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Hurdling not an option for Intransigent 24 Jun 2015

   Hawke’s Bay’s history-making thoroughbred Intransigent jumps almost as good as he gallops but don’t expect to see him in a hurdling role in the future.

   Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence, who now races the eight-year-old in partnership with her husband Steve and the horse’s Auckland owner Judge John Clapham, said this week the trio have made a pact not to risk him over fences and are now looking at giving him another shot at the Listed $65,000 Taumarunui Cup (2100m) at Te Rapa tomorrow week.

   Intransigent brought up his 11th success and took his stake earnings to more than $328,000 when he became the first horse ever to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Kiwifruit Cup, the feature race at last Saturday’s Tauranga meeting.

   The Refuse To Bend gelding showed his adeptness in wet and slushy track conditions to take out the 2100-metre event by a long neck from Ethical, with two lengths back to third placed Pump Up The Volume.

   It was a performance similar to the horse’s victories in the same race in both 2013 and 2014 while his other past victories include the 2013 Taumarunui Cup and last year’s Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m).

   Intransigent hadn’t won a race since taking out last year’s Kiwifruit Cup but Kirsty Lawrence was confident the horse could turn his form around last Saturday, given that he would strike his favourable wet loose track conditions and that he had dropped down to the minimum weight of 53kg in the handicap.

   “In all his 11 wins he has been able to get through the track conditions but, in his lead up races this time, he had struck tracks at Awapuni and Wellington that were much slower than he likes,” Lawrence said.

   “He has had his doubters but I knew I had him right going into the race and he got the track he was desperate for.

   “It was a plan that came off. You just hope that dreams come true and this time it did.”

   Intransigent’s win also provided the Lawrence’s with perfect birthday presents. Kirsty celebrated her 40th birthday on Tuesday of last week while husband Steve had turned 50 the week before.  

   Intransigent was raced on lease by Kirsty and Steve Lawrence along with family members and close friends for his first 10 wins but that lease expired this year and Judge John Clapham has now taken over a 50 per cent shareholding.

   Lawrence, who has trained other horses for Clapham, said the trio have agreed on two things. One that the horse will continue to race in Lawrence’s stable colours and the other that they won’t race him over fences.

   “The horse owes us nothing and if he was to break down while racing over fences I would never forgive myself,” Lawrence said.

   “We’ll still school him over jumps as a change in his training and he’ll go to a few hunts but we don’t want to risk racing him as a jumper.”

   Lawrence has now set her sights on trying to win a second Taumarunui Cup with Intransigent but knows it will be a very difficult task this time.

   “He has gone up nine points in the ratings for Saturday’s win which puts him on 89 and means he is likely to have to carry 58 kilos in the Taumarunui Cup,” she said.

   “He carried 55.5 kilograms last year and ran fifth but it is going to be a lot harder for him this year.”

   Intransigent was ridden to victory last Saturday by Palmerston North jockey Kane Smith. It was his only ride for the day and he had wasted hard to make the horse’s 53kg book weight.

   Lawrence was quick to pay tribute to her jockey for his perseverance with the horse and the ride he produced.

   “I have got to give credit to Kane as he stuck with the horse and wasted hard all week to get there so it’s a job well done,” she added.

   Kirsty Lawrence is also preparing an unraced three-year-old half-sister to Intransigent for Judge Clapham. It is called Portent and has had jumpouts and been educated but won’t race until next season.

   A two-year-old half-brother to Intransigent, by Sir Percy, was sold for $87,500 at last year’s Karaka yearling sales. It was bought by bloodstock agent Paul Moroney and is now in the Matamata stable of Mike Moroney and Chad Ormsby and called Surface To Air.

   Intransigent’s dam Risible has since produced a weanling filly by Makfi.


Coped best in the conditions

   Hastings-trained Double O Seven made a return to the winner’s stall after an almost three year drought when he overcame atrocious weather and track conditions to score a 6 length victory at Otaki last Friday.

   The No Excuse Needed nine-year-old lined up in the third race at the Otaki meeting, a $10,000 Rating 75 highweight over 2100 metres. It was run in torrential rain that was so severe that commentator Tom Wood had difficulty identifying the runners and the ground was so deep in places that horses were struggling to pull their feet out.

   Double O Seven was ridden by Buddy Lammas who kept the horse well away from the inside rail throughout, settling him near the rear in the early stages before sending him on a forward move around the field starting the last 700 metres. The horse was almost up against the outside fence after rounding the home turn and out-slogged his rivals in the run to the line.

   The 13 horse field was spread over more than 200 metres by the time Double O Seven reached the finish and the race favourite Our Girl Kate was pulled up before even getting to the line.

   It was little wonder that the remaining five races on the Otaki programme were abandoned with jockeys saying visibility was poor and that the extremely heavy track was unsafe for racing on.

   Double O Seven is trained on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and is the now the winner of five races from 65 starts. He was formerly owned by a syndicate but is now raced by Grant Cullen in partnership with his partner, Dannevirke equine physiotherapist Nikki Lourie.

   Lourie has done a lot of work on Double O Seven in recent months and the horse indicated he was ready to show a return to form when turning in a strong gallop in Hastings trackwork on Tuesday of last week.

   Cullen said the horse is now likely to head to the Marton meeting at Awapuni tomorrow week for a $20,000 Rating 85 race over 2100 metres.


Back to his best

   Addictive Habit, who returned to his best form with a strong win in a Listed $100,000 event at the Gold Coast last Saturday, is likely to have one more run in Queensland before returning to New Zealand.

   Hawke’s Bay’s Isabell Roddick, and her husband Graham, share in the ownership of the Colombia five-year-old and she said this week that he will probably contest a $A65,000 1600-metre open handicap at the Caloundra track on July 4 before remaining in Australia for a spell.

   “The aim is to give him a short spell over there and then get him ready for the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival,” Roddick said.

   Addictive Habit was balloted out of the first two Group 1 races at last year’s Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and finished 10th out of 15 in the Livamol Classic (2040m) on the final day when unsuited by a firm track.

   The horse then went on to claim the Group 2 $230,000 Couplands Mile (1600m) at Riccarton in November and is now the winner of eight races and more than $320,000 in stakemoney.

   Addictive Habit was having his Australian start after disappointing runs in both the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m).

   Isabell Roddick thinks the horse may have contracted a slight virus on the flight from Auckland to Brisbane as he seemed uncharacteristically dull when she saw him before he contested the Doomben Cup.

   “He looked a bit flat on it but it looks like he has come right now which is great and Saturday’s win was very exciting,” she said.

   Trainer Lee Somervell described Addictive Habit as “a lovely horse to do anything with and a horse that always tries his heart out.”

   It was a memorable weekend for Somervell as, just 20 minutes before Addictive Habit won he produced Kentucky Son to take out a $25,000 Rating 75 race at the Tauranga meeting.

   Addictive Habit was bred by the Roddicks out of the Sky Chase mare Chasing The Habit, who is a half-sister to the champion galloper Rough Habit (29 wins).

   The Roddicks are standing a half-brother to Rough Habit, Citi Habit, at their Montana Lodge property. The stallion, whose fee is just $1000, is the sire of the promising Cafe Culture (3 wins) and the recent New Plymouth winner Nitro Ted.


Two in a row

   D’Llaro, despite bungling the last two fences, made it two wins from two jumping starts in a $20,000 Restricted Open Hurdle at last Sunday’s Te Aroha meeting.

   The eight-year-old gelding, part-owned by Napier’s John McGifford, was lucky to stand up when he ploughed through the second to last fence and then barely rose high enough to clear the last before going on to win the 3100-metre event by 2-1/2 lengths.

   It was the horse’s second start over the jumps and followed an impressive 5-1/2 length win in a maiden hurdle race over 2760 metres at Ellerslie on June 1.

   McGifford races D’Llaro in partnership with Cambridge trainer Graeme Lord and Kim Hughes and the horse’s record is now eight wins, six seconds and a third from 58 starts.

   Lord said he won’t be over-taxing D’Llaro this winter, saying he will keep the horse to the smaller races to help educate him for better things next year.


Drought ended  

   Nectacolecta, part-owned by Napier men Derek Hill and Kevin Bird, earned a reprieve from possible retirement when she returned to winning form in a $7000 Rating 65 race over 1200 metres at Te Teko on Wednesday of last week.

  The Keeper three-year-old filly had not won since taking out a 1200-metre maiden race at the same meeting 12 months ago but was impressive when racing to a 1-1/4 length win.

   Nectacolecta is trained at Matamata by Graham Richardson and was ridden in last week’s win by promising apprentice Victoria Gatu.


By-monthly award

   Graham Wainwright and his daughter Kayla-Lee, who race the Hastings-trained Gold Moet, are the recipients of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Association’s by-monthly award for April and May.

   Gold Moet, prepared by Sue Thompson and Mick Brown, capped off a string of minor placings with a game win in a Rating 65 race over 1400 metres at Hastings on May 7. It was the Gold Centre gelding’s second win from 26 starts.



Dances With Wolves was one of only a handful of horses to work at speed in another very quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

   Fast work was again confined to the plough, which provided slushy footing after overnight rain.

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

   Dances With Wolves worked in from the 1200-metre peg at three-quarter pace and was let stride out a bit stronger up the home straight. He was timed to run the 1200 metres in 1:28.8, the first 600 taking 46.3 and the last 600 in 42.5.

   The Buffalo Man three-year-old resumed from a spell with a fast finishing third over 1000 metres at Tauherenikau at the beginning of this month and then missed out on a run at last Friday’s abandoned Otaki meeting. He will now step out in a maiden race over 1400 metres at this Saturday’s Hawke's Bay meeting with Miranda Dravitski to ride him again.

   Zed Leppelin was another who was given an easy run over 1200 metres and was timed to run home the last 600 in 42.1. He is another who turned in a reasonably good race for sixth over 1400 metres at Woodville last start and could also be a starter at Hastings this Saturday.

   Odencian had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running an easy 1000 metres, the last 600 in 44.1 while Light Years was not doing much more than three-quarter pace when working over a round, the last 600 in 43.4.

   Tirralirra was another who was restricted to just three-quarter pace when running 1000 metres, the last 600 in 46.3. She is a filly by Towkay out of the useful racemare Likenothinelsie.


The John Bary-trained pair of Super Scot and Queenofharpz produced the only serious gallop in another quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

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

   Super Scot finished ahead of Queenofharpz at the end of 1000 metres in 1:3.4, running the first 400 metres in 26.2 and coming home the last 600 in 37.2.

   An Ekraar two-year-old filly and a Wobble six-year-old worked together over an easy 600 metres in 39.5 while a Mastercraftsman two-year-old gelding in Patrick Campbell’s stable also ran an easy 600 metres in 40.4.

   A No Excuse Needed three-year-old filly trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen was one of several horses restricted to just three-quarter pace.


   Double O Seven turned in the best workout in another quiet session at the Hastings track this morning, running strongly over a round on his own.

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

   Double O Seven started slowly when working in from about the 2000-metre peg but gradually increased the speed and finished his work off well. He was timed from the 1200-metre peg in 1:19.4, running the last 600 in a reasonably quick 36.7.

   The No Excuse Needed nine-year-old was a well beaten eighth in a Rating 85 race over 2100 metres at Te Rapa last start but will drop back to Rating 75 in a 2100-metre highweight at Otaki this Friday, with Buddy Lammas booked to ride him.

   Zed Leppelin, another who may race at Otaki on Friday, was let off with an easy 1000-metre workout in 1:11.1, running the last 600 in 39.4. He hasn’t had much luck in his last two starts and could contest the maiden highweight at Otaki.

   Speed King ran a solo 800 metres in 54.1, the last 600 in 39.3 while Lavish Prince ran over the same distance at three-quarter pace, the last 600 taking 41.9.

   A Prince Arthur three-year-old gelding in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable was another restricted to just three-quarter pace, running the last 600 metres of his work in 45.7.

Hawke’s Bay Steeples next for Upper Cut 17 Jun 2015

   Upper Cut, a gallant winner of last Saturday’s Manawatu Steeples, will now try to add next week’s $50,000 Animal Health Direct Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase to his tally before heading south for the $75,000 Grand National at Riccarton on August 8.

   Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan said this week the Yamanin Vital eight-year-old, who is part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby, seems to have taken no harm from his gut-busting victory in last Saturday’s 4400-metre feature and he has now mapped out a programme which may also see the horse have another attempt at this year’s Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie.

    “He’ll go to Hawke’s Bay now and then we’ll take him down south,” Oulaghan said. “But he won’t go to the Wellington Steeplechase. I don’t think the figure eight course there would suit him.”

   Upper Cut contested the Great Northern Steeplechase in September last year but, after looking to travel well on top of the hill for the last time, he knuckled on landing at a fence and fell. It was another case of bad luck for a horse who had been plagued by misfortune.

   The bad run started in 2012 when, after winning his first two steeplechases at Wanganui and Riccarton, Upper Cut was out being pre-trained when he had an accident and injured a tendon. It meant he missed the entire next season and it was almost two years before he reappeared at the races.

   Oulaghan deliberately wanted  to give Upper Cut a light preparation last year, aimed  at peaking him for the Grand National Steeples in August. But a vital lead-up race, the Koral Steeples on the first day of the national meeting, proved a non-event for the horse when his saddle slipped and he was pulled up less than half-way through.

   “He couldn’t run in the National after that so we had a go at the Great Northern at Ellerslie instead---and he was unlucky there too,” Oulaghan added.

   Upper Cut has now recorded four wins from 20 starts and his victory last Saturday took his stake earnings to more than $62,000.

   Oulaghan shares in the ownership of the horse and the other partners, besides Ormsby, are Aroha Duncan, Jim Speedy and Warren Scott, all from the Manawatu area.

   Oulaghan bought the horse as an unbroken three-year-old for $5000 and has previously enjoyed success with a number of other jumpers by the sire Yamanin Vital, who stood at White Robe Lodge before his death in October, 2009.

   They include the two time Grand National Steeplechase and Hurdles winner Counter Punch and the Grand National and Waikato Hurdles winner Yourtheman, who also won a Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase.

   Oulaghan also prepared Yamanin Vital’s best son Who Shot Thebarman to win the Group 1 Auckland Cup before he placed in both the Melbourne and Sydney Cups last year for Sydney trainer Chris Waller.

   Michael Ormsby was also a part-owner of Counter Punch, whose 13 wins also included the Koral Steeples (twice) and the Wellington Hurdles. He, along with Oulaghan and Aroha Duncan, first raced the useful flat performer Miniskirt together and she won them five races.

   Oulaghan said providing Upper Cut turns in another good performance at Hastings next week he will then probably attempt the Koral Steeples-Grand National Steeples double at Riccarton next month.

   “We’ll see how he does down there before deciding about another go at the northern, but with his ability to handle heavy ground, he’ll be a show wherever he goes. He can handle ground some others can’t,” Oulaghan said.

   Upper Cut relished the heavy-11track conditions at Awapuni last Saturday and produced a determined late charge after the last fence to get up in the last couple of strides and snatch a long neck victory over Mr Mor, with the race favourite Carinya 2-3/4 lengths back in third place.

   It was Oulaghan’s second Manawatu Steeplechase success after he produced The Jolly Dancer to take out the event in 2007.


Kipkeino’s fifth at Awapuni

   Waipukurau-trained Kipkeino is fast becoming an Awapuni track specialist.

   The seven-year-old brought up his fifth success from 14 starts on the course when he powered away for a 2-1/4 length win in the $25,000 open handicap race over 2100 metres at last Saturday’s Manawatu meeting.

   The Sunray gelding was ably handled by apprentice Miranda Dravitzki and revelled in the heavy-11 track conditions, trailing the leaders until the home turn before taking control over the final stages.

   “He just loves it at Awapuni and Miranda has really clicked with him so they are a tough combination to beat when he gets conditions to suit,” noted the gelding’s proud owner and trainer Lucy de Lautour.

   “He likes the testing winter tracks and Saturday’s surface was perfect for him so I thought he would go a good race.

   “He seems to be a lot stronger this campaign, which Miranda has also commented on, so hopefully he can keep performing at this level over the next few months.”

   De Lautour races Kipkeino in partnership with her husband Will and he has now won them six races and close to $87,000 in stakemoney, an excellent return on the $5500 they paid for him at a South Island mixed bloodstock sale in 2009.

   She hasn’t thought too far ahead with the horse, who she has kept up to the mark with some schooling over jumps to add some variety to his routine at home.

   “I haven’t really got anything planned for him but the way he is going I will have to take a look at some of the better races coming up as he deserves a shot at a good prize if we can find one that suits.

   “He also does some work over the fences so I think at some stage we will try him as a jumper but, while he is going so well on the flat, that isn’t an option in the near future.”


Improvement likely

   Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell is confident Addictive Habit can turn his form around at tomorrow’s Gold Coast meeting in Australia where the Colombia five-year-old will contest a Listed $A100,000 race over 1800 metres.

   Addictive Habit, bred and part-owned by Hawke’s Bay couple Graham and Isabell Roddick, has been unplaced in two starts so far at this year’s Queensland winter carnival, in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m). But Somervell says the horse seems to have progressed a lot since his last run and he is looking forward to lining him up again tomorrow.

   “I’ve left him at Bevan Laming’s place over there and they are very happy with him and the way he has been working,” Somervell said.

   “He’s a lot better than he’s showed in his first two races. He had been eating and drinking well, but just wasn’t quite himself.

   “Michael Cahill rode him in a track gallop last week and was very pleased. They think he’s bounced right back.”  


Two wins for Fannin

   Hawke’s Bay-born jumps jockey Shaun Fannin kicked home two winners last week to take his career tally to 12.

   The 19-year-old steered Romelo to an easy 4-1/2 length victory in a $7000 maiden highweight over 1600 metres at Wanganui on Thursday and then travelled to the South Canterbury meeting at Timaru the next day where he partnered Sir Manawa to a 5-3/4 length win in a $10,000 maiden hurdle race over 3000 metres.

   Both horses are trained by Wanganui’s Kevin Myers who Fannin is now employed by. He began his career as an amateur rider, when working for the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

   Fannin has now posted nine wins and 14 minor placings aboard Myers-trained horses since first joining his stable just over 12 months ago.

   Fannin’s day was not all good at last Friday’s South Canterbury meeting however. He fell from the well supported Gagarin, also trained by Myers, in the restricted open hurdle race.

   Waipukurau apprentice Rebecca Goldsbury also added to her winning tally with another success at Awapuni last Saturday, aboard Les Sylphides in a $17,500 Rating 65 race over 2100 metres.

   The 22-year-old has now amassed 26 wins and will have her apprentice claim reduced from 3kg to 2kg once she reaches 30 wins.


HB races next week

   The jumpers will take centre stage when Hawke’s Bay Racing stages its feature winter race meeting at Hastings tomorrow week.

   Four jumping races are programmed on the day, including the $50,000 Animal Health Direct Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) and the $50,000 Te Whangai Romney’s Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m).

   The other two jumping races are a $10,000 maiden steeplechase over 4000 metres and a $10,000 maiden hurdle over 2500 metres while the feature flat race will be a $25,000 open handicap over 2100 metres.

   There will be $10 gate charge with free admission to those under 18 years old.


Weanling parade

   The Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders Association will be conducting its annual weanling parade on Sunday, June 28.

   The starting point will be at Guy Lowry’s property in Kawera Road at 10.30am, where there will be five colts and two fillies on display.

   The next stop will be at Lime Country Thoroughbreds, situated at Okawa Stud, where there will be 11 weanlings viewed. The majority are by their resident sire Niagara, who will also be paraded.

   The final stop will be at Gerard Moughan’s property at 306 St  Georges Road,  Havelock North. Two weanlings will be shown there.

   On the completion of the parade there will be a luncheon at “Off The Track” restaurant in Havelock Road. There will be a two course meal at a cost of $38/head.

   It is essential that those people wishing to attend the luncheon make a reservation by phone to Isabell Roddick at 879-8662.


Breeders AGM

   The annual general meeting of the Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders  Association will be held in the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse this Sunday, June 21, commencing at 2pm.


Makfi Stakes now a possibility for Alleyoop 11 Jun 2015

Thoroughbred trainer James Bridge doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself, but a return to his old home town in the spring for a Group 1 assignment with his smart mare Alleyoop could be a likely target.

   The now Byerley Park-based horseman began his training career in Hastings and the Makfi Challenge Stakes, the first Group 1 race of the new season, there is a possible long-term target for the horse.

   “She looks like she can take the step up to that class and I would definitely consider that without getting too excited just yet,” Bridge said after Alleyoop’s dominant win in a 1400-metre open sprint at last Saturday’s Waikato meeting.

   “I’ve got nothing immediate in mind for her, but I’ll have to think about some of the feature races in the spring,” he added.

   The $200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes is the first of three Group 1 races run at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and will be staged this year on Saturday, August 29.

   Alleyoop has come back to top form this preparation and she completed consecutive wins at Te Rapa with a dominant performance in Saturday’s $25,000 Norris Ward McKinnon Handicap.

   “She’s grown another leg this campaign,” Bridge said. “She’s taken her time to furnish and a few gear changes have been the making of her.

   “I’ve taken the pacifiers off and with the nasal strip on she’s relaxing better than ever and it looks like we can stretch her out to a mile when the time comes.”

   Apprentice Brendan Hutton bided his time toward the back of the field with Alleyoop and when runners fanned out on straightening they came through strongly to win by 2-1/2 lengths from Elusive Gold.

   “It was a copybook ride by Brendan,” Bridge said. “It’s nice to be giving him a break. I saw his talent about three months ago and put him on a few at the trials. He’s got a very bright future.”

   Alleyoop looked a star in the making when she careered away to a 13-1/2 length win in a 1200-metre maiden race at Woodville in September, 2013, at only her second start. She then added two more wins over 1200 metres at her next two appearances, at Otaki and Wanganui, and each time she raced in or near the lead.

   However Bridge says the mare has learnt to settle a lot better in her races and is now “the complete racehorse.”

   “She was a bit difficult early in her career but has matured now.”

   Alleyoop is out of the Danasinga mare Tzarina Star, who was the winner of one race from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

   James Bridge owns Alleyoop in partnership with his Hawke’s Bay-based father John and she has now won them six races and almost $75,000 in stakemoney.

   They resisted big offers from America for the horse after her hat-trick of wins as an early four-year-old and would dearly love to see her pick up a black type success.

   The mare’s next start, track conditions permitting, could be in the Listed $50,000 Tauranga Classic, a 1400-metre weight-for-age event run tomorrow week.

   “She doesn’t handle really heavy tracks but we would go to Tauranga if it doesn’t get too wet,” Bridge said.

    Alleyoop, who has recorded two wins and two seconds from her last five starts, heads a 12-horse team that Bridge prepares from his Byerley Park stables, south of Auckland.


HB Steeples next

   The $50,000 Animal Health Direct Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase on June 27 is now be the target for Hastings jumper Bally Heights after his game win at Trentham last Saturday.

   The 12-year-old gelding followed up a third in last month’s Waikato Steeples with a gutsy performance in the $20,000 Grant Plumbing Steeplechase (4000m) at Trentham, doing best in a slog to the finish over the final 400 metres.

   Four horses, Bally Heights, Mr Mor, Wotabuzz and The Oysterman jumped the second to last fence together in front and it was only after they cleared the last that Mr Mor and Bally Heights worked clear to fight out the finish. The two went head over the final stages, with the latter managing to get the decision by a neck.

   Bally Heights was ridden by Hastings-born jockey Aaron Kuru, who began his career working for the Hastings stable of Patrick Campbell and then John Bary before moving to Cambridge. The 23-year-old has now ridden 21 wins, his biggest being last month’s Waikato Hurdles on Prologue.   

   Trainer Paul Nelson said this week that Bally Heights had come through the win well and will now be stepped up in distance in the Hawke’s Bay Steeples (4800m). It is a race Nelson has won three times in the past, twice with No Hero (2003 and 2005) and once with Just A Swagger in 2007.

   Bally Heights, like Just A Swagger, is raced by the I See Red Syndicate which is a large group of jumping enthusiasts that Nelson’s wife Carol has got together. The syndicate also races the flat performer Rocky from the Nelson stable.

   Bally Heights was bred by former Hawke’s Bay Racing board member Barry Smyth and Mike Alexander and was initially raced by them, winning four races on the flat before reverting to jumping. He has now won a further six races over fences, two hurdles and four steeplechases.  


Keyora breathes new life

  Keyora, a horse that at one stage went 23 starts and almost five years without gracing the winner’s stall, has taken on a new lease of life with two victories from his last two starts.
   The Bachelor Duke eight-year-old resumed from a spell with an all the way win over 1400 metres at Awapuni on May 28 and followed that up just nine days later with a similar performance in an $18,500 Rating 75 race over 1400 metres at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting.

   Keyora is raced by a syndicate of mainly Taranaki people that includes Hawke’s Bay Racing general manager Jason Fleming.

   The horse started out in the New Plymouth stable of John Wheeler who prepared him for a hat-trick of wins as a three-year-old at the beginning of the 2009-10 racing season, including the Group 2 $100,000 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and the Group 2 $85,000 Wellington Guineas (1500m). In the Trentham victory he defeated subsequent Group 1 winners Descarado (Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Stakes) and Military Move (New Zealand Derby).

   Wheeler then took Keyora to Queensland for the 2010 winter carnival where he finished fourth in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) before injuries sidelined him for the next three years.

   Now in Paul Moseley’s Hawera stable, Keyora resumed racing in July 2013 and broke his winning drought in a Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at Woodville in November last year after a string of minor placings. He made light work of his topweight of 59.5kg at Trentham last Saturday, ploughing through the heavy-11 track conditions to score by 2-1/4 lengths from Lil Mer.


Goldsbury notches another

   Waipukurau apprentice jockey Rebecca Goldsbury posted the 25th win of her career when she steered Special Bid to a 6-1/2 length victory in a 1400-metre maiden race at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting.

   Goldsbury, 22, was having her second ride on the Mike Breslin-trained four-year-old after they combined for a second at Woodville on May 21. Last Saturday she settled the mare near the back of the nine horse field in the early stages before cutting the corner on the home bend. Special Bid surged to the front with 300 metres to run and then scampered clear of her rivals, with Goldsbury keeping her going with just a hands and heels ride over the final stages.

   Goldsbury, who is apprenticed to her father David, won four races as an amateur rider before turning professional. She has kicked home 22 winners this season, placing her in the top dozen apprentices in the country.  


Another cup success

   Former New Zealand trainer Brian Smith turned back the clock when he produced the New Zealand-bred Jetset Lad to win last Saturday’s Group 2 $A300,000 Brisbane Cup at Doomben.

   Smith, who now trains a 25-horse team at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, first won the Brisbane Cup back in 1976 when he prepared the three-year-old Balmerino to take out the race, which was then a Group 1 event run over 3200 metres.

   Smith rose to prominence almost 40 years ago when he trained the champion Balmerino, regarded by many as one of the best horses produced in New Zealand in the past century.

   Balmerino had 47 starts for 22 wins, 11 seconds and two thirds. He won at distances ranging from 1200 to 3200 metres and achieved international recognition after victories in New Zealand, Australia, United States and England.

   He was unlucky not to add to his European tally after second placings in France’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, England’s Eclipse Stakes and Coronation Cup, and Italy’s Gran Premio Del Jockey Club Stakes, a race he lost on protest.

   "Balmerino won 14 of his 18 starts as a three-year-old and he won at least one race every month for 11 straight months," Smith recalled.

   "It was at the end of his three-year-old campaign when he won the Brisbane Cup."

   Formally trained in John Wheeler’s New Zealand stable, Jetset Lad won five
races in this country, including the Group 3 Taranaki Cup and recorded minor placings in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m).

   He was relocated to Smith’s stable in June of last year and is now the winner of eight races, three of them at stakes level, and more than $570,000 in stakemoney.

    “He has been a great horse over a long time and it was good to see him win a Brisbane Cup for the owners who live over here now,” Smith said.

   “He has pulled up well and we will be looking forward to winning another good race with him. Now he is up in the weights he might have to travel to Sydney or somewhere like that but we will just see.”



   Yorkie, preparing for Saturday’s Manawatu Steeplechase, worked strongly on his own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was not much in the way of fast work, which was confined to the plough (good).

   Yorkie worked over about 2000 metres on his own and was timed to run the last 1200 in 1:25.4 and final 600 in 41.7. It was good work by the jumper and he looked to be striding out well at the finish.

   The Riviera nine-year-old only managed fifth in the Waikato Steeplechase at his last start but finished second over steeples at Awapuni before that and was a winner over steeples on the course earlier this season.

   His stablemate Kings Deep showed he could be a chance in this Saturday’s Awapuni Hurdles when he also worked strongly on his own over 2000 metres, running the last 1200 in 1:22.8 and final 600 in 40.4. The Viking Ruler eight-year-old has not contested a jumping race since finishing second in the 2013 Great Northern Hurdles but has had two recent starts on the flat to prepare him for Saturday’s 2900-metre event.

   Zed Leppelin and a Handsome Ransom three-year-old gelding worked together over 800 metres in 54.8, the last 600 in 39.2. Zed Leppelin hasn’t had much luck in his last two starts.

   Waipatiki Girl, entered for the maiden 2060-metre race at Wanganui on Thursday, worked in from the 1000-metre peg at three-quarter pace, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 40.2. She finished second over 1600 metres at Tauherenikau last start and that followed a second over 1600 at Woodville.

   Odencian rounded off her preparation for the maiden highweight at Wanganui on Thursday by running a solo 800 metres in 54.6, the last 600 in 39.6. Reece Cole has been booked to ride her.

   Me Aroha had trainer Wayne Jeffcoat aboard when she was given two easy 600-metre runs, the first taking 44.9 and the second in 41.7.

   Colt Forty Five looked to be travelling better than Inzaabaa at the end of two 600-metre runs, the first taking 39.9 and the second in 39.2.

   Miss Drama Queen, entered for the maiden 2060-metre race at Wanganui on Thursday, had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running 1200 metres in 1:24.6, the last 600 in 39.

   A Shinko King four-year-old mare and a Mastercraftsman two-year-old gelding ran an easy 600 metres together in 42.7 while Lavish Prince galloped over 600 metres early in the session and was timed to run the last 400 in 26.4.

   Speed King and a Prince Arthur three-year-old gelding, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, were among the horses restricted to just three-quarter pace.

Latest hurdling star bred in Hawke’s Bay 4 Jun 2015

   Thenamesbond, the latest new find among this country’s hurdlers after his dominant win in last Monday’s $50,000 K S Browne Hurdles at Ellerslie, was born in Hawke’s Bay.

   The six-year-old China Cat gelding was bred by Graeme and Ngaire Hart and their son Ashley at their Fernhill Stud, on the Taihape Road.

   The Harts stood the stallion China Cat on their property for several years before he was transferred to a farm in Tutira and he has since died.

   They bred Thenamesbond out of the El Moxie mare Melbourne Storm and sold him for $3000 at the festival session of the 2009 Karaka yearling sales.

   The horse is now part-owned by his Pukekohe trainer Stephen Ralph and took his winning tally to four with a 5-1/2 length victory in last Monday’s feature hurdle race at the Auckland Queen’s Birthday weekend meeting.

    Thenamesbond won a 2200-metre maiden race on his home track at Pukekohe in October 31, 2012 and all three of his victories since have been over hurdles.

   The first was in a maiden hurdle race over 3100 metres at Te Aroha in June last year, where he was ridden by Hastings-born jockey Shaun Fannin and scored by 2-1/2 lengths.

   Two months later Fannin was again aboard when Thenamesbond beat Real Treasure and Wee Biskit a close three-way finish to a Restricted Open Hurdle over 3100 metres at Te Aroha.

   Trainer Stephen Ralph decided to line the horse up in the Great Northern Hurdles (4190m) last September but the horse wasn’t quite ready for such a gruelling event and was pulled out of the race after he put in a bad jump at the second to last fence, when well beaten.

   Ralph says Thenamesbond has come back this year much stronger and will now aim him at the Grand National Hurdles at Riccarton in early August. He also said the addition of blinkers have helped the horse to concentrate a lot more in his races and is ruing the fact that he never had them on when the horse contested last month’s Waikato Hurdles.

   Thenamesbond finished a distant sixth in the Waikato Hurdles but was fitted with blinkers for his next start, when finishing second over 2200 metres on the flat at Te Aroha, and also had them on last Monday.

    “We were kicking ourselves after the Waikato Hurdles for not having the blinkers on, but he’s got the job done in them today,” Ralph said.

   “He also had a stone bruise sitting there for quite some time until it came out. We knew he wasn’t quite right and he’s 100 per cent now.”

   Thenamesbond was out on his own in the early stages of Monday’s race before he came back to the field and his rider Michael Mitchell then put the pressure on again 600 metres from home.

   He was clear over the last two flights and held on strongly to easily stave off the challenges from last year’s Great Northern Hurdles heroine Wee Biskit and the race favourite Sea King.

   “His jumping wasn’t all that flash and he made a few mistakes, but he still went away comfortably in the end,” Mitchell said. “The blinkers made him concentrate out in front and he finished the race off nice and strong.”



Patient policy with D’Llaro

   Former top jumps jockey Graeme Lord is in no rush to toss his promising hurdler D’Llaro in at the deep end.

   The Cambridge horseman produced the eight-year-old for a runaway victory in the Caroma Maiden Hurdles at Ellerslie last Monday and will be happy to keep the gelding to restricted company for his current preparation.

   Lord races D’Llaro in partnership with Napier’s John McGifford, Kim Hughes and the estate of his late father Ivan Lord.   

   The horse has won six races on the flat and has been extensively schooled over a number of years before making his hurdle debut at Ellerslie.

   “He’s done it all on his own – we could never find a mate to go fast enough,” Lord said. “He’s better on the top of the ground as well, he’s got natural speed.”

   Hastings-born jockey Aaron Kuru let D’Llaro roll to the front from the outset in Monday’s 2760-metre event and the horse led his rivals by big margins at certain stages, producing a dashing display of jumping before going on to win by 5-1/2 lengths.

   Graeme Lord bred D’Llaro, who is by D’Cash out of the Random Chance mare Random Quest. He is a half-brother to Nufsed, a horse Lord trained for two wins and seven minor placings over hurdles.


Knock-out blow by Upper Cut

   Upper Cut, part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby, showed he could be in for another successful winter campaign with a win on the flat at Awapuni on Thursday of last week.

   The Yamanin Vital eight-year-old was having just his second start back in a new campaign in a maiden 2200-mettre event and apprentice jockey Timothy Johnson drove him between two other horses in the final stages to snatch a neck victory.

   Johnson was recording his first win as a jockey and the 18-year-old is apprenticed to Upper Cut’s Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan.

   Upper Cut won two jumping races in a row in the winter of 2012, the first being a maiden steeplechase over 4100 metres at Wanganui and the second a 0-1 win steeplechase over 3200 metres at Riccarton. The horse was then sidelined for almost two years with an injury and only returned to racing last winter. He recorded two fourth placings in steeplechase races then, the second of them being in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup (4900m) at Ellerslie, but then fell in the Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie in September.

   He indicated he had come back in good order with a fresh up fifth over 2200 metres at Otaki on May 14 which preceded last week’s win.


Keyora back in form

   Keyora, a horse whose early wins included the Group 2 $100,000 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and Group 2 $85,000 Wellington Guineas (1500m), brought up his fifth success when taking out an $8000 Rating 75 race at Awapuni on Thursday of last week.

   The now eight-year-old, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay Racing general manager Jason Fleming, led all the way in the 1400-metre event and held off several late challengers to win by 1-1/4 lengths.

   It was the horse’s first win since he took out an $8000 Rating 75 race over 1400 metres at Woodville in November last year.

   Fleming is part of a syndicate of mainly Taranaki people that race Keyora after they bought the horse for $200,000 at the premier session of the 2008 Karaka yearling sales.

   Keyora first entered the stable of New Plymouth trainer John Wheeler, who prepared him for three wins in a row including his two Group 2 victories, but he is now trained at Hawera by Paul Moseley.

   The Bachelor Duke gelding has won two more races from his new stable and his stake earnings now amount to just under $190,000.


A happy mum

   Leah Hemi has surpassed her own expectations since resuming her jockey apprenticeship and is showing that she can mix race-riding with bringing up a young family.

   The Awapuni-based rider kicked home a treble of winners at last Saturday’s Wanganui meeting and has now chalked up seven victories in the short time she has been back.

   “I had ridden two in a day only once before so to get three was super,” Hemi said.

   The 28-year-old had 19 wins to her credit before she took a break to have a family and her win aboard She’s Slinky at Trentham in April was her first since 2010.

   “I didn’t really think I would come back after having two children,” she said. “Before I had my daughter I was struggling a bit with my weight, but it’s really good now.

   “I have a lot of support in Palmerston North so I decided to give it another go. I can ride comfortably at 52kg now and can easily do 51.

   “I wanted to get going again around April - I’ve got the three kilo claim and by the time the wet tracks came I wanted to be fit but I really didn’t think I would be doing so well so quickly.”

   Hemi began her apprenticeship with Fraser Auret at Wanganui back in 2007 but, following the birth of daughter Kiara (four) and son Kaiden (two), she signed on again with Awapuni trainer Tony Bambry.


Great Northern target

   Champion Australian jumps jockey Steve Pateman has a burning desire to win the Great Northern Steeplechase and he thinks he now has a top chance to make that wish come true.

   His hopes were given a huge boost at Ellerslie last Monday when he guided Amanood Lad to an impressive return to racing in the McGregor Grant Steeplechase, one of the traditional lead up races for the Great Northern.

   “It’s a real ambition of mine to win the Great Northern - it’s a tough race to conquer, but this might be the horse,” Pateman said. “It’s a special race and I hope to be part of it.”

   He was well aware of Amanood Lad’s ability having chased him home in last year’s Great Northern aboard Tobouggie Nights and was suitably impressed with his first ride on the 10-year-old.

   “He gave me a great feel and that’s some training effort,” Pateman said. “The kick he gave me after the last was of a horse ready to go.”

   Trainer Ben Foote had Amanood Lad ready for consecutive wins in the 4150-metre test on a schedule of just three trial outings.

   “I’m absolutely rapt – I knew he was quite forward, but without that race day fitness I thought it might tell when they hit the course proper,” Foote said.

   “I’ve been very happy with him and just wanted to get this race out of the way and then concentrate on the Northern. He’ll improve a lot with this one.”

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