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A fast 1000 metres by the Waipukurau stablemates Sanriba and Aribasan and a solid workout by Kipkeino and Howbadami were among the highlights in a reasonably busy session at the Hastings track today.

   Most fast work was confined to the plough, which provided good footing, with just one gallop recorded on the No.1 grass (slow).

   A penetrometer reading was taken on the course proper during the session and it came up as a slow-8.

   Sanriba was working keenly on the outside of Aribasan at the end of a fast 1000 metres on the plough in 1:2.7, the last 600 in 37. Sanriba looks close to another win after stringing together several minor placings this campaign.

   Kipkeino and Howbadami also worked strongly together over 1000 metres on the plough and were timed to run their last 800 in 49.9 and final 600 in 37.1. They could both start at this Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   Last start winner Mint was not after a fast time when working on her own over 1000 metres on the plough but looked to be hitting out well when recording 1:7.6, the last 600 in 39.4. She may have one more start for the season, either at Wanganui on Thursday of next week or at Te Rapa the following Saturday.

   San Pedro, preparing for the Rating 75 race over 2500 metres at Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, worked on his own over 1200 metres in 1:21.4, the last 600 in 38.2. He finished fourth over 2500 metres at Hastings two starts back and followed that up with a fifth over 2050 metres at Tauherenikau.

   Designated Driver finished ahead of a Fast ‘N’ Famous three-year-old gelding at the end of 1000 metres in 1:10.2, the last 600 in 38.9 while an unraced four-year-old mare by Any Suggestion looked to be travelling well on the outside of Casino Jack at the end of a sharp 600 metres in 37.3.

   Bastion was the only horse timed on the grass track and he ran 800 metres in 52.1, the last 600 in 38.1.

   Rocky, a likely runner in the Maiden  1400 at Hastings on Saturday, worked with Joe Cool over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:6.7, the last 600 in 38.1 while Indiscretion finished her work off with a quick last 600 metres in 37.1.

   Lavish Prince, preparing for the Rating 65 1400-metre race at Hastings on Saturday, was let off with just three-quarter pace over 1000 metres, the last 600 taking 44.5 while Viceroy was also kept under a firm hold when running a solo 1000 metres, the last 800 in 54.6 and final 600 in 41.1.

   A Zed three-year-old gelding trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen clocked 51.6 for 800 metres, the last 600 in 38.8 while Whoopi Gee worked quietly over two rounds, quickening over the last 400 on each occasion and was timed to run the second 400 in 25.

   Midnight Molly ended two rounds of pacework by running home the last 600 metres in 40.4. She is now trained by Corrina McDougal.

   Party Horse and No Quota gave a fast display of jumping over nine hurdle fences in the centre and then worked over 1000 metres on the plough, the last 600 in 41.2. Party Horse is a likely starter in the maiden hurdle race at Hastings on Saturday.

Intransigent trying to keep a jump ahead of his rivals 18 Jun 2014

Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence has given her stable star Intransigent a course of schooling at the Hastings track this week in the hopes that it will help spark a form reversal by the horse in tomorrow’s $40,000 Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga.

   Lawrence is not too concerned that Intransigent has not filled a place in his last four starts, saying his form line is similar to this time last year before he went on and won the Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga at odds of 14 to 1. But she said she wanted to try something different with the seven-year-old this week and decided to give him some jumping.

   Lawrence brought Intransigent to the Hastings track last Monday where he first jumped the pony hurdles in the bullring and then some of the bigger hurdles, at only a mediocre pace.

   The horse then returned on Tuesday morning where he gave an impressive display when schooling at pace over 12 hurdle fences, in the hands of amateur jockey Harley Cushing. He put in some spectacular leaps at several of the fences.

    “He loves jumping and I will get him his hurdling ticket but weight could stop him as a jumper,” Lawrence said.

   Intransigent only managed sixth in the open 2100-metre race at Awapuni last Saturday but Lawrence said the horse turned in a similar performance in the same race last year before going on to take out the Kiwifruit Cup seven days later by 3-1/2 lengths.

   “His form this year, apart from his win in the Hawke’s Bay Cup, is almost exactly the same as last year,” Lawrence said.

   “He had only been going ordinary before he won the Kiwifruit Cup and then went on to win the Taumarunui Cup too.”

   The conditions of this year’s Kiwifruit Cup have changed, with it now being just a normal handicap event where apprentices can claim. So Lawrence has booked promising New Plymouth apprentice Kei Chiong for Intransigent tomorrow and she will claim a 3kg allowance.

   Chiong is a 21-year-old attached to the stable of Allan Sharrock who has been in great form in recent weeks. She has kicked home 18 winners, 15 of them this season.


Fannin makes it three

   Hastings jockey Shaun Fannin is fast making a name for himself among the ranks of hurdle and highweight riders in the country.

   The 18-year-old recorded his first success when he got Houndscry home in a restricted open hurdle at Trentham on June 7 and has since kicked home another two winners, one in a highweight at Wanganui on Thursday of last week and the other over hurdles at Te Aroha two days ago.

   However his luck took a change for the worse in his other two race rides at Wednesday’s Te Aroha meeting. He finished fifth aboard Generous Type in the maiden steeplechase after losing his right stirrup iron jumping the second to last fence and then fell from Roodyvoo at the second to last fence in the restricted open steeplechase.

   Fannin rides work at Hastings for the training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen but is presently on loan to Wanganui’s Kevin Myers until the end of September.

   Myers trains Houndscry and he also produced Fannin’s second winner when Reeperbahn scored at odds of 32 to 1 in the Rating 65 Highweight at Wanganui. The Dubawi four-year-old only got up by a nose and Fannin then had to survive a protest from the connections of the second horse, Taipa Tiger, for alleged interference in the home straight.

   Reeperbahn settled back third last in the early stages of the 1600-metre event before improving three-wide from the 600 metres. He was the widest runner rounding the home turn and then wanted to lay inwards in the home straight and had to be straightened several times by Fannin before getting in the deciding stride.

   It was Reeperbahn’s second win from 10 starts. He is owned by Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning, who has sent the horse to Myers to develop him into a jumper.

   Fannin’s win at Te Aroha on Wednesday was aboard Thenamesbond, a five-year-old China Cat gelding trained at Pukekohe by Stephen Ralph.

   The horse led for the early part of the 3100-metre race and then settled fourth. Fannin cut the corner on the home bend and Thenamesbond quickly ranged up to the leaders at the third to last fence. He was in front jumping the last and maintained a strong run to the line to win by 2-1/2 lengths.


Title race hotting up

   The success by Mint at the Wanganui meeting on Thursday of last week has taken the training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen to a five win lead over John Bary in the race for the leading Hawke’s Bay trainer for this season.

   With less than six weeks of the season remaining the Lowry/Cullen stable has now gone to 24 wins, with Bary second on 19 and fellow Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell third on 10.

   Bary looks to have a great chance of closing the gap at today’s Otaki meeting, where he has four horses entered, three of them good winning chances.

   Kingiesstar will represent the stable in race one, the maiden highweight over 1600 metres. He only managed sixth over 1600 metres at Otaki last start but had his chances extinguished when he was very slow away at the start. He raced a lot handier when fourth over 1600 metres at Awapuni before that and would only need to begin on terms with the others to be a good chance.

   Price Tag is a first starter from the Bary stable in race three, the two-year-old event over 1200 metres. She is a well bred filly by Darci Brahma who hasn’t been seen at the trials but should be ready to produce a big effort on debut in what is only a six horse field.

   Bary will line up the talented mare Frankly in race seven, the open 1200-metre event, and the Pins mare will be looking to add to her already impressive record. She has had 12 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds and is coming off a game last start victory over 1600 metres at Awapuni a month ago.

   Bary’s other entrant at today’s Otaki meeting is Sunday’s News in race two, the Rating 65 highweight over 2100 metres.

   Mint was having her first start for the Lowry/Cullen stable when she took out a Rating 85 event over 1360 metres at Wanganui last week and credited Hastings apprentice Cory Anderson with the second win of his career.

   The Perfectly Ready mare was formerly trained at Awapuni  by Ashley Meadows and it was her first victory since she took out a Rating 65 race over 1600 metres at Otaki in March of last year.

   Anderson settled Mint back near the tail of the seven horse field in the early stages and then angled her to the outside rounding the home bend. The mare kept up a strong run to the line to win by half a length from Unbelieveabelle, with Alderbaran Star 2-1/2 lengths back in third place.

   Mint has now won four races from 22 starts. He was bred by Ray Knight, formerly of Ashwell Farm Stud, and is a half-sister to Pinot Grieve, who won four races from the John Bary stable and Tinka Tinka, who has won twice for Waverley trainer John Boon.

   Mint may have one more start before the end of the season, on July 31, if her trainers can find a suitable Rating 85 race for her.


Weanling parade

   A number of well bred thoroughbreds will be on display at the Hawke’s Bay/ Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders’ annual weanling walk to be staged on Sunday, June 29.

   The parade will commence at 9.30am at Guy Lowry’s property in Kawera Road and then proceed to Okawa Stud where Lime Country Thoroughbreds will have a number of weanlings on display and will parade the stud’s resident stallion Niagara.

   The next stop after that will be at the old Sasanof Stud property in Longlands Road and will conclude at Gerard Moughan’s property at 306 St Georges Road.

   Among the horses on display will be weanlings by Mastercraftsman, Nadeem, Darci Brahma, Savabeel, Showcasing, Redwood, Iffraaj, Keeper, Pentire, Jimmy Choux, Red Giant, Myboycharlie, Shocking, Per Incanto, Fully Fledged and Uncle Mo.

   At the completion of the parade there will be a luncheon at Off The Track Restaurant in Havelock Road, at a cost of $35/head. Reservations are necessary and can be made by contacting Isabell Roddick at 8798662.


Next HB meeting

   The $50,000 Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase and the $50,000 Hawke’s Bay Hurdles, two of the most time-honoured jumping races in the country, will be the feature events at the next Hawke’s Bay race meeting, on Saturday June 28.

   The 4400-metre Hawke’s Bay Steeples dates back to 1879 and has been won by some of the best jumpers to come out of New Zealand.

   Eight races have been programmed for the meeting at this stage, with the first timed to start at 12 noon and the last at 4.01pm.

   There will be a $10 gate charge, with under 18-year-olds free.


Intransigent provided the star turn at this morning’s Hastings track session when he schooled impressively over 12 hurdle fences in the centre.

   The Refuse To Bend seven-year-old will be heading to Tauranga this Saturday to defend his title in the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) and trainer Kirsty Lawrence said she wanted to try something different in the hopes that it will spark him back into form.

   Intransigent only managed sixth in the open 2100-metre race at Awapuni last Saturday but Lawrence said the horse turned in a similar performance in the same race last year before going on to take out the Kiwifruit Cup seven days later by 3-1/2 lengths.

   “His form this year, apart from his win in the Hawke’s Bay Cup, is almost exactly the same as last year,” Lawrence said.

   “He had only been going ordinary before he won the Kiwifruit Cup and then went on to win the Taumarunui Cup too.”

   Lawrence brought the horse up from Waipukurau to the Hastings track yesterday and he jumped the pony hurdles in the bullring and then a few of the bigger ones at a slow pace but today he had the pace on all the way and measured his fences well.

   He was ridden in the school by amateur jockey Harley Cushing, who has his first race ride at tomorrow’s Te Aroha meeting, and put in some spectacular leaps at some of the fences.

   “He loves jumping and I will get him his hurdling ticket but weight could stop him as a jumper,” Lawrence added.

   This year’s Kiwifruit Cup is just a normal handicap event where apprentices can claim so Lawrence has booked promising New Plymouth apprentice Kei Chiong for Intransigent on Saturday and she will claim a 3kg allowance.  

   The stablemates Ron’s Last and Whero Nui were the only horses to work at speed at the session and they hit out well over 1000 metres.

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

   Ron’s Last and Whero Nui worked over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:7.1, the last 600 in 38.6 and both appeared to get through the testing conditions well.

   Ron’s Last is entered for the 1200-metre two-year-old race at this Friday’s Otaki meeting. The Patapan gelding finished last of eight runners when making his debut over 1000 metres at Trentham back in January but was unsuited by a very firm track that day and has since won a 1000-metre trial on the Otaki track. He is prepared by Katrina Alexander.

   Whero Nui is a gelding by Spartacus who has recorded one third from four starts and could line up at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Saturday week.

   Hawkeye Chief, a possible runner at next Monday’s Rotorua meeting, worked with Kayleen over 1000 metres on the grass in 1:12.8, the last 600 in 39. Hawkeye Chief finished third on debut over 1200 metres at Woodville in April but has disappointed in two starts since.

   Indiscretion and a Strategic Image three-year-old gelding worked easily over 1000 metres on the grass in 1:11.8, the last 600 in 39.9 while Midnight Molly ran the last 1000 metres on her work on the plough in 1:19.2, the last 600 in 46.6.

   Mr Hare ran an easy 800 metres in 60s, the last 600 in 44 while his stablemates Waipatiki Girl were given a similar assignment with their last 600 taking 44.2.

   A Zed three-year-old gelding trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen clocked 56.2 for 800 metres, the last 600 in 41.1 while a Pentire two-year-old filly in the same stable ran her last 600 metres in 45.2.

Hastings jockey notches first win after scary start 11 Jun 2014

Hastings jumps jockey Shaun Fannin will always remember his first ever race win as being one that almost got away.

   Fannin, 18, rode Houndscry to victory in the $20,000 Restricted Open Hurdle at Trentham last Saturday but things nearly turned to disaster in the early stages of the 3000-metre event for both horse and rider.

   Fannin lost the use of his right stirrup iron when Houndscry put in a poor jump at the first fence and he was not able to get his foot back in until they had negotiated a further two jumps.

   “I nearly tipped out at the second fence,” Fannin said this week.

   “I use plastic irons and it had swung up over the back of the saddle. I had to try and hook it back with my foot and I wasn’t able to get it back until after we jumped the third fence.”

   The incident also meant that the pre-race plan for Houndscry was thrown into disarray. He was supposed to settle back in the field and then gradually improve over the final stages but, with Fannin having limited control, the horse improved quickly around the field to chase the tearaway leader Venerate.

   “I had to go to Plan B and just try and get him to relax,” Fannin said.

   “It was quite a big effort by the horse. He really tried hard and jumped well after that first one.”

   Fannin kept Venerate in his sights going down the back straight and said he was surprised there were no other challengers at that stage.

   “I had a look over my shoulder at the 800 expecting Aintree or Mahanadi (the two favourites) to be coming up but they weren’t there.”

    Houndscry ranged up outside Venerate rounding the home turn and they were joined by Wilbur soon after, with the three horses going stride for stride approaching the final jump.

   “Coming to the last I knew I had to get my horse to put in a big one and he did,” Fannin recalled. “He landed in front and just kept going.”

   At the line Houndscry was a length in front of second placed Venerate, with Wilbur another length back in third.

   Fannin gave a victory salute after passing the finish line and said “it was a great thrill.”

   It was just his second ride in a jumping race, the first resulting in an eighth aboard Anything Goes in a maiden hurdle at Ellerslie on Queen’s Birthday Monday.

   Houndscry is trained and part-owned by Wanganui’s Kevin Myers, for whom Fannin is working for at the moment.

   He was born in Hastings where he was educated at Hastings Boys’ High School and is a son of former thoroughbred trainer Jill Martin, who is married to Reece Fannin.

   Shaun Fannin has had 10 years experience riding show jumpers and is still a keen competitor in the equestrian arena. He took out an amateur jockeys’ licence last season but has now upgraded that to a hurdle and highweight licence.

   In Hastings he rides work for the training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and he has been working for Myers for the past month.

   “It’s a great place to work and Kevin is a master trainer. He has a big team and I get to jump a lot of horses each day which is improving me all the time,” Fannin added.

   “I plan to stay here until the end of September and then I have to go home because I’ve got a couple of show jumpers to ride over the spring and summer.”



Survived back on track

   Star Hawke’s Bay owned and trained galloper Survived is back in work and has been making regular visits to the Hastings track this week, but just for a look.

   The Zed four-year-old is now in the stable of Kelly Burne after previously being in the care of another Hastings trainer, John Bary.

   Burne says Survived has not been in her stable long after he was spelled at owner Don Gordon’s Hawke’s Bay farm for three months.

   “He obviously did very well out at Don’s place and has come to me in tremendous condition,” Burne said.

   “I’ve just been riding him around the stables at home and bringing him into the track each day just for a trip and a look around.

   “The first day he came in he stood in the stalls and shook but he’s settled down and is good now.”

   Burne said the plan is to kick Survived’s new campaign off in the Group 1 $200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on August 30, a race he won last year when trained by Bary.

   She said she will also nominate him for the other two Group 1 races at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) in mid-September and the Hawke’s Bay Spring Classic (2040m) in October.

   Survived is the winner of seven races from 16 starts and has amassed more than $337,000 in stakemoney. His other victory this season came in the Group 3 $70,000 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) while he also finished a close third in the Group 1 Turks Spring Classic at Hastings.


Apprentice on the rise

   Hastings-born apprentice Brett Murray is starting to make a name for himself after recording a winning treble in the past week.

   Murray, 19, kicked home Up Your Slieve and Karla Bruni to victory at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting at Trentham and then added a third aboard Zena Princess in the opening event at Otaki on Monday.

   Those three wins have taken his career tally to seven which means his apprentice weight claim has now been reduced from 4kg to 3kg.

   Murray is apprenticed to Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin and only notched his first win aboard the Breslin-trained Shadow Player at Trentham on April 12 this year. It is little wonder he regards Trentham as his favourite racecourse.

   Although he was born in Hastings Brett Murray spent most of his early life in the Waikato where he attended Matamata College. He is a son of Glen Murray who was a jumps jockey based in Hastings back in the early 2000’s who rode 13 winners in a brief career.

   Brett Murray’s favourite racehorse is another Breslin-trained runner, Mighty Matt, a horse he has only had twice in races for two eighth placings. His main ambition, at this stage, is to ride 100 wins as an apprentice.




Red-letter day for Marsh

   Former New Zealand trainer Bruce Marsh had plenty of reasons to celebrate last Sunday when he prepared three winners, one in a Group 1 race in Malaysia and two at his base in Singapore.

   A former top jockey, when living in Hastings in the 1960s and early 1970s, Marsh was one of New Zealand’s leading thoroughbred trainers for many years when he operated stables in Woodville before deciding to move to Singapore in March 2005.

   He has enjoyed tremendous success in Singapore, winning the rich Singapore Derby twice, and is presently seventh on the trainers’ premiership there with 22 wins this season.

   Trudeau was Marsh’s first ever runner in Malaysia and the six-year-old Exceed And Excel gelding landed the Group 1 Piala Emas Sultan Selangor (2000m) at Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, in the hands of Australian jockey Noel Callow. The race was worth 500,000 Malaysian Ringgit, which equates to about $NZ170,000.

   It was Trudeau’s seventh win in total and he also earned his connections a 200,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($NZ70,000) bonus for being a Singapore-trained winner of the race.

   Less than five minutes after Trudeau’s win Marsh produced Hypernova to take out a $S80,000 Class 3 race over 1200 metres on the Kranji track in Singapore, with the New Zealand-bred scoring by three-quarters of a length.

   It completed a winning double at the meeting for Marsh who also won took out a $S75,000 Restricted Maiden over 1200 metres with another New Zealand-bred in Powernova.

   Both Hypernova and Powernova are by the successful New Zealand sire Elusive City.

   Besides the treble of wins Marsh also picked up a second placing

   Marsh won many of the top races on the New Zealand racing calendar as a jockey but is best remembered for his win aboard Silver Knight in the 1971 Melbourne Cup.  


Floria’s cup win

   New Zealand-owned mare Floria, winner of last Saturday’s Group 2 $A300,000 Brisbane Cup ( 2400m) is to be retired to stud this spring according to Mark Chitty, managing director of the mare’s owners Haunui Farm.

   The Savabeel mare, formerly prepared in New Zealand by Stephen McKee and now in the care of Australian trainer Peter Moody, is now the winner of three stakes races and may have one more run before heading to stud.

   “She may have one more run this campaign but she is a rising seven-year-old so it is time for her to go to stud,” Chitty said.

   Floria won the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham in March 2012.


Milestone for Iffraaj

   Successful stallion Iffraaj sired his 20th stakes winner when Magic Artist took out the Group 3 Bavarian Classic (2000m) at Munich, in Germany last Monday.

   That win came a day after the son of Zafonic produced his fourth Group 1 winner when Benvenue won the Gran Premio Di Milano (2400m) at San Siro in Italy.

   Iffraaj has been a shuttle stallion to Auckland’s Haunui Farm Stud since 2008 and will again stand there this year at a fee of $15,000 plus GST.

   His other Group 1 winners have all been in Europe, Chriselliam, Rizeena and Wootton Bassett.


   No Quota, preparing for Saturday’s Manawatu Steeplechase, got through a searching workout in good style at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   No Quota schooled over  12 hurdle fences in the centre and then came out on the plough and ran 1000 metres in 1:16.5, the last 600 in 44. The Kingfisher Mill gelding won two steeplechase races at the beginning of last winter but then unfortunately slipped and fell in the Hawke’s Bay Steeples at the end of June. That was his last jumping race but trainer Paul Nelson gave the horse a run over 2200 metres on the flat at Tauherenikau last week to help fit him for Saturday’s 4400-metre feature at Awapuni.

   Time honours for the session went to Viceroy who ended his work with a sharp 600-metre sprint in 35.8. He is entered for the Rating 65 highweight over 1600 metres at Wanganui on Thursday.

   Lavish Prince also worked keenly when running 1000 metres in 1:3.5, the last 600 in 37.6. He has been freshened since struggling to handle an extremely heavy track at Trentham on May 24 and probably won’t start again until the Hawke’s Bay meeting on June 28.

   Waipatiki Girl worked in easily from the 1000-metre peg in 1:12.2, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 39.8 while her stablemate Adventador was restricted to 800 metres at just three-quarter pace. Both horses probably won’t be seen in action on race day again until the new season.

  Bastion worked over 800 metres in 53.8, the last 600 in 39 while Mr Hare ended his work with 600 metres in 41.

   Speed King worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000-metre peg, running the last 600 in 41.8 while Indiscretion and Designated Driver worked in from the 1000-metre peg at half-pace and quickened slightly over the last 600 in 43.3.


There were very few horses worked on the Hastings track this morning and nothing at speed.

   Adventador was one that worked over an easy 800 metres on the plough (good), clocking 59.8 and coming home the last 600 in 43.6. The big Fast ‘N’ Famous gelding showed plenty of ability last year when recording four wins and two seconds in the space of eight starts and looks to have come back in great order.

   A Pentire two-year-old filly in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable also worked over 800 metres at not much more than three-quarter pace, clocking 56.8 for the full distance and 41.2 for the last 600. She is a nice moving youngster that shows plenty of promise.

   Golan Express, an impressive maiden winner at Tauherenikau last Monday, was among the horses restricted to just pacework. She has now had two starts for a close second and a win.

   Whoopi Gee was another who was restricted to just pacework. She resumed from a spell with a sixth over 1000 metres at Tauherenikau last Monday and looks to have come through the race well. 

First success a huge thrill for Hastings owner 4 Jun 2014

   There is nothing like watching the first horse you have raced go past the winning post well clear of the opposition so it was little wonder that Hastings woman Peggy Khan was yelling for joy when Golan Express scored at last Monday’s Wairarapa meeting at Tauherenikau.

   Khan’s cheering could be heard above commentator Tom Wood’s description of the final stages of the Agpack RD1 Maiden Sprint as her pride and joy Golan Express raced away for a 1-1/4 length win.

   “It was a huge thrill,” Khan said this week.

   “It’s the first horse I’ve taken to the track and this is her third preparation. She’s had different problems, with a shoulder injury and a sprained leg, and it has just taken time.”

   Golan Express is a rising six-year-old mare by Golan out of Sweet Express and is leased by Khan from the horse’s Wairoa breeders Howard and Kay Jones.

   Khan was originally from Wairoa and worked for a time for Howard Jones. She has had experience in breaking in horses and says she broke in the good racemare No Excuse Maggie, owned by Howard and Kay Jones, before the horse went on to win seven races from the Hastings stable of John Bary.

   Golan Express is officially trained by Fred Pratt but Khan rides the horse from the stables to the Hastings track and back each morning and also rides the mare in most of her trackwork.

   “Fred Pratt has been a big influence on me and I have learnt a lot from him,” Khan added.

   The win by Golan Express wasn’t unexpected after the mare had turned in an exceptional debut performance for second over 1200 metres at Hastings on May 22. On that occasion she was back last on the home turn and flashed home to get within a long head of the winner La Becane.

   Rider Thomas Russell had Golan Express much handier in the running in last Monday’s 1000-metre race, sitting just in behind the leaders approaching the home turn. She bounded to the front early in the home straight and dashed clear for a decisive victory.

   Golan Express is out of the Exploding Prospect mare Sweet Express, who is now deceased. She only produced two foals, the other being Shan’t Get Court, by Bertolini, who recorded two wins, three seconds and two thirds when trained at Hastings by Kelly Burne.


Sea King a jump ahead of rivals

  Top jumper Sea King, bred and part-owned by Central Hawke’s Bay woman Sue Harty, brought up his seventh win over hurdles with a strong performance in last Monday’s $50,000 K S Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie.

   The Shinko King seven-year-old had to lump topweight of 70kg in the 3350-metre event and was hotly challenged by Just Got Home and Big Brownie over the last 300 metres. But he managed to produce that little bit extra to forge ahead and win by half a length from Just Got Home, with third placed Big Brownie a further 4 lengths behind.

   Sea King has now won 10 races in total from 37 starts and Monday’s success took his stake earnings to more than $176,000. His wins last winter included the Waikato Hurdles at Te Rapa, Hawke’s Bay Hurdles at Hastings and Sydenham Hurdles at Riccarton.

   Sea King is out of the Prince Of Praise mare Ocean Princess and a half-brother to King Tap, who has been a winner in the South Island. Harty races the horse in partnership with Otaki trainer Rachel Frost and Auckland-based Chris O’Reilly.

   Frost trained Sea King as a young horse but transferred him to the Wanganui stable of Kevin Myers to further his education as a jumper.


Thunderbird One blasts off

   Thunderbird One, a horse that won five of his first 10 starts but was later barred from racing in New Zealand, made an impressive winning debut in Australia on Thursday of last week.

   The Storm Creek five-year-old, now prepared by former New Zealand trainer Francis Finnegan, won a $A40,000 race over 1400 metres at Sale at odds of 13 to 1 on the New Zealand TAB.

   It was Thunderbird One’s first success since he cruised to a 2-1/4 length victory in an open 1200-metre sprint at Hastings in August of last year. That was his fifth win in a row and he then finished sixth in the Group 3 Merial Metric Mile (1600m) at Awapuni the following month.

   Thunderbird One was trained then by the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and they had hopes of tackling some of the rich cup races with the horse last spring. But, after finishing third in the Group 3 Sofitel Luxury Hotel Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie in November, he was a late scratching when a heavily supported favourite for the Group 2 Counties Cup (2100m) later that month after refusing to load into the starting stalls.

   It wasn’t the first time Thunderbird One had been cantankerous on race day. He flipped over backwards in the mounting yard at Hastings one day and was declared a late scratching and was also withdrawn at the start on at least one other occasion when he suddenly went berserk in the barriers.

   Following his inglorious performance on Counties Cup day Thunderbird One was ordered to either barrier trial or undergo a jumpout to the satisfaction of stewards before being allowed to race again in New Zealand. He lined up in a barrier trial at Cambridge in the first week of December where he was walked into the gates riderless, without any issue, but then lunged forward and injured a barrier attendant.

   Stipendiary steward John Oatham deemed the horse’s behaviour not good enough to gain a clearance to race again in New Zealand and so he was sent to Australia to join the Sydney stable of Chris Waller.

   Thunderbird One’s wayward behaviour was no better in Waller’s big stable environment. In fact they couldn’t get him to work on the track at all so he was banished to a rehabilitation establishment, just out of Sydney, to try and straighten him out. That lasted just a short time and proved to no avail so he was then sent to Francis Finnegan at Cranbourne.

   Finnegan was formerly based at Woodville and had Thunderbird One in his care when the horse was a youngster, before he was transferred to the Baker/Forsman stable.

   He says he and his partner, former New Zealand jockey Samantha Bambry, understand the horse and say he is a carbon copy of the top mare Eileen Dubh that they trained, both horses being by the sire Storm Creek.

   “Samantha, who rides him daily, and jockey Adam McCabe, who rode him to win last Thursday, are fantastic with him and are really kind to him.

   “The horse was in a great place mentally at Sale last week and remained very calm. Adam said he was very relaxed in the run and, despite getting back in the on a track that had a definite front running bias, he was able to work into the clear and win very easy, carrying at least four kilograms more than most of his rivals.” 

   Finnegan said he will probably give Thunderbird One another race, over a bit more distance, before turning him out for a spell and will then bring him back in the spring.


Dee back from Hong Kong

   Former Hastings apprentice Michael Dee resumed race riding at yesterday’s Taranaki meeting at New Plymouth after returning on Tuesday from a three week stay in Hong Kong.

  Dee was awarded an equine scholarship, partly sponsored by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, to travel to Hong Kong where he worked in stables and rode trackwork and in barrier trials. He is now attached to the Wanganui stable of Kevin Myers.


Pheasant flies in   

   Pheasant, a horse formerly trained at Hastings by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, recorded his first win since transferring to the South Island when he took out a $17,5000 Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at last Friday’s Canterbury meeting.

   The Thorn Park six-year-old is now trained by Brian Gliddon at Prebbleton and his win followed a third placing over 1600 metres at Timaru on May 16.

   Pheasant won one race from the Lowry/Cullen stable, that being a 1340-metre maiden at Wanganui in March 2011.


Our Destiny retired

   The former good winter performer Our Destiny has suffered another leg injury and is unlikely to race again.

   The Le Destin eight-year-old was back in light work with Hastings stable of Corrina McDougal, who had been gifted a half-share in the horse following the death of his Ashburton co-breeder and owner Ron Smith.

   Smith raced Our Destiny in partnership with Hawke’s Bay man Peter Grieve and he won them six races and also recorded three seconds and four thirds.

   Our Destiny relished heavy track conditions and also showed plenty of promise as a jumper, his six hurdle starts producing two seconds and a third.


   A Lucky Unicorn four-year-old gelding looked to be working well at the end of an easy 1000 metres in a quiet session at the Hastings track today.

   There were only a small number of horses worked and most of those were restricted to just pacework.

   The Lucky Unicorn gelding worked on the plough (soft) and covered a 1000 metres in 1:12.1, running the first 400 in 31.7 and coming home the last 600 in 40.4. He is prepared by David Stenning, who is now based in Hawke's Bay after previously being in the north.

   A Zed three-year-old gelding looked keen to go a lot faster when running an easy 600 metres in 43.2 while Labill was kept to just three-quarter pace over 600 metres in 44.7.

   A China Cat-Lady Shine six-year-old gelding worked over two rounds, running home the last 600 metres on the first lap in 44.1.

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