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Aussie trip now beckons for Intransigent 28 Jun 2013

   Another top performance by Hawke’s Bay galloper Intransigent in the $40,000 Parliamentary Handicap at Trentham on July 13 could see him cross the Tasman for races in Melbourne.

   The horse’s Waipukurau trainer, Kirsty Lawrence, has made tentative plans to get him to Australia but said this week much depends on how he is rated by the Victorian handicapper.

   Intransigent made an auspicious return to top form with a dominant 3-1/2 length win in last Saturday’s $40,000 Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga, his seventh victory from 48 starts.

   It was the horse’s first win for 12 months but he had not been far away in his four most recent lead up races, including a third over 2100 metres at Trentham last month.

   Lawrence said the horse has had a few niggling problems since the end of last season and had only just started to come right again in the last few weeks.

   She also attributed last Saturday’s win to the addition of side winkers to the horse’s gear combined with a “classic David Walsh ride.”

   “He over-raced at Awapuni the start before when another horse came up outside him but the side winkers got him to settle a lot better on Saturday and 'Walshy' rode him perfectly.”

   The 53-year-old jockey certainly produced a 10 out of 10 performance, getting the horse to settle perfectly at the back in the early stages and then improving his position by sticking to the inside from the 600 while most of his rivals went wide. Such was the move that Intransigent was just in behind the leaders by the time he straightened for the run home and surged clear over the final stages for a convincing win.

   Intransigent stands not much more than 14.3 hands high and weighs just 412kg, meaning that he is dwarfed by most of his race rivals.

   “He’s not very big but he’s as honest as they come,” Lawrence said.

   “You could see at the 800 he was travelling the best of anything in the field and when he cut the corner we were confident he was going to win.”

   She added that Intransigent earned another 10 rating points from the New Zealand handicapper for that win which could see the little horse burdened with big weights in future open handicap races in New Zealand, one of the reasons she is keen to get him to Australia.

   “We are just waiting to see how he is rated in Australia. Someone said he could drop down to Rating 85 grade over there which would certainly help. He wouldn’t get too much weight in an open class race then.”

   “There are a few options around but he’ll go to the Parliamentary now and we will look at things after that.”

   Lawrence said she wouldn’t set her sights too high with Intransigent if he did get to Australia but added there are $A85,000 races for stayers in Victoria just about every Saturday.

   Lawrence and her husband Steve race Intransigent in partnership with Hastings mother and son Barbara and Brendon Ray, Waipukurau’s Barry Sizer and Palmerston North couple Brian and Annette Hawkins. For the Rays and Sizer, he is the first horse they have raced and he has now won the group more than $158,000 in stakemoney. They race him on lease from Judge John Clapham.

   “The lease expires in October but we have had it extended for another year,” Lawrence said.

   “People think he is an old horse because he’s been around for a while but he’s only six years old and hasn’t had that many starts,” she added.


No Quota new jumping star

   Promising Hastings jumper No Quota earned a start in tomorrow’s $40,000 Animal Health Hawke’s Bay Steeples with another impressive win over the big fences at last week’s Te Aroha meeting.

   The Kingfisher Mill gelding produced a faultless display of jumping to take out a 3500-metre $12,000 restricted open steeplechase by 4-3/4 lengths. It was his third win from as many starts in steeplechase races and he has also won once over hurdles.

   No Quota is trained by Paul Nelson and raced by him in partnership with his wife Carol. They bred the eight-year-old out of the Victory Dance mare All Magic and have since bred a Shinko King filly and a Colombia colt out of the mare.

   The Nelsons will have two representatives in tomorrow’s Hawke’s Bay Steeples, with Solid Steal also likely to contest the 4800-metre feature.


More success for HB couple

   Kapsboy, part-owned by Hastings couple John and Colleen Duncan, recorded his second success with a convincing 2-1/4 length win in a $20,000 three-year-old race over 1400 metres at Tauranga last Saturday.

   The Ishiguru gelding relished the heavy track conditions and was kept close to the pace by jockey Jason Jago before sprinting clear over the final stages.

   The Duncans bred and race Kapsboy in partnership with well known Waikato thoroughbred owner-breeder Ada Parnwell.

   Kapsboy is a half-brother to the top class racemare Fleur de Lune, who is also raced by Parnwell and the Duncans. That Stravinsky mare capped off several minor placings in Group 1 events with a well deserved win in the $200,000 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Years’ Day.

   Both Fleur de Lune and Kapsboy are trained at Cambridge by Lee Somervell, who also predicts a good future for his latest winner.

   “Kapsboy had gone close to winning his last couple of starts and I thought he would be hard to beat today. He has always shown plenty of promise, but has taken a while for it all to come together,” he said.

   The three-year-old now boasts a record of two wins, a second and two thirds from 10 starts.  


D’Llaro chalks up fifth win

   D’Llaro, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay’s John McGifford, brought up the fifth win of his career with an easy 5 length victory in a Rating 65 race at Rotorua last Monday.

   Aided by a heady ride by apprentice Rory Hutchings, the D’Cash six-year-old led all the way in the 2200-metre event.

   Hutchings had D’Llaro just a length or so in front of the opposition in the early stages but then shot him clear by 6 lengths entering the last 600 metres and they never looked like being caught after that.

   Hutchings hugged the inside rail with D’Llaro rounding the home bend and the horse kept up a strong gallop in the heavy track conditions.

   D’Llaro is trained at Cambridge by Graeme Lord, who also shares in the ownership of the gelding. He and McGifford are both former jumps jockeys and have been close friends for years.


Award winner

   Waipukurau’s Steve Ellis is the recipient of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners’ by-monthly award for the months of April and May.

   Ellis, who is employed as a large animal technician for Vet Services in Waipukurau, has a permit to train licence and has two horses in work.

   One of them, King Of Rock, won the $7000 amateur riders’ race over 2000-metre at Hastings on May 27.

Trackwork 27 Jun 2013

Cajun was stretching out well at the end of a 1000-metre workout at today’s Hastings track session as she prepares for the Rating 65 1400 at Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

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

   Cajun worked from the 1000-metre peg in 1:10.7, running the first 400 metres in 32.4 and then quickening over the last 600 in 38.3. She was running on well for fifth over 1200 metres at Wanganui last start and should appreciate the extra 200 metres on Saturday. Shannon Doyle has been booked to ride her.

   Her stablemate and race rival Sloshed was given an easier assignment this morning but looked keen to go faster when running the last 600 metres of her work in 39.1.

   No Excuse Maggie rounded off her preparation for the 1200-metre open sprint on Saturday by working over 1000 metres at three-quarter pace. She is backing up after finishing third in last Saturday’s Tauranga Stakes (1400m) and is using this race as a lead up to the listed Opunake Cup (1400m) at New Plymouth on July 20.

   Mahora Gold, a good chance in the Maiden 1400 on Saturday, worked easily over 800 metres in 55.8, the last 600 in 39.6. She looks well and Darryl Bradley has the mount.

   Sanriba looked to be under a strong hold when working outside stablemate Arriba San over 600 metres in 39.9. Sanriba is another entered for the Open 1200-metre sprint on Saturday.

   Jamaa, entered for one of the maiden hurdle races on Saturday, worked on his own over 1000 metres in 1:11.1, the last 600 in 40.9 while Make Big worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000, quickening over the last 600 in 37.7.

   The Beast and an Electronic Zone three-year-old filly recorded 53.3 for 800 metres, the last 600 in 38.3 while a Fast ‘N’ Famous-Lucerne three-year-old filly ran 600 metres in 39.9.

   Gold ended her work with an easy 600 metres in 42.2 while a Gold Centre two-year-old filly ran 600 metres in 41.2.

   Stellare and a Rusty Spur two-year-old gelding ran home the last 600 metres of their work in 41.8.

Emotional first win for trainer 26 Jun 2013

Waipukurau trainer Lucy de Lautour was nearly overcome with joy after saddling up her first winner at last Saturday’s Manawatu meeting at Awapuni.

   “I can’t believe it,” an excited de Lautour said as she waited for rider Bridget Grylls to bring the Sunray gelding back to the winner’s stall following the running of the $12,500 Rating 65 race.

   “This is my first winner and it’s just amazing,” she added.

   De Lautour has had an owner-trainer’s licence for less than 12 months and Kipkeino is one of two horses she has in work. The other is Barmasai, who was placed second over 2100 metres at Hastings last winter but who has disappointed in three starts this campaign and could be destined to become just a good farm hack according to the trainer.

   Kipkeino is raced by Lucy de Lautour and her husband Will and was bought for $5500, as an unraced two-year-old, from a South Island mixed bloodstock sale in August 2009.

   The horse has had his share of problems over the years and still bears the scars on his back legs from when he got tangled up in a fence as a young horse.

   The now five-year-old was initially trained at Hastings by Paul Nelson, who prepared him to win a 1600-metre maiden highweight at Awapuni 12 months ago. His form then dropped away but he indicated he was on the verge of another success when recording a close second over 2040 metres at Wanganui at the beginning of this month and the step up to 2100 metres on Saturday proved to be ideal.

   Lucy de Lautour said she was a bit worried the heavy-10 track conditions at Awapuni last Saturday may have been a bit too sticky for Kipkeino but he coped well. After settling midfield, rider Bridget Grylls, stuck to the inside approaching the home turn and the horse improved his position quickly to be just in behind the leaders. Grylls then had to angle him around the heels of another runner and he forged his way between horses over the final stages to get up and win by a long neck.

   Waipukurau-trained horses filled the first two placings in the race with Field Daze, prepared by Simon Wilson, finishing second by a short neck from Reasons Unknown.

   Kipkeino’s sire Sunray is a son of Zabeel and won six races in New Zealand including the New Zealand St Leger (2500m) at Trentham. His dam is the Gold Brose mare Awesome Annie, who left two other foals by Sunray but neither of whom has raced.

   Awesome Annie is out of Au Revoir, a successful South Island-trained mare who won five races from 1200 to 1600 metres, including the Listed North Canterbury Stakes and the Listed Wanganui Trudy Thomson Memorial.

   Lucy and Will de Lautour also race Howbadami, a horse that has won three races and is trained now by Paul Nelson. He is presently in the spelling paddock but will come back in the new season.


Strong win by Adventador

   Hastings-trained Adventador suggested he could reach bigger heights on the racetrack when recording his second victory in a Rating 65 1200-metre race at Wanganui last week.

   The Fast ‘N’ Famous four-year-old only won by a long neck but the margin flattered his rivals. It was his second win and the fourth time he has returned a dividend from six starts.

   Adventador is trained on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and owned by Milan Park Stud, which is owned by Cambridge-based Tony Rider.

   He is out of the Khozaam mare Alpine Heights and a half-brother to the winners Senorita Rosay, Southern Belle and Southern Heights.

   Guy Lowry says Adventador has had his share of problems in the past, including having a metal plate inserted in one of his knees, but the big strong gelding seems to be hundred per cent sound at the moment.

   Adventador headed home a Hastings-trained quinella in last week’s Wanganui race with Turquoise, prepared by John Bary, finishing second.


Calcutta next Friday

   Hawke’s Bay Racing will be staging a Calcutta at the Hastings racecourse next Friday, June 28.

   The function will be held on the eve of the Hawke’s Bay Hunt race day and the Calcutta will be run on the two feature jumping races on the programme, the Livamol Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase and the Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles.

   The function will be held in the Sasanof Room beginning at 6pm and the cost of $10/head includes a barbecue meal.


By-monthly award winner

   Napier thoroughbred owner Buddy Beachen was the recipient of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners by-monthly award for the months of February and March.

   Beachen and his wife Elizabeth have raced a number of horses over the years and have enjoyed plenty of success. He has a half-share in the promising galloper Peit Rox, who is trained at Hastings by Kelly Burne.

   The St Petersburg mare was the winner of two races at the beginning of this year, the first over 1645 metres at Westland and the second over 1450 metres at Wairoa.

Trackwork 25 Jun 2013

Strong workouts by the stablemates Cajun and Sloshed were two of the highlights at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Cajun ran a solo 800 metres in 50.5, the first 200 metres taking 13.2s and the last 600 in a good 37.3. The Keeninsky mare resumed from a spell with fast finishing fifth over 1200 metres at Wanganui on June 13.

   Her stablemate Sloshed looked to be striding out well at the end of a solo 1000 metres in 1:7, coming home the last 600 in 37.9. The No Excuse Needed mare has not raced since last December but has been working well and looks ready to make a return to the racetrack.

   Mahora Gold, preparing for this Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, worked on her own over 1000 metres in 1:8.6, the last 600 in 38.2. She went a much improved race for third over 1200 metres at the last Hawke’s Bay meeting and should appreciate the step up to 1400 metres on Saturday. Darryl Bradley has been booked to ride her.

   Bay Dancer and Make Big, two others likely to be entered for the Maiden 1400 at Hastings on Saturday, went very hard in the early stages of their 1000-metre gallop and were slowing over the final stages. They clocked 1:3.1 for the full distance, the first 400 in 25.6 and the final 600 in 37.5, with Bay Dancer in front at the finish.

   Sanriba worked in from the 1000-metre peg and picked up his stablemate Arriba San at the 700. Sanriba was timed to run the full distance in 1:9.1, the last 600 in 40.8.

   A Keeninsky half-sister to Jimmy Choux ran the last 600 metres of her work in 38.9 while a Fast ‘N’ Famous-Lucerne three-year-old filly ran over the same ground in 39.4.

   Lavish Prince ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:6.4 while Kings Deep jumped 12 hurdle fences in the centre and then ran 1000 metres in 1:13.2, the last 600 in 42.3. He will be entered for the maiden hurdle race at Hastings on Saturday.

   Jules Vern and Bally Heights schooled well together over 12 hurdle fences in the centre before working over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:12.1, the last 600 in 40.4. Jules Vern is another likely starter in the maiden hurdle race on Saturday while Bally Heights will contest the maiden steeplechase.

   Party Horse and Post Online also schooled over 12 hurdle fences before working over 1000 metres. The latter dropped away over the final stages and is thought to have got his tongue over the bit and choked down.

Trackwork 20 Jun 2013

   No Excuse Maggie looked to be stretching out well again in trackwork at Hastings this morning as she prepares for Saturday’s Tauranga Classic.

   Fast work was carried out on the plough and wide out on the No.1 grass, both tracks providing heavy footing. A blanket of fog covered the track for much of the session, preventing the timing of several gallops.

   No Excuse Maggie was one of those who worked in the fog but was hitting out keenly at the end of 600 metres on the plough. The grey hasn’t raced for more than a month but has had several strong track gallops to fit her for Saturday’s 1400-metre event. David Walsh will again have the mount.

   Her stablemate Commett, another entered for Saturday’s Tauranga meeting, also galloped 600 metres on his own but could not be timed in the fog. He lines up in a Rating 85 1600 on Saturday with Masa Tanaka to ride.

   Honky Dory, who may be a starter at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Saturday week, worked over 1000 metres on the grass in 1:10.8, the last 600 in 39.2.

   Jamaa worked over 1200 metres on the grass and was timed to run his last 600 metres in 39.2 while The Beast and an Electronic Zone three-year-old filly, both in the Thompson/Brown stable, clocked 38.6 for 600 metres on the grass.

   Lavish Prince worked early in the session and ran 1000 metres at three-quarter pace.

Trackwork 18 Jun 2013

   No Excuse Maggie, preparing for this Saturday’s Tauranga Classic, hit out well again in training at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was carried out on the plough and wide out on the No.1 grass, both tracks providing heavy footing.

   No Excuse Maggie got through the conditions well when running 10000 metres on the grass in 1:4.6, the last 600 in 37.3. She indicated she is close to another win with a good last start second in the weight-for-age Rotorua Stakes (1400m) a month ago. She also ran a quick 1000 metres on her own in trackwork last Tuesday.

   Viceroy was another who worked well this morning when he sprinted the last 600 metres of his work on the plough in 36.3. He showed promise when recording a third and a fourth earlier this season and has since been gelded. He is a full-brother to the Hawke’s Bay Cup winner The Veep.

   Jamaa had co-trainer Mick Brown aboard when working over three rounds on the plough, speeding up over the last 600 in 38.5.

   Commett, another who could be starting at Tauranga this Saturday, was not after a fast time when running 1000 metres on the grass in 1:8, the last 600 in 40.4 while Midnight Paddle ran over the same distance in 1:9.1, the last 600 in 39.4.

   Centarose, who may start next at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Saturday week, ran an easy 600 metres on the grass in 43.3.

   A Bachelor Duke-Boxer Fluffies two-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable finished well clear of a China Cat filly at the end of 600 metres in 38.3 while an Electronic Zone three-year-old filly and Stellare ran 600 metres on the plough in 38.9.

Trackwork 11 Jun 2013

   No Excuse Maggie indicated she could be a top chance in the listed Tauranga Classic next Saturday week by turning in an excellent solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was carried out on the plough (slushy) and wide out on the No.1 grass (heavy). Close to 30 millimetres of rain had fallen on the Hastings track in 24 hours.

   No Excuse Maggie relished the wet conditions when running a solo 1000 metres in 1:3.4, coming home the last 600 in a quick 35.5. She looks close to a return to winning form after a good last start second in the weight-for-age Rotorua Stakes (1400m) on May 11.

   Mink, another likely starter in the weight-for-age $50,000 Tauranga Stakes on Saturday week, was given an easier workout this morning when running 1000 metres on the grass in 1:7.3, the last 600 in 39.3. She found the track conditions too heavy for her liking at Trentham last start but still ran home well for fifth over 1200 metres.

   Sloshed scampered through the slushy conditions on the plough in fine style when running a solo 1000 metres in 1:1.7, the last 600 in 36.6 while her stablemate Commett clocked 1:4.8 for 1000 metres, the last 600 in 37.7.

   Cajun worked over 800 metres on then plough in 54.4, the last 600 in 39 while No Commission finished in front of Midnight Paddle at the end of 1000 metres on the grass in 1:11.7.

   Turquoise, a member of the John Bary stable, was let off with just 600 metres on the plough in 40.4 while stablemate Grawin also ran 600 metres in 40.8.

   The Beast was not doing much more than three-quarter pace when running 1000 metres in 1:13.3, the last 600 in 40.5.

   Kings Deep and Jamaa schooled over 12 hurdle fences in the centre and gave a good display of jumping when they quickened the speed over the second lot of six. Party Horse and Honky Dory also schooled over 12 hurdle fences.


Trackwork 6 Jun 2013

   Adventador, a possible runner at the Wanganui meeting next Thursday, worked nicely on his own in a quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

   Most fast work was carried out on the No. 1 grass, which provided slow footing.

   Adventador was not after a quick time but looked to be working well at the end of 1000 metres in 1:15.2, the last 600 in 41.7. He produced a good last start effort for second over 1200 metres on a heavy track at Trentham and is likely to contest a Rating 65 1200 at Wanganui next week.

   Honky Dory took the time honours for the session when he ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:6.5, the last 600 in 38. He won a 1000-metre jumpout at Hastings last week.

   His stablemate Jamaa ran 1000 metres in 1:7.5, the last 600 in 38.5 while Midnight Paddle, another in the Thompson/Brown stable, worked over the same ground in 1:8.2, the last 600 in 38.8.

   A Spartacus-Zahna three-year-old gelding in the Lowry/Cullen stable was not hurried when running 1000 metres in 1:10.1, the last 600 in 40.9 while Takemehomebabe ran 1000 metres at three-quarter pace, the last 600 in 43.8.

   A Fast ‘N’ Famous-Lucerne three-year-old filly trained by Fred Pratt ran an easy 600 metres on the plough in 42.3.

Niagara new thoroughbred stallion for HB

Niagara new thoroughbred stallion for HB 5 Jun 2013

Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred breeders have been starved of a commercial stallion in the district for many years but that looks set to change with the pending importation of Niagara, a horse with an outstanding race record backed by an exceptional pedigree.

   Greg and Jo Griffin, who have successfully operated Lime Country Thoroughbreds as an agistment, pre-training and yearling preparation operation from a 30 acre piece of the historic Hawke’s Bay Okawa Stud for the past five years, have now decided to stand a stallion on the property.

   Jo Griffin says much time and thought has gone into selecting the right stallion to stand in the Hawke’s Bay district and believes everything has come together at the right time with Niagara, who was a genuinely classy racehorse with commercial potential that should appeal to all breeders.

   “Niagara is a cracking individual and he fits the bill perfectly for us. He’s from a fantastic Australian Group 1 performing family, by a champion sire and himself a classy Group winning racehorse at three in Australia.”

   As a racehorse Niagara had 11 starts from the stable of top Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse for two wins, four seconds and a third.

   His two starts as a two-year-old were both in top company and he finished second behind the highly rated Detours in one of them, over 1250 metres, beating home Mental.

   As a three-year-old he scored a maiden win over 1550 metres at Canterbury by 6 lengths before blitzing a field of older horses in the Group 2 ATC Ajax Stakes (1500m). He was then beaten a nose when second in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) and was also runner-up in the Listed ATC Eskimo Prince Handicap (1200m).

   Jo Griffin says the highlight of his racing career was his 3-1/2 length win in the Ajax Stakes, where he was a three-year-old up against older horses and proved a class above them.

   Following that win Gai Waterhouse was quoted as saying: “I’ve always had a great opinion of this colt. He was the most magnificent yearling, he is by Encosta de Lago, and he’s got a physique to die for.”

   “He just jumped and said see you later. He was too strong for them today.”

   Niagara had a Timeform rating of 121 for his three-year-old season, giving him a higher overall rating than the likes of exceptional Group 1 winners Ocean Park (120) and Sangster (119).

   He was the fifth leading Australasian three-year-old colt of his year, on Timeform ratings, behind Sepoy (129), Foxwedge (128), Helmet (125) and Smart Missile (124), most of whom are now commanding sizeable fees as stallions at stud.

   Niagara is a son of champion sire Encosta de Lago out of the unraced Fusaichi Pegasus mare River Song and comes from the family of champion Australian sire Redoute’s Choice.

   River Song is out of the Danehill mare Twyla, who was a winner over 1250 metres and is a three-quarter sister to Redoute’s Choice and two other successful Australian sires in Al Maher and Platinum Scissors.

   A colt by Fastnet Rock out of another daughter of Twyla in Celebria, by Peintre Celebre, topped the premier session at this year’s Karaka yearling sales when fetching $1.975million.

   Encosta de Lago is the sire of 93 stakes winners and his progeny has already amassed more than $118million in prizemoney.

   He is the sire of such outstanding performers as Racing To Win, Alinghi, Princess Coup, Sacred Kingdom, Aloha, Northern Meteor and Manhattan Rain, all Group 1 winners.

   The importation of Niagara to stand at stud in New Zealand has come at an opportune time given the outstanding success at stud of another of Encosta de Lago’s sons in Northern Meteor. The Coolmore Stud-based stallion has left seven individual two-year-old stakes winners from his first crop this season, including the unbeaten Group 2 winner Zoustar.

   Sydney-based Chris Waller prepares Zoustar and that colt and another son of Northern Meteor in Romantic Touch, trained by Gai Waterhouse, are vying for favouritism for tomorrow’s Group 1 $A500,000 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm in Brisbane.

   Greg and Jo Griffin have built up a strong client base already with their Lime Country Thoroughbred operation and say they now want a serious and marketable stallion prospect to launch the next stage of their business.

   “It has always been the plan for us to stand a stallion,” Jo Griffin said.

   “We’ve been offered plenty of lesser horses over the years which we’ve said no to. It takes time, capital and a secure client base to get a horse of this calibre and this time we have been able to pull it all together and get the job done.”

   Niagara stands at 16.1 hands and is a strongly built individual with the stamp of Danehill in his appearance. He will stand his first season at a very competitive fee of $5000 plus GST.

   “We see his fee being outstanding value, given his racetrack performance and pedigree, compared with other stallions standing in New Zealand,” Griffin said.

   “There are still a limited amount of shares available in the horse and we would like Hawke’s Bay breeders to consider that option,” she added.

   Niagara is expected to arrive at Lime Country Thoroughbreds about the middle of next month, ready to commence stud duties in the spring.


Belfast Lad hard to catch

   Waipukurau owned and trained Belfast Lad brought up the 12th win of his career when he again led his rivals a merry chase in last Saturday’s $25,000 Foxton Cup (2040m) at Wanganui.

   The Colombia gelding was completing back-to-back victories after also leading all the way over 2100 metres at Awapuni a fortnight before.

   Regular rider Buddy Lammas rated the horse perfectly on Saturday, letting him stride to a big lead in the early stages and then giving him a breather at the 600 before kicking him clear again in the home straight. At the line they were 2-1/2 lengths clear of Chapinta, with Josephine three-quarters of a length back in third place.

   Penny Ebbett, who owns and trains Belfast Lad in partnership with her husband Tony, said this week the eight-year-old seems to be getting better with age.

   “People have been saying that we should be looking at retiring him but he is just thriving at the moment,” she said.

   “Buddy said he was just cruising going down the back straight in Saturday’s race and the horse took off himself when it was time to quicken and no one was going to catch him.”

   Ebbett said the Wanganui track, which was rated a slow-9, was made to order for Belfast Lad.

   “He doesn’t like a track that is too deep because he’s only got little feet and struggles when it’s really heavy. As long as he can get through it he’s right and that track was perfect.”

   The Ebbetts are now looking at one of two races for Belfast Lad in the coming weeks, either a $25,000 Open 2100-metre event at Awapuni tomorrow week or the $50,000 Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga a week later.

   Belfast Lad’s record now stands at 12 wins, five seconds and eight thirds from 94 starts and he has won in excess of $137,000, a tremendous return on the $2500 he cost the Ebbetts to buy as a yearling.


Survived Derby favourite

   Hastings owned and trained three-year-old Survived is favourite on both sides of the Tasman for tomorrow’s Group 1 $A500,000 Queensland Derby in Brisbane.

   The John Bary-trained gelding has been at the head of both the New Zealand and Australian betting markets for the 2400-metre feature at Eagle Farm since his unlucky second in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2200m) on the same track on May 11.

   That has been the son of Zed's only Australian lead up race before the Derby but Bary is confident the horse is fit and ready to produce another top effort tomorrow.

   A strong training gallop on the course proper at Doomben last Saturday pleased both Bary and the horse’s regular jockey Jonathan Riddell.

   “Jonathan was delighted with his work on the weekend and I’m confident he is right where we want him leading into the race,” Bary said.

   “He seems to have come right in the coat and is thriving over here so hopefully he will be able to put it all together on Saturday.”

   Survived, who is owned by his Hawke’s Bay breeder Don Gordon, has had eight starts for five wins and two seconds. He won a Group 3 double in New Zealand, in the Manawatu Classic (2000m) and Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m), before heading to Queensland.


Bridge on the move

   Young Hastings thoroughbred trainer James Bridge is transferring his operation to Woodville from this weekend.

   He has taken over the barn stabling complex on the Woodville racecourse where he will have room for up to 15 horses.

   “I’ll be taking 10 with me for a start and will be looking to get some more once I get set up,” Bridge said this week.

   Bridge began his training career in Hastings three years ago and has notched up five wins from 52 starters.

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