her son Josh, chalked up the second win of his career when he dead-heated for first with Capellani in a Rating 65 race over 1900m on the first day of last week’s Wairoa meeting.

   The Downeys are part of a syndicate that races Plushenko from the Waiuku stable of Grant and Tana Shaw.

   The Rock ‘N’ Pop five-year-old has had 24 starts for two wins, two seconds, three thirds and five fourths. His maiden success came over 1600m at Te Rapa in December.

   Capellani looked the likely outright winner of the Wairoa race when jockey Cameron Lammas shot him to the front half-way down the home straight. But Plushenko, ridden by apprentice Ashvin Goindasamy, made a desperate late lunge and the two horses crossed the line locked together.


Third Group 1 win for Avantage

   Avantage, part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby, chalked up her third Group 1 success when she took out the $200,000 Haunui Farm Weight-for-age at Otaki last Saturday.

   The Fastnet Rock mare recorded her first success at the elite level when winning the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old and then added a second when taking out last month’s Telegraph Sprint (1200m) at Trentham.

   Ormsby is part of the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate that races Avantage from the Matamata stable of Jamie Richards and also has shares in other Te Akau syndicates.

   Avantage has now had 16 starts for nine wins, three seconds and a third and has amassed more than $1.3million in stakes, an outstanding return on the $210,000 Te Akau principal David Ellis outlayed to buy the then yearling filly at the 2017 Karaka sales.

   Last Saturday’s Group 1 race at Otaki resulted in a domination by the Te Akau stable of Jamie Richards as it produced a one-two finish in the feature, with Avantage staving off a late challenge from stablemate Prise De Fer to win by three-quarters of a length.    

   Danielle Johnson settled Avantage three back on the inner and bided her time until just before turning into the home straight.

   While most riders skirted wide on their mounts rounding the turn, Johnson saved valuable lengths by sticking to just a couple of horse-widths off the rail and found herself in front soon after straightening for the run home.

   Johnson, who had been aboard the Fastnet Rock mare when she took out the Group 1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old, admitted a conversation with Richards before the race had helped her to make the decision to follow an inside path.

   “She’s pretty quirky but the team do a good job with her and she has delivered the goods today,” Johnson said.

   “I had a chat to Jamie and watching some of the previous races they haven’t been coming too wide, so we opted to stay in a little and it’s paid off.

   “I was mindful not to go too soon on her as it was a mile today so I had to count to ten which jockeys aren’t too good at.

   “I did have a few thoughts go through my head when I saw the tangerine (Prise De Fer) outside me and they weren’t too pleasant, but we still won.”


Kiwi Catalyst is after blood  

   New Zealand trainer Clayton Chipperfield is brimming with confidence as he prepares class colt Catalyst for a repeat clash with outstanding Australian-trained Alligator Blood in tomorrow’s $A1million Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.

   In a race that will go down as one of the best clashes in recent racing history, Alligator Blood prevailed by a short head over Catalyst in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) on the Flemington track a fortnight ago after the two horses went head-to-head for the entire length of the long home straight.

   In the much-hyped rematch, Catalyst has been installed the $2.60 favourite ahead of his bigger opponent, who is a $3 chance in what is a deep field, with plenty of potential wildcards that could spoil the match race.

   The big thing in Catalyst’s favour this time is that he will meet Alligator Blood at even weights after having to concede the Queensland champ a kilogram when they last met.

   Alligator Blood’s trainer David Vandyke, whilst happy with his horse’s condition and progress since his last start win, is mindful that the All Too Hard gelding has raced or trialled every month since July last year which could be a taxing factor.

   Catalyst has also been in work for the entire season and has been racing since September but has had his races well-spaced by his Te Awamutu trainer Clayton Chipperfield. 

   “I think he is getting better,” Chipperfield said of Catalyst.

   “I gave him a run along on Saturday and I think he has definitely improved.”

   The former jumps jockey-turned-trainer believes track conditions should be a lot more suitable for his charge this weekend.

   “With the downgrade of the track and the rain on the day, we didn’t see that brilliance last-start, but we have never seen him in a dogfight either, so to see him do that and not lie down certainly gives us a bit more confidence,” he said.

   Catalyst will be ridden by Damian Lane in tomorrow’s assignment, his third jockey in as many starts, but Chipperfield doesn’t believe that will be an issue.

   “I am sure James (McDonald) and Damian had a good chat after the Hayes,” Chipperfield said. 

Hastings Jumpouts 27 Feb 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Miss Labasa and an Ekraar mare were two of the more impressive winners at today’s Hastings jumpouts.

   There were six heats, run up against the inside running rail, where the ground was firm.

   Miss Labasa recorded the fastest time of the four 750m heats when she cruised to a five length win in 44.1s. The John Bary-trained mare led all the way and it was an impressive performance, considering she was carrying in excess of 70kg.

   Miss Labasa has not raced since she suffered a bleeding attack when finishing last over 1400m at Trentham in early December.

   The Swiss Ace mare is the winner of three races and Bary is planning for her to resume in a 1000m Rating 82 event at Tauherenikau on March 22.

   An Ekraar four-year-old mare trained by Pam Holden clocked 44.4s when winning her 750m heat, beating Valardi by three-quarters of length, with a Per Incanto-Queen Aly three-year-old gelding and Spydapus both close up in third and fourth.

   It was the Ekraar mare’s second win at the jumpouts and she shows good promise.




Heat 1, 400m: Rock ‘N’ Pop-Tollerance 2yr-old filly (L. Hemi) 1, The Bold One 2yr-old filly 2. Two starters. Margin: Head. Time: 27.7s. Winner trained by Lee Somervell, Hastings.

Heat 2, 750m: Reliable Man-Dorotea Dior 2yr-old gelding (T Allan) 1, The Bold One 2yr-old filly 2, Super Easy-All In Grace 2yr-old gelding 3. Five starters. Margins: 2-1/2 lengths, 2 lengths. Time: 47.9s. Winner trained by Anita Gardner, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Ekraar 4yr-old mare (T Allan) 1, Valardi 2, Per Incanto-Queen Aly 3yr-old gelding 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, long head. Time: 44.4s Winner trained by Pam Holden, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Atlante 3yr-old filly (Z Thomson) 1, Can I Get An Amen 2, Flying Habit 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 2 lengths. Time: 44.9s. Winner trained by Steven Carey, Hastings.

Heat 5, 750m: Miss Labasa (Z Thomson) 1, Penny Royal 2, Mohaka 3. Four starters. Margins: 5 lengths, 1 length. Time: 44.1s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: My Tommy (T Allan) 1, Smokin’ Oak 2, Cool Hand Duke 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, 2-1/4 lengths. Time: 1:01.5. Winner trained by Tim Symes, Hastings.



(By John Jenkins)


   Atlanta Peach showed she is coming up well in a new preparation when she worked keenly on her own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Atlanta Peach was only meant to work at three-quarter pace over 800m but was keen to go a lot faster and clocked 54.4 for the full distance, coming home the last 600 in 39.9. The Bullbars mare has not raced since finishing eight in the Group 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa in December and is being geared up for an autumn campaign. She excels on rain affected tracks.

   Her stablemate Mohaka, another who looks to be coming up well in a new campaign, was restricted to not much more than half-pace over 800m.

   One Prize One Goal, who could line up at Awapuni on Friday, ran a solo 1000m in 1:9.5, coming home the last 600 in 39.9. He finished fourth over 1400m at Awapuni last start and has had a freshen up since.

   Thousandkissessdeep, another who could line up at Awapuni on Friday, was let off with an easy 800m in 60, the last 600 in 43.1. She is a three-year-old filly by Sepoy who was formerly trained in the north and is now in the Hastings stable of Lee Somervell.

   A Super Easy-All In Grace two-year-old gelding and a Savabeel-Elusive Nature two-year-old filly, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, worked together over 600m in 39.1 and both were travelling keenly at the finish.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 21 Feb 2020

Vroom rewards owners’ patience

(By John Jenkins)

   Vroom, a $200 purchase as a weanling, is proving a real bargain buy for her Hawke’s Bay owners, the newly engaged couple Grant Cullen and Nikki Lourie.

  The five-year-old Nadeem mare chalked up her first win when taking out a $10,000 maiden race over 1600m at Gisborne last Sunday but had also recorded a second, a third and two fourths from six previous starts and has now built her stake earnings to $10,250.

   Cullen and Lourie bought Vroom as a weanling from the 2015 Karaka Mixed Bloodstock sale, believing that with time she could develop into something a lot better than her purchase price indicated.

   They have had to wait four years for a return but, in the meantime, they have also had a boost on their investment through the achievements of a full-sister to Vroom called Tinkalicious.

   That six-year-old mare is trained at New Plymouth by Janelle Millar and has recorded five wins and 10 minor placings from 27 starts to date for stake earnings of more than $110,000.

   Cullen, who trains Vroom in partnership with Guy Lowry, said they bought her on type and because she was going so cheap.

   “We always knew she would take time and so we haven’t been in any hurry with her,” Cullen said this week.

   “We didn’t break her in until she was a late three-year-old and we have just given her time to mature.”

   Vroom only started racing in July last year and showed very little in her first two starts before an encouraging third over 1200m at Waipukurau in December. She followed that up with a second over 1400m at Hastings and has not finished further back than fourth in three starts since.

   Before her Gisborne success Vroom had recorded two fourths over 1400m, at Otaki and Hastings, where she had got back in the running and was running on strongly at the finish. The extra 200 metres at Gisborne last Sunday proved to be ideal.

   Rider Holly Andrew settled the mare back second last for the first half of the race before starting a forward move that had her just in behind the leaders turning into the home straight. She then had to come across the heels of horses in front to get a run but once Vroom got into the clear she charged home to win by a long neck from Piping Hot, with Rocking Along half a length back in third.

   Cullen said Vroom has come through her win in great order and will now line up in a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 1600m at Hastings next Wednesday.

   “The step up to 1600 metres obviously helped at Gisborne and it looks like she could get up to a middle distance,” Cullen added.

Vroom (outside) gets up in the last few strides top score a long neck win in a maiden 1600m race at Gisborne last Sunday. The Nadeem five-year-old cost her Hawke’s Bay owners just $200 as a weanling.


Lowland Stakes now for Unlaced

   Hastings-trained three-year-old Unlaced earned a start in the $100,000 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting with a dominant winning performance at Gisborne last Sunday.

   Trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have had the Group 2 Hastings feature in mind for the Niagara filly since she won a maiden race over 1600m on her home track last month but she had to produce another good performance at Gisborne to confirm a start.

   Unlaced certainly lived up to her high rating by scoring by 1-1/2 lengths in a Rating 65 race over 1600m at Gisborne. The filly wanted to over-race in the early stages of the race but once rider Lisa Allpress got her to settle behind the pacemaking Beau Geste she travelled nicely up to the home turn.

   Unlaced shot to the front early in the straight and kept up a strong gallop to beat stablemate Swish Az, who just headed off third placed Prodigal Son.

   “She went a bit keenly early and will need to settle a bit better if she is to run out the distance of the Lowland but it was her first start for a while and it should have taken the edge off her,” Cullen said. 

   Unlaced has now had four starts for two wins and two seconds. She is owned by Auckland-based racing photographer Trish Dunell, who bred the filly out of the Keeninsky mare Laced Up.

   Laced Up only had two starts, when trained at Hastings by John Bary. She finished second on debut over 1200m at Hastings but then sustained a severe laceration to one of her legs when next produced and never raced again.

   Dunell bought the mare for $5000 from a 2014 Karaka Mixed Bloodstock sale when she was offered by her Hawke’s Bay breeders Richard and Liz Wood.

   Unlaced is certainly bred to be good as her dam Laced Up is a half-sister to the former top class galloper Jimmy Choux, who was the winner of 12 races and five of them were at Group 1 level.

   He was also trained by John Bary and recorded New Zealand Group 1 victories in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), New Zealand Derby (2400m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic (2040m) as well as the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney. The son of Thorn Park also finished second behind Pinker Pinker in the 2011 Cox Plate (2040m) in Melbourne.

Unlaced is out on her own as she chalks up another impressive win over 1600m at Gisborne last Sunday. The Niagara filly will now contest the Group 2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes at Hastings next Wednesday.


Magic result for mare’s trainer

   Hastings trainer Fred Pratt thinks Magic Incanto has finally turned the corner after he has had to endure a frustrating run of problems with the mare over the years.

   The seven-year-old daughter of Per Incanto recorded her second win when she led practically all the way in a Rating 65 race over 1350m at Wanganui last Friday.

   That success by Magic Incanto followed a close second behind the highly rated Serena over 1300m at Hastings on January 29 and Pratt thinks the mare is finally reaching her true potential.

   “We’ve had that many problems with her which is why she hasn’t had many starts,” Pratt said.

   Magic Incanto was having only her 17th start when she stepped out at Wanganui. She bares a huge scar on her offside hind-leg, the result of her going through a fence as a young horse. She also had to be late scratched from a Waipukurau meeting last year when she injured herself during the float trip from Hastings to the races.

   She broke through for a maiden win over 1400m on her home track three starts back and is likely to have her next start in a $25,000 Rating 72 race over 1300m at next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   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 some other family friends.

   Fred Pratt is a former successful jumps jockey who 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 Victoria.

   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.

   Magic Incanto was ridden to victory last Friday but 52-year-old Tony Allan, who is best remembered as the winning jockey aboard Empire Rose when she took out the 1988 Melbourne Cup.

   Allan managed to work Magic Incanto over from an outside draw and had her in front at the end of the first 200 metres. They were taken on by another runner in the middle stages but Allan always had his mount travelling well and she produced a good kick at the top of the straight to put a winning break on the field.

  At the line she was a decisive three-quarters of a length in front of second placed Remarx.

Hastings trainer Fred Pratt leads Magic Incanto away following her success in a Rating 65 race over 1350m at Wanganui last Friday. It was the mare’s second win from her last four starts.


Hastings races Wednesday

   Group racing returns to the Hastings track next Wednesday when Hawke’s Bay Racing will stage the Little Avondale Lowland Stakes twilight raceday.

   The Group 2 $100,000 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) will be the feature event on the eight-race programme and is the eighth race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old Filly of The Year series.

   The other major races on Wednesday’s card are a $35,000 open sprint over 1400m and a $25,000 race for three-year-olds over 1400m.

   The first race is timed for 2.09pm and the last at 6.15pm and there will be free admission on to the course and also to the Members Stand.


Allpress to ride in Saudi Arabia

   Last season’s New Zealand Premiership-winning jockey Lisa Allpress has been invited to compete in the inaugural Kingdom Day Jockey Challenge in Saudi Arabia next month.

   While she is looking forward to the new experience, it won’t be the first time she has represented her country internationally. 

   “I was lucky enough when I was an apprentice to go to Macau to represent New Zealand,” Allpress said.

   “I would have been 23 and I loved it. I had a second-placing in Macau, it was my first time riding on the dirt, it was great.”

   “This will be my third time at a major international competition, I am really looking forward to it,” she said.

   The jockeys’ challenge includes four races on the dirt, ranging from 1200m to 1600m.

   The competition will be made up of 14 international jockeys, seven from either sex, and Allpress said she is looking forward to competing against some of the biggest names in thoroughbred racing.

   “Frankie Dettori is heading up the men’s team, he has been my idol since I first started. I know there are some pretty famous jockeys in there like Mike Smith from America, Yutaka Take from Japan, and James Doyle. They are very good jockeys.

   “Sophie Doyle is heading up the female jockeys. I know there will be Emma-Jayne Wilson, and also jockeys from Germany, France, and England. 




(By John Jenkins)


   A solid 1000-metre gallop by Penny Royal and a good workout by Atlanta Peach were among the highlights at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Penny Royal ran a solo 1000m in 1:5.6, finishing the last 600 off keenly in 37.6. The Per Incanto mare has been freshened since racing at Taupo at the end of December and is likely to have a jumpout at Hastings on Thursday of next week to help prepare her for another campaign. She is best on rain affected tracks.

   Atlanta Peach, another whose best form has been on slow and heavy footing, hit out well over 800m on her own in 52.2, the last 600 in 38.6. She looks to be coming up well in a fresh campaign and is another who is likely to have a jumpout at Hastings next week.

   Magic Incanto was restricted to just two rounds of pacework. Trainer Fred Pratt said the mare has thrived since winning at Wanganui last week and will start next at either at Matamata this Saturday or Hastings next week.

   An Ekraar four-year-old in the Fred Pratt stable finished in front of a Reliable Man two-year-old at the end of a quick 600m in 36.6. The Ekraar gelding shows good promise.

   Promising three-year-old filly Can I Get An Amen, back in the Lowry/Cullen stable after a spell, ran an easy 600m at three-quarter pace. She looks to have come back well and is another who will have a jumpout at Hastings next week.

   Jonny Russ, preparing for a 2200m race at the Hawke’s Bay meeting next week, was restricted to just three rounds of pacework. He was to gallop on Wednesday.

   Hunta Pence, who will line up in the Wairoa Cup on Sunday, was another who was to gallop on Wednesday. He won a 1400m trial at Foxton last week and should be very competitive over 2100m around the tight Wairoa track.

   Pas de Giant clocked 54 for a solo 800m, the last 600 in 39 while Thousandkissesdeep ran an easy 1000m in 1:14.1, the last 600 in 40.6. She is a Sepoy mare who was formerly trained in the north but is now in Lee Somervell’s stable.

   Me clocked 40.1 and 41.4 for two 600m runs and could start over the two-day Wairoa meeting while Lean Thy Arms, entered for Wairoa today, ran an easy 1000m in 1:13.6, the last 600 in 40.5.

   A Super Easy-All In Grace two-year-old gelding and a Savabeel filly, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, recorded 41.9 for an easy 600m while a Glass Harmonium three-year-old gelding in the same stable ran 600m in 40.4.

Hawkes Bay Racing Column 14 Feb 2020

Hundreds attend service for Sholto Matthews

(By John Jenkins)  

   More than 200 people turned out for a memorial service for long time Hawke’s Bay Racing stalwart Sholto Matthews at the Hastings racecourse last Saturday.

   Matthews passed away on December 19 and a private funeral was held soon after. But the family wanted to put on a memorial service for a man who had left a lasting impression on so many people, in various ways, and so it was held on what would have been his 80th birthday.

   Sholto Matthews was born in Gisborne, where he spent most of his early life. He later made moves to Ashburton, Wellington and the Waikato before finally settling in Hawke’s Bay.

   During his life he had been an amateur jockey, a stock agent, a successful polo player, a club administrator, a highly regarded polo commentator, a farmer, an accountant, a successful racehorse owner and a much-valued board member and steward of Hawke’s Bay Racing.

   Matthews represented Poverty Bay in polo for many years, competing alongside the famous Kirkpatrick brothers in teams that took out several national titles.

   He dabbled as an amateur jockey, when working for a Gisborne trainer, but only ever rode one winner and that was at the beach races.

   Matthews and his wife Diana left Gisborne and moved to Ashburton where Sholto continued playing polo and also became a committeeman of the Ashburton Racing Club. Another move saw them shift to Wellington where, unfortunately, there was no polo club for him to continue his pursuits as a player. But his passion for the sport never waned and, after moving to the Waikato and then to Hawke’s Bay, he took up a role as a polo commentator and was regarded as one of the best in the country. He also served many years as a committeeman of the Hawke’s Bay Polo Club.

   His other passion was thoroughbreds and he had shares in several horses over the years, most of whom were trained by Bruce Marsh.

   Sir Nova was undoubtedly the most successful. The son of Sir Avon was small in stature but had a heart as big as a lion, chalking up 12 wins and nine minor placings from 48 starts and amassing more than $180,000 in stakemoney.

   The horse’s biggest success came in the $A100,000 Chairmans Handicap (2020m) at Doomben, in Queensland, in May of 2000 and he showed his versatility by winning a 1400m race at Eagle Farm a month later.

   Fulmar was another successful galloper Matthews had a share in and he included the listed Townsville Cup (2080m) among his 11 wins while he and trainer Bruce Marsh also bought a Vice Regal yearling from the sales one year that was later called Snowbound.

   I was given the job of syndicating that horse, with Matthews and Marsh both retaining a share. He won on debut over 1200m at Gisborne and picked up another two wins in Queensland before being sold to a group of Australian buyers.  

   Sholto Matthews qualified himself as an accountant through attending night classes and had his own private accountancy business, one that started off with just a few clients and built to around 100.

   He was a long serving board member of Hawke’s Bay Racing and, upon retiring from that position, he continued as a race day steward for the club up until the time of his sudden death.

   Sholto was a peoples’ person, who endeared himself to everyone he met with his very forthright, yet jovial manner.

   He had an affectious smile and, in later years, he played an integral part in the area of hospitality at Hawke’s Bay Racing. He was a regular figure in the special winners’ circle room on course where he greeted owners, trainers and visitors and catered for their needs.

  Sholto is survived by his wife Diana, his three children Susie, Annie and Henry and his many loving grandchildren.

Sholto Matthews, a much-valued former board member and steward of Hawke’s Bay Racing who passed away on December 19.


Lowland Stakes next for star filly

   Hastings racegoers will get to see glamour filly Jennifer Eccles in action on February 26, when she is expected to contest the Group 2 $100,000 Little Avondale Stakes.

   Following her dominant win in last Saturday’s Group 2 $100,000 David & Karyn Ellis Classic, trainer Shaune Ritchie said the 2100m feature at Hastings will probably be her next start and will serve as a final lead-up to the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 14.

    A picture-perfect ride from Jason Waddell allowed Jennifer Eccles to show her undoubted quality as she dashed away from her age-group rivals in last Saturday’s 2000m feature at Te Rapa.

   It was her second success, with her first coming in the Group 2 $100,000 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie back in December, and she has not finished further back than fourth in her nine starts.

   Jennifer Eccles is owned by the Challenge No. 10 Syndicate, managed by bloodstock agent Adrian Clark. Among the syndicate members are Napier couple Brian and Lorraine Henneker and Taupo-based Allan and Judy Payne.

   The Challenge No. 10 Syndicate also owns Cinzento, who is trained at Hastings by John Bary and has recorded a win and three minor placings from 12 starts.

   Jockey Jason Waddell produced a great tactical ride aboard Jennifer Eccles last Saturday, settling her perfectly in the trail from barrier one before angling her into the clear rounding the home bend.

   When Waddell asked Jennifer Eccles to quicken in the straight the response was instantaneous as the filly hit top gear in a few strides and dashed clear of a game Showbeel who chased hard to finish in second ahead of Loire in third.

   Waddell was having his first ride on the filly and said it would take a crowbar to get him off now.

   “She’s top class,” Waddell said.

   “We got a gorgeous run and wow she came up underneath me approaching the home corner.

   “She was fair flying coming past the furlong and it would have taken something very special to beat me.

   “There was nothing in the race that could do that today.”

   Trainer Shaune Ritchie was also pleased with the way the filly relaxed during the running with a view to her stepping up to the 2400m distance of the New Zealand Oaks next month.

   “I feel a lot better about it (the 2400m) after today,” Ritchie said. 

   “She did get a very economical trip but I liked the way she relaxed down the back and she didn’t appear aggressive at all.

   “She will almost certainly go to Hastings now and we have to have a crack at the Oaks as well.” 

   With the victory Jennifer Eccles now heads the table in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series with 24.5 points ahead of Loire on 20.5. 

Several members of the Challenge No. 10 Syndicate gather around their filly Jennifer Eccles as she is unsaddled in the winner’s stall following a dominant success in last Saturday’s David & Karen Ellis Classic at Te Rapa. They will be out in force again at Hastings on February 26.


Colgan eyeing a seventh Derby

   When the winningest jockey in New Zealand Derby history says he believes he can add another victory in Ellerslie’s blue riband three-year-old classic then it pays to take note.

   Matamata rider Vinnie Colgan has his sights set on victory in the Group 1 $1million Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) on February 29, having first taken out the race aboard the Roger James-trained Roysyn in 1995, a feat he has then repeated on another five occasions since that inaugural success.

   Colgan will be hunting Derby victory number seven at Ellerslie aboard the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained filly Two Illicit after the pair combined for the perfect dress rehearsal at Te Rapa last Saturday when demolishing their rivals by more than 7 lengths in the Group 2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m).

   Although not currently nominated for the Derby, Two Illicit’s connections are expected to make a late payment to get her into a race that Colgan believes is perfect for her.

   “She is a very talented filly who I don’t think we have even scratched the surface on yet,” Colgan said.

   “The feel she gives you when you ride her is very special and I can say with certainty that there have been several of my Derby winners that haven’t provided me with anywhere near the feel that this filly does.”

   Colgan admits he is a good place with his riding at present as he contemplates how much longer he will continue his career in the saddle.

   “I’m feeling pretty good at present although the aches and pains are a little more frequent,” he said.

   “I’m 44 now and getting a bit long in the tooth but I’d like to think I’ve got at least another six years or so in the saddle to come.

  “I find these days the injury niggles are a little harder to overcome and when you walk in the jockeys’ room there are all these eighteen to twenty-year-olds bouncing around with boundless energy but I feel I can still compete with them.”

Two Illicit and jockey Vinnie Colgan are out on their own as they cross the line to win last Saturday’s Group 2 Waikato Guineas at Te Rapa. The Jimmy Choux filly is now being aimed at the New Zealand Derby on February 29.


Safety Fund open for applications

   Racecourses can improve safety with this year’s second round of funding from the Racing Safety Development Fund.

   Minister for Racing, Winston Peters, has announced the second funding round of 2019/20 is open with $347,875 available for distribution.

   “The racing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of New Zealand,” Peters said.

   “While the Government is in the process of implementing reforms to revitalise the racing industry, health and safety will always be of the upmost importance.

   “This fund allows racecourses the opportunity to improve health and safety activities to ensure animals, staff and spectators can enjoy and reap the benefits of this industry.”

   Past projects have included improvements for safety running rails, irrigation and drainage, lighting upgrades, and grandstand repair.

   All racing clubs and racing code bodies should consider the condition and standard of their facilities and equipment, and assess whether they are safe for animals, staff and customers.

   The Racing Safety Development Fund covers up to half the costs of a project with between $7,500 – $50,000 funding being available for each project.

   Applications must be submitted by April 1.



(By John Jenkins)


   Stablemates Unlaced and Bellesgirl, both preparing for Sunday’s Poverty Bay meeting, hit out strongly together in a gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Unlaced and Bellesgirl worked in from the 1000m peg, running the first 400m in an easy 29.1 before quickening over the final 600 in 37.7. Both horses were stretching out well at the finish.

   Unlaced was an impressive last start maiden winner over 1600m at Hastings and will contest a Rating 65 race over the same distance at Gisborne. Another good run there could see her go on to the Group 2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on February 26.

   Bellesgirl turned in an excellent debut run for second over 1200m at the last Hawke’s Bay meeting and should prove hard to beat in a maiden 1400 at Gisborne. Lisa Allpress has been booked to ride both horses.

   Vannoss, who could start at either Gisborne or Wairoa next week, ran a solo 1000m in 1:05.4, the first 400 in 26.6 and final 600 in 38.8. He has been disappointing this time but has had a course of schooling to help sharpen him up.

   Polizzi had trainer Kate Hercock aboard when working over a round. She was timed to run home the last 1200m in 1:23.8, the last 600 in 39.4 while Me, preparing for Wairoa next week, underwent two easy 600-metre runs in 43.9 and 43.2.

   Pas de Geant and Flautino went together in two 600m runs, the first one in a leisurely 42.5 and the second one in a much quicker 37.3. It was good work from both horses.

   An Ekraar four-year-old mare ran an easy 800m on her own, coming home the last 600 in 43.4.



(By John Jenkins)


   Sheer Elegance, who will be stepped up in distance at Awapuni this Friday, worked strongly on her own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Sheer Elegance worked on her own over 1200m in 1:19, running the first 600 in an easy 41.8 before quickening over the last 600 in 37.4. The big Civics mare was a last start fifth over 1600m at Hastings and will be stepped up to 2100m in a Rating 65 race at Awapuni.

   Her stablemates One Prize One Goal and Stradivarius worked together over 1000m in 1:06.4, the last 600 in 37.6. They are also entered for Awapuni on Friday, with apprentice Temyia Taiaroa booked to ride One Prize One Goal in the Rating 72 1400 and Leah Hemi on Stradivarius in the open 1200.

   Yossarian, the other Lee Somervell-trained runner at Awapuni, ran a solo 800m in 52.9, the last 600 in 37.9 and he lines up in the Rating 65 race over 1550m.

   Me, one of several horses the Lowry/Cullen stable will be taking up to the Poverty Bay meeting on Sunday week, worked over 600m on her own and was timed to come home the last 400m in 26.2.

   Hazel’s Girl, another in the Lowry/Cullen stable, ran an easy 800m in 58, the last 600 in 43.4 while a Glass Harmonium three-year-old ran an easy 600m in 40.1.


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