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HB Racing Column 30 Jun 2017

Bargain buy Pacorus adds another cup success

(By John Jenkins)

The $15,000 Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison outlayed for a yearling at the 2013 Karaka sales is fast proving to be one of the bargains of recent times.

That horse is Pacorus and the now five-year-old brought up his ninth win and took his stake earnings past the $220,000 mark with another dominant victory in last Saturday’s $40,000 Orora Kiwi Packaging Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga.

The Morisons are no strangers to racing success as they shared in the ownership of champion galloper Dundeel, whose glory days on the racetrack saw him rack up 10 wins, six at Group 1 level, and amass stake earnings of more than $5.3million.

Dundeel is now standing at Arrowfield Stud in New South Wales, Australia, and the Morisons still retain a small shareholding in the stallion as members of the Hawke’s Bay-based Waimarama Syndicate, which is managed by Murray Andersen. 

It was while Dundeel was racing that Dave Morison asked his good friend Eddie Lowry, stud manager at the former Okawa Stud for many years and a recognised authority on thoroughbred yearlings, if he could buy him a horse at that year’s Karaka sales.

   Lowry settled on a colt by Tavistock out of the Zabeel mare Za Tiara and, after some negotiating with the vendors, managed to secure him for about $7000 less than they wanted.

Tavistock was a relatively new sire at that stage and hadn’t made the headlines but is now rated one of most successful stallions in the country and stands at a fee of $65,000.

“Eddie is a very good judge and I’ve always had plenty of faith in his opinion when it comes to thoroughbreds,” Dave Morison said this week.

“When he brought this yearling home it was a big rangy raw-boned thing that was obviously going to need time but that was okay with us.”

It was Eddie Lowry that also suggested the Morisons have Pacorus trained by Cambridge-based Chris Wood and so he was sent to him. The horse showed very little in his first two starts, finishing second to last and third to last but then indicated he had potential when third over 1400m on a heavy track at Te Aroha at his third start.

The Morisons decided to bring others in to help race Pacorus and have retained a 20 per cent share, with the other 80 per cent spread among some of their friends and clients of Chris Wood.

Pacorus has gone on to be a model of consistency on the racetrack in the past 12 months, especially on rain affected tracks. He won five races in the space of six starts last winter and spring and has earned his connections a stakemoney cheque in each of his last six starts.

He relished the heavy-11 track conditions at Tauranga last Saturday and he and regular rider Viktoria Gatu were in complete control over the last 500 metres of the 2100m event.

Swedish-born Gatu was formerly apprenticed to Chris Wood and the 31-year-old has ridden Pacorus in eight of his nine wins.

Pacorus drew the extreme outside barrier and was caught three-wide in the open for just about the entire race. But Gatu kept the horse nicely balanced and when she asked him to extend just before the home turn he quickly put a space on the opposition. He then maintained a strong run to the line to score by 3-1/2 lengths from Doiknowyou and Gentil Tonton.

“I thought I’d pushed the button a bit too early, with the weight he had, but he kicked on really well,” a smiling Gatu said after the win. “He’s my number one.”

Gatu is now planning a holiday back in her homeland but that could now be put on hold, depending on where Wood decides to run the horse next. He is keen to run the horse in the Listed $65,000 Taumarunui Cup (2200m) at Rotorua on July 29 but is mindful that he will probably need another run before then.

“I’m thrilled to bits for the horse and the rider, he’s a real trier and it was a lovely ride,” Wood said.

“He can sustain a long run and with the 58kg we worked out a plan of attack and it all worked out.”

   Wood took two horses to the Tauranga meeting and came away with a 100 per cent winning strike-rate after Wooden Edge also took out the following event, the $25,000 Rating 75 race over 1400m. He is in the top 30 on the trainers’ premiership for this season with 17 wins, which is a great achievement considering he has less than a dozen horses in work.

Prior to their involvement with Dundeel, Dave and Jenny Morison also raced Snippins with good friend Paul Stevenson and others. The daughter of Pins recorded two wins and seven minor placings before an eye injury forced her premature retirement and the Morisons are now breeding from her. They have an unraced three-year-old filly by Rip Van Winkle out of Snippins in work with Hastings trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and the mare is now in foal to Charm Spirit.

As members of the Waimarama Syndicate the Morisons also shared in the ownership of Saavoya, a filly that won four races including two $100,000 Group 2 races at Ellerslie, the Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and the Royal Stakes (2000m). A majority interest in her has since been sold to Australia’s Arrowfield Stud.


Jumps jockeys in battle

The title of top jumps jockey for the year is starting to hot up with three riders, two of them from Hawke’s Bay, now in the reckoning for the title.

Hastings-born Aaron Kuru maintained his slender lead in the competition when successful aboard Hastings-trained The Shackler in the $20,000 Restricted Open Hurdle (3100m) at Te Aroha last Sunday. The now Cambridge-based rider is on 13 wins, one ahead of Will Gordon and two in front of Shaun Fannin, who also chalked up a win aboard Nells Belle in the $20,000 Restricted Open Steeplechase (3500m) at Te Aroha.

Fannin was also born in Hastings but is now attached to the Wanganui stable of Kevin Myers.

Gordon rode in all four jumping races at last Sunday’s Te Aroha meeting but could not add to his winning tally, having to settle for three thirds.

The three jockeys will do battle again at tomorrow’s Hawke’s Bay winter meeting where there are five jumping races on the programme including two of the prestige events on the New Zealand racing calendar,  the $50,000 Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles and $50,000 Animal Health Direct Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase.

The Shackler scored a runaway maiden hurdle win over 3000m at Trentham on June 10 and was just as impressive when making it two wins in a row last Sunday.

The 10-year-old Istidaad gelding established a clear lead in the early stages of the 3100m event but settled perfectly for Kuru and measured most of his fences well. They were taken on with 1200m to run by race favourite Thenamesbond but had shaken that challenger off 300 metres later and were always in control thereafter.

The Shackler jumped the last fence with a good break on his rivals and raced away in the run to the line to score by 26 lengths, with Kuru easing him down in the final few strides.

It was The Shackler’s fifth hurdle start and he now has a record of three wins and a third over fences. The horse was also the winner of eight races on the flat when trained in the north by Michael Dromgool and is owned by Cambridge-based Shaun Dromgool. Nelson has only had the horse in his stable since the beginning of this year.


Campbell wins award

Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell is the recipient of the Kevin Wood Memorial owner’s trophy for the months of April and May.

The by-monthly award is sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners association and will be presented to Campbell at tomorrow’s Hawke’s Bay race meeting.

Campbell is the trainer and owner of the promising four-year-old Scandalo, a horse he bought in a private sale from the South Island at the beginning of this year. The Shocking gelding has had five starts for Campbell for two wins and a second, his most recent victory being in a $20,000 Rating 65 race over 1200m at Hastings on April 29.


Jockey shortage in the north

There will be a shortage of senior jockeys in the north for the remainder of the racing season.

Michael Coleman is the latest to join the list of senior riders who are unlikely to be in action again until the end of July.

The 47-year-old, who rode his 2000th New Zealand winner on his home track at Matamata last month, recently underwent successful knee surgery.

“I had some repair work done and I’ll probably take the rest of the season off,” Coleman said. “That may change, but at this stage I’m not in any hurry to get back.”

Opie Bosson, Craig Grylls, Leith Innes and Jason Waddell are other senior northern jockeys who will be absent until the 2017-18 season.

Bosson hasn’t ridden since he was stood down from riding on Queensland Derby day due to a viral infection and he is booked to depart at the end of this month on a European holiday, as is Leith Innes.

Innes copped a 12-day suspension for his ride on Counterattack in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap and that was further compounded by a four-day ban for careless riding at Ruakaka.

Grylls is currently on vacation in Tahiti and on his return he will be taking up a three-month contract in Singapore.

Waddell’s season was prematurely ended by a trackwork fall in April, after which he opted to bring forward surgery to remove a plate and screws in his leg after a soccer injury suffered more than a year ago.

In other jockey news, Matt Cameron is now on a three week break while apprentice Rebecca Goldsbury has undertaken a three-week riding stint in Queensland.

Other riders who have upcoming overseas ventures are Danielle Johnson, who will participate in an international female jockeys’ series in Sweden next month, and Cameron Lammas. He has accepted an invitation from Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry principal Lang Lin to ride at two meetings there on July 6 and 8.

A delighted Viktoria Gatu brings Pacorus back at the head of the field following their dominant success in last Saturday’s $40,000 Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga. The horse is part-owned by Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison.

Hastings-trained The Shackler and jockey Aaron Kuru clear one of the fences on their way to a runaway 26 length win in the restricted open hurdle race at Te Aroha last Sunday.


Hastings Trackwork 29 Jun 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Trainer Kelly Burne had three horses that underwent three-quarter pace in what was another quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

Working on the plough (soft) Red Tiara finished off her work, with Burne aboard, by running the last 600 metres in 41. The Per Incanto mare was a winner over 1400 metres at Hastings earlier this year and is in the early stages of a fresh campaign.

Her stablemate Cowboys Don’t Cry ended his work on the plough with 600 metres in 40.8 while Real Beach clocked 1:4.3 for an easy 800 metres, the last 600 in 45.

Dances With Wolves, who is likely to have a jumpout at Hastings on Monday, was another who was kept to just three-quarter pace when running 1000 metres.

Hastings Trackwork 27 Jun 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Trainer John Bary brought eight horses into the Hastings track to gallop at this morning’s session with the capable mare Myrtle being one that strode out well.

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

A penetrometer reading was taken on the course proper during the session and came up as a heavy10 but, with fine weather forecast for the rest of the week, it is expected to come back to a slow track for Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

Myrtle finished ahead of Geronimo at the end of 1000m in 1:5.4, running the first 400 metres in a leisurely 28.7s before sprinting home the last 600 in 36.7.

Myrtle was a last start fourth over 1350 metres at Wanganui last month and was not suited by the very heavy track that day.

A Swiss Ace two-year-old and a Swiss Ace three-year-old, two others in the Bary stable, worked over 800 metres in 55.2, the last 600 in 38.7.

Last start winner Worldclass worked in from the 1000-metre peg on her own and was timed to run the last 800 metres in 56.2 and final 600 in 40.3. She has been freshened since winning at Hastings in May and is likely to have a jumpout at Hastings next Monday.

 An Iffraaj two-year-old was ridden out over the final stages when finishing in front of a Darci Brahma two-year-old at the end of 800 metres in 54, the last 600 in 38.2 while a Fully Fledged two-year-old and one by Savabeel worked together over an easy 800 metres in 56.9, the last 600 in 40.8.

   Dances With Wolves worked early in the session and was time to run and easy 1000 metres in 1:17.6, the last 600 in 42.3. He is another horse likely to have a jumpout at Hastings next Monday.




HB Racing Column 23 Jun 2017

Successful day for HB connections at Trentham

(By John Jenkins

Kings Deep, ridden by Aaron Kuru, leads Colonia (Shaun Fannin) over one of the jumps on his way to a dominant win in last Saturday’s maiden steeplechase at Trentham. The two Hastings-born jockeys both recorded wins at the meeting and Fannin added another one at Timaru on Sunday.

 It was a great day for Hawke’s Bay at last Saturday’s Manawatu Racing Club’s meeting at Trentham.

Sea King, bred and part-owned by Pourerere’s Sue Harty, took out the $50,000 Awapuni Hurdles with Hastings-born jockey Shaun Fannin in the saddle while King’s Deep, prepared by Hastings trainer Paul Nelson and part-owned by him and his wife Carol, was a dominant winner of the $10,000 maiden steeplechase in the hands of another Hastings-born jockey, Aaron Kuru.

There were no more deserving winners at Trentham last Saturday than Sea King and Kings Deep as both horses have suffered adversity in the past.

Sea King was crowned equal top New Zealand jumper for the last racing season and is now the winner of 18 races and more than $700,000 in stakemoney. But a freak accident during the running of Melbourne’s Crisp Steeplechase in August last year almost ended his life.

 A horse racing in front of Sea King clipped a section of the running rail causing it to spring out and the sharp edge drove straight into the Kiwi jumper’s chest.

The impact dislodged Sea King’s rider Steven Pateman and resulted in the horse suffering a nasty gash, about the size of an average human fist.

Despite the serious wound, the tough competitor carried on riderless and nearly completed the 3900m journey before being caught.

Fortunately Sea King’s injury missed any vital organs but required several stitches and necessitated him being sidelined for the rest of the year.

It was touch and go whether Sea King would race again but, after spending six weeks of pre-training in the care of his Otaki part-owner Rachael Frost earlier this year, the horse was given a steady build up by Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers that saw him peak at exactly the right time last Saturday.

   Myers gave the 10-year-old Shinko King gelding three races on the flat before he resumed racing over hurdles at Hastings on May 11. He beat only one home that day and was pulled up during the running of the Waikato Hurdles at his next appearance. However he showed a marked improvement when third over hurdles at Trentham two weeks ago which set him up for a return to his best last Saturday.

Jockey Shaun Fannin had Sea King trailing the pacemaker Shamal from the outset of the 3000m event and they were left in front when that horse clipped the top of the fourth last fence and dislodged rider Charlie Price.

Fannin then only had to make sure Sea King negotiated the last three fences safely before kicking him clear in the run to the line to score by 3 lengths.

Fannin heaped praise on Myers following the victory, saying the master jumps trainer and his staff had spent tireless hours getting the horse back to full fitness.

Sea King started his career from Frost’s Otaki stable but she says he proved almost unmanageable in her care which is why he was transferred to Myers. Frost still shares in the ownership of the Shinko King 10-year-old, along with the horse’s Central Hawke’s Bay’s breeder Sue Harty and Auckland’s Chris O’Reilly. He now has a record of 18 wins, nine seconds and nine thirds from 64 starts.

Ocean Princess, the dam of Sea King, is now deceased but she left two other winners after Sea King in King Tap and Pacific Tap.

Hawke’s Bay owned horses took out the quinella in last Saturday’s Awapuni Hurdles with Upper Cut, part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby and trained at Awapuni by Mark Oulaghan, finished a clear second.

Kings Deep back on top

Down one week but up the next. That was how the connections of Hawke’s Bay-trained Kings Deep felt after the horse scored a popular win in the maiden steeplechase at Trentham last Saturday.

The 10-year-old gelding gave an almost faultless display of jumping in the 4000m event, getting in a bit too close to one fence, but recovering quickly before going on to win by 5-1/2 lengths.

For his connections it was in stark contrast to a week before at Trentham when the horse was taken out of contention during the running of the $20,000 Restricted Open steeplechase. The big Viking Ruler gelding was leading in that race when a riderless horse tried to run him off at one of the fences on the figure eight course and then side-swiped him as he approached the next obstacle, punching his rider Shaun Phelan out of the saddle.

Kings Deep is trained at Hastings by Paul Nelson who races the horse in partnership with his wife Carol and Christchurch-based Tom Behrns, a former trotting trainer-driver.

 Last Saturday’s win was Kings Deeps fifth and his first since he took out a 3350m hurdle race at Ellerslie in August, 2013. The horse has been plagued by soundness issues throughout his career and spent almost two years on the sideline after suffering a severe tendon injury.

Nelson has done a marvellous job getting the horse back to race fitness, with his last Saturday’s race being only his third start back after that long break.

Jockey Aaron Kuru let Kings Deep bowl along in front last Saturday and the horse produced spectacular leaps at most of the fences.

“He was a bit keen because he’d missed that race last week and he was jumping through my hands but he was still too good,” Kuru said.

Nelson has no firm plans for Kings Deep, saying the horse is very much a day by day proposition given the horse’s past problems.

First jumping win

Zentangle, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay’s Jason Donnelly, broke through for his first jumping win when taking out the $20,000 Restricted Open Hurdle race at last Friday’s Timaru meeting.

The Chinese Dragon five-year-old was backing up from a victory in an open 2200m flat race and Oamaru five days before and has now won eight races from only 30 starts for his Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers.

Myers races the gelding in partnership with Jason Donnelly, close friend Charlie Gestro and the estate of Jim Donnelly, Jason’s late father.

Sunday’s win capped a great weekend for Hastings-born jockey Shaun Fannin, who is number one stable rider for the Myers jumpers. The 21-year-old also combined with the astute trainer to take out last Saturday’s Awapuni Hurdles with Sea King.

Fannin had to call on all his skills to get Zentangle across the line for a nose decision over The Energizer after the two horses fought a great tussle over the final stages of the 3000m event.

New trophy for Hastings amateur riders’ race

 A special new trophy will be presented to the winner of the amateur riders’ race at the Hawke’s Bay winter race meeting at Hastings tomorrow week.

 The 2100-metre event is being sponsored for the third year in a row by the Birchleigh Polo Club and they have had a mounted silver cup made which will add to their continuing association with Hawke’s Bay Racing.

The winning rider in the amateur race will have his or her name engraved on the trophy base and it will remain in Hastings to be contested for on an annual basis.

The Birchleigh Polo Club is based at Paki Paki, just south of Hastings, and has been in operation for eight years. It presently has around 32 members.

The club first became associated with Hawke’s Bay Racing three years ago when they sponsored the time honoured Duke Of Gloucester Cup, the prestige event for amateur riders in New Zealand and a race that is run at a different venue each year.

Spokesman for the Birchleigh Polo Club, Richard Kettle, said this week that he and his members see it as “a good fit” for their club to be involved in a race like this.

“Our aim is to get new people into the game of polo and we see amateur riders as some who could easily get involved,” Kettle said.

“We also wanted to cement our sponsorship with Hawke’s Bay Racing by way of a trophy.”

The Birchleigh Polo Club is a standalone body and separate from the Hawke’s Bay Polo Club. It runs programmes in conjunction with schools such as Flaxmere College, Iona College and Woodford House to teach young people the art of polo playing.

 “We go away to tournaments and compete as our own club and we will have a number of our people on course at Hastings for next week’s race day,” Kettle added.

Richard Kettle’s company, Animal Health Direct, has also been a great supporter of Hawke’s Bay Racing and will be sponsoring the feature race at next week’s race meeting, the $50,000 Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase, for the eighth year in a row.

Richard Kettle, from the Birchleigh Polo Club, holds the trophy that will be presented to the winning jockey in the amateur riders’ race at next week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.


Hastings Trackwork 22 Jun 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Kipkeino, preparing for the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles on Saturday week, turned in a solid workout on his own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

There was not much in the way of fast work, which was carried out on the plough (good) and wide out on the No.1 grass (slow).

Kipkeino had trainer Lucy de Lautour aboard when working over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:5.6, the last 600 in 36.7. The Sunray nine-year-old was a game second in a 3000-metre hurdle race at Trentham a fortnight ago.

Gates To Rio and a Lope de Vega three-year-old gelding worked together over 1000 metres on the grass in 1:7.4, the last 600 in 37.8. Gates To Rio disappointed at Wanganui last start but he wasn’t suited by the very puggy track.

Dances With Wolves ran a solo 1000 metres on the plough in 1:6.8, the last 600 in 37.7 while an Uncle Mo two-year-old and an O’Reilly-Catalina three-year-old ended their work with an easy 600 metres in 44.6.

Zed Leppelin and Bernali schooled together over nine hurdle fences and had the pace on all the way. Zed Leppelin is likely to start in the maiden hurdle race at Hastings on Saturday week.


Hastings Trackwork 20 Jun 2017


(By John Jenkins)

Only three horses were timed in another very quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

The three of them worked on the plough, which provided reasonably good footing.

Tuigold and Vannoss, two horses in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable, worked together when running an easy 1000 metres in 1:14.6, the last 600 in 43.

Tuigold resumed from a lengthy spell with a fair run for sixth over 1200 metres at Te Rapa a couple of weeks ago while Vannoss is an unraced three-year-old by Sufficient who has shown up well in Hastings jumpouts in the past.

Cowboys Don’t Cry had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when he finished off  two rounds of pacework with an easy 600 metres in 43s.

HB Racing Column

HB Racing Column 16 Jun 2017


Hastings trainer’s rollercoaster winter continues

(By John Jenkins)

Hastings trainer Paul Nelson’s topsy-turvy winter continued at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting at Trentham.

The hugely successful jumps trainer produced The Shackler to score a runaway win in the $10,000 maiden hurdle race but then had to watch in dismay when, two races later, his class jumper Kings Deep got wiped out during the running of an incident-packed restricted open steeplechase.

The Shackler produced a dashing display of front running in the hurdles. Jockey Emily Farr gave the 10-year-old a kick out of the gates and he bounded to the front, opening up a sizeable break on the field before they had even reached the first hurdle.

The Shackler had a 10 length lead after clearing the first two fences but then relaxed a lot better for his rider, maintaining a clear advantage from then on. He jumped the last fence still well clear of his rivals and ran away over the final stages to win by 20 lengths from Kiddo, with Perry Mason, a stablemate of the winner, being 9 lengths back in third place.

Many, including Nelson, thought Perry Mason was the best chance out of his two runners after that horse had recorded two seconds over hurdles at his two most recent starts.

The Shackler has only been in Nelson’s stable since the beginning of this year and he said this week he was still trying to work the horse out. The Istidaad gelding was the winner of eight races on the flat when trained in the north by Michael Dromgool and is owned by Cambridge-based Shaun Dromgool.

The horse is now likely to have his next start in a restricted open hurdle race at Te Aroha on June 25.

Nelson’s elation after filling two of the first three placings in the maiden hurdle turned to anguish when his charge Kings Deep was denied a fair chance in the steeplechase.

Kings Deep and jockey Shaun Phelan had taken a clear lead in the steeplechase when the riderless horse, Highly Likely, tried to run him off approaching one of the fences on the figure-eight course and then side-swiped him as he was about to set himself for the next obstacle, punching Phelan out of the saddle.

   It was the second time in the race that Highly Likely had extinguished the chances of another runner. Saturday’s race was an open flag start and, as starter Garry Phillips called the horse’s into line, the fractious Highly Likely was being led up by a barrier attendant. When the start was effected the horse suddenly veered sideways and cannoned into Lonely Boy, dislodging the riders of both horses before they had even gone a couple of strides.

The riderless Highly Likely then continued on amongst the remaining four runners in the race, causing riders to take evasive action as he hurdled an inside rail to join the fray at one stage and ran around erratically before finally taking Kings Deep out of commission.

Fortunately for all concerned none of the jockeys or horses were seriously injured in the mayhem although Highly Likely did suffer some abrasions and was found to be lame in his right hind leg. Stewards advised his connections that a veterinary clearance must be produced before the horse can race again and he has now been placed on the warning list with regards to open starts.

Stewards ruled that Lonely Boy be declared a late scratching as the horse wasn’t afforded a fair start in the race but Kings Deep was declared a runner, despite his chances being extinguished through no fault of his own.

Walk up flag starts have been the norm for steeplechase races at Trentham since the inception of the inside figure-eight course many years ago and there have been relatively few problems in that time. However, the Racing Integrity Unit will now be making recommendations to New ZealandThoroughbred Racing that, where possible, steeplechase races should be started from the official starting barriers.

Paul Nelson said this week Kings Deep escaped unscathed from last Saturday’s incident and he will return to Trentham tomorrow for the Manawatu Steeplechase (4000m).

“He was lucky the other horse was practically side on when it hit him so it didn’t do him any harm,” Nelson said.

Despite all the chaos early in the race, the finish proved very exciting with the remaining four horses all in with a winning chance as they joined back up with the course proper for the final 300m run to the line.

Race favourite Just Ishi held a slight advantage over the other three as he jumped the last fence and was able to work clear in the run to the line to score by 3 lengths from The Oysterman, with another 1-1/4 lengths to third placed The Fox and a further 1-1/2 lengths back to fourth placed Wilbur.

Just Ishi, who is trained at Awapuni by Gail Temperton, was recording his second steeplechase victory from only three starts over the big fences and will now be aimed at the $50,000 Animal Health Direct Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) at Hastings on July 1.

Paul Nelson started this year’s jumping season with a winning double when Rocky and Ooee took out the two hurdle races at Hastings on May 11. But not a lot went right for the trainer during that month. His good performer San Pedro, winner of 10 races and more than $138,000 in stakemoney, died suddenly during a workout on his property. Rocky sustained an injury soon after his hurdle win which has ruled him out for the rest of the year and then Zardetto and Second Innings, two other well performed jumpers in the Nelson stable, also suffered injuries that will prevent them from racing again until at least next year.


Loving life on the farm

Farm life is certainly agreeing with Hastings-trained Wait A Sec as the horse has been in the form of his life in recent months with three wins and two thirds from his last five starts.

The Postponed six-year-old scored a dominant 3 length win in a $25,000 Rating 85 race over 2100 metres at Te Rapa last Saturday, his second consecutive victory after he also took out a 1550m race at Awapuni three weeks before.

Wait A Sec is prepared by Hastings trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and has now won seven races from 36 starts. His latest run of form is mainly attributed to him being worked around the hills and paddocks of a farm property, just north of Dannevirke, which is owned by Cullen’s partner Nikki Lourie.

Wait A Sec does the majority of his work on the farm, only occasionally coming to the Hastings track for faster work.

 “He seems to be thriving down on the farm...he’s a happy horse and that’s showing in his form,” Cullen said.

Wait A Sec could hardly have been more impressive when winning at Te Rapa last Saturday.

   Jockey Samantha Collett settled the horse towards the rear in a solidly run race before starting to improve his position with 800 metres to run. Wait A Sec cruised around the field to be in a challenging position, wide out, on the home turn and seized a winning break soon after.

Collett kept her mount up to the mark over the final stages and he raced away for a decisive victory over Francis Drake, with Jochen Rindt third.

Wait A Sec is owned by his Hastings breeder Ian Henderson, who races him in partnership with his Perth-based son Paul.

Guy Lowry believes the patience of the gelding’s owners is finally being rewarded.

“He seems to have come of age this time in as he has taken a while to mature,” Lowry said.

   “He showed plenty of ability early on and ran Kawi close one day at Trentham but he’s always been a little weak. His owners have been fantastic and allowed us to be patient with him and they are now reaping the rewards of that.”

Lowry believes his charge is now at the stage of this campaign where he can cope with most track conditions although he is wary of flattening the horse with too many runs on the deep winter surfaces.

“He handles most tracks but we don’t see him as a true winter galloper,” he said.

“I had thought of a race like the Taumarunui Cup as a good target but with it being run at Rotorua it might just be too deep there for him.

“There are still some nice races at Te Rapa coming up so he is likely to have one or two more runs before we put him away for a short break.

“The New Zealand Cup is the sort of race that will suit him so with that in mind he can have a rest soon as you can’t keep peaking them all the way to November.”


Tarzino Trophy first up

 Quality mare Let Her Rip is likely to kick off a spring campaign in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (formerly the Makfi Challenge Stakes) at Hastings at the end of August.

The Cambridge-trained mare is currently spelling after earning a break with an all-important black type success with a last start victory in the Group 3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) on May 21.

“She’s having a month off and later on we’ll look to give her a quiet trial somewhere and probably run in the Tarzino Trophy first-up, she’s got a great fresh record,” trainer Shaune Ritchie said.

“If she strikes a wet track at Hastings it wouldn’t worry her at all.”

The daughter of Rip Van Winkle has won five races on tracks ranging from good to heavy.


Kiwifruit Cup for Pacorus

Pacorus, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay couple Dave and Jenny Morison, is likely to have his next start in the $40,000 Orora Kiwi Packaging Kiwifruit Cup (2200m) at Tauranga tomorrow week.

The five-year-old Tavistock gelding, trained at Cambridge by Chris Wood, has thrived since finishing third in the Wanganui Cup at his last run and Wood is keen to pick up the feature staying event at Tauranga after the horse was a comprehensive winner in Rating 75 company on the same day 12 months ago.


Hastings-trained The Shackler, with jockey Emily Farr aboard, flies one of the fences on his way to a runaway 20 length win in the maiden hurdle race at Trentham last Saturday. 

Hastings Trackwork 13 Jun 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Ooee showed he could be a force to be reckoned with at Thursday’s Wanganui meeting when he turned in a sharp 600-metre sprint at this morning’s Hastings track session.

Fast work was carried out on the plough (good) and about half-way out on the No.1 grass (soft).

Ooee ended two rounds of pacework on the plough by sprinting the last 600 metres in 36.6 and pulled up well after it. The seven-year-old was a last start third in the Waikato Hurdles and that followed a win over hurdles at Hastings on May 11. He will contest the Rating 75 highweight over 1600 metres at Wanganui with Emily Farr booked to ride him.

Gates to Rio, another likely runner at Wanganui, ended his work with a 400-metre sprint on the plough in 24.4s. He didn’t have much luck when finishing seventh on debut over 1200 metres at Woodville and steps up to 1350 metres on Thursday. Chris Johnson has retained the mount.

Tavijazz clocked 53.8 for a solo 800 metres on the plough, the last 600 in 38.8 and is another likely starter at Wanganui on Thursday.

A Lope de Vega three-year-old gelding looked to be travelling better than a Per Incanto-Lupen Belle three-year-old filly at the end of 800 metres on the grass in 53.1, the last 600 in 36.6. They are both in the Lowry/Cullen stable.

Gallapagos and Mantovani, two horses trained by Paul Nelson, worked together over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:5.8, the last 600 in 38.8 while Zed Leppelin ended his work on the plough with an easy 600 metres in 44.9.

Bernali schooled over 12 hurdle fences in the centre and then ran an easy 600 metres on the plough in 42.1.

Cowboys Don’t Cry had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running an easy 600 metres in 46.1.

Hawke's Bay Racing Column 9 Jun 2017

No Change stuns punters with success on the flat

(By John Jenkins)


Hastings trainer Paul Nelson pulled off a master stroke when he produced No Change to win a Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at Wanganui last Saturday.

The eight-year-old gelding was coming off a last start second in a 2500-metre hurdle race at Hastings three weeks before and many thought he would find the 1600m distance too short. He was overlooked by the punters and returned a dividend of $19.10 for a win and $6.60 for a place.

Aided by a great ride by South Island jockey Chris Johnson, No Change began quickly from the number one barrier and was prominent throughout. He trailed the leader Waipipi Lad until the home turn and then quickly took over and kept up a strong gallop to the line to win by a long head from She’s Poppy and Boxachocolates.

“The 1600 metres was more like a 2000-metre race and it was a great ride by the jockey,” Paul Nelson said this week.

“Gee he (Johnson) is riding well at the moment and he certainly knows where the finish line is,” he added.

Johnson doesn’t exert a lot of energy when riding out a finish but keeps his mounts perfectly balanced and seems to be able to get the best out of them with just a minimum of urging.

He was mainly using just hands and heels aboard No Change over the final stages prompting commentator Bruce Sherwin to say: “That’s about as vigorous as he gets in a finish.”

 No Change, who was bred by Nelson and his wife Carol, has now won the couple six races more than $97,000 in stakemoney. The Shinko King gelding’s last win before this latest success was in a 2200-metre flat race at Waipukurau in December 2015.

Nelson is now unsure what the immediate future holds for No Change as, although he coped well with the heavy-10 track conditions at Wanganui, he said he does struggle in really testing conditions.

“There is not much for him as far as flat races go because he doesn’t like it when it gets really heavy. He goes best on a wet loose track,” Nelson said.

“There is a highweight back at Wanganui in a couple of week’s time and so we will look at that and then he can probably run in something at Hastings at the beginning of July.”

No Change’s win was a welcome change of luck for Nelson. He lost one of his top performers in San Pedro, who died suddenly at the beginning of last month, and three of his other top jumpers, Second Innings, Zardetto and Rocky, have all sustained  injuries that will prevent them from competing again this year. He said he still has 14 horses in work including the well performed Amanood Lad, who was formerly trained in the north but has been in the Nelson stable for about six weeks.

“He seems to be coming to hand well and might have a run in the amateur riders’ race at Trentham this Saturday,” Nelson said.

 He is also likely to line up Perry Mason and The Shackler in the hurdle race at the Wellington meeting.


Battle plans laid

 Trainers Tim and Margaret Carter are already eyeing the Group 1 races at this year’s Hawke’s Bay spring carnival for their talented four-year-old Battle Time, who returned to his best form with a game half length win in an open 1400m race at Ellerslie last Saturday.

The Cambridge husband and wife combination are keen to improve the entire’s Group 1 record after he was placed in the Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie as a two-year-old and in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton at three. He could contest all three of the Group 1 weight-for-age races at Hastings in the spring, the Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and the Livamol Classic (2040m).

   The Battle Paint four-year-old’s last success was in the Group 2 Couplands Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton in November last year. His form subsequently dropped away, but a third placing at Te Rapa on May 20 was a strong pointer for Ellerslie.

HB-bred unbeaten

   Chopin’s Fantaisie, bred by Taupo’s Pat Lowry, made it two wins from two starts in Singapore with another impressive performance on Sunday.

The Pins three-year-old scored a head victory over another promising galloper, Magic City, in a 1400m event and they were 1-1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field.

Chopins Fantaisie is out of the Oregon mare Golden Gamble and a full-brother to the former Hong Kong Horse of the Year in Ambitious Dragon. He was sold for $150,000 at the 2015 Karaka yearling sales and is trained in Singapore by Michael Clements.

 HB Spring carnival plans

The Queensland campaign for New Zealand filly Bella Gioia is over and she will now be spelled and aimed at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

The New Zealand 1000 Guineas runner-up was unplaced in her Australian debut in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) on May 25 and a decision has subsequently been made to rest the Swiss Ace filly.

“She ran into that awful track at Eagle Farm and it took the sting right out of her,” trainer Shaune Ritchie said.

“We could have freshened her up and carried on, but that would take time and we felt that might impede her spring. She’s having a two break over there and she’ll be out for another two weeks when she gets back.

“She won’t lose too much residual fitness and we will have her back and ready for the spring.

“We’ll probably look for something soft first-up to give her some confidence and I’ve got no doubt she is a Hawke’s Bay carnival horse, but we’ll just see what happens later on.”

Serious Satire retired

Serious Satire, winner of the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings in October 2015, has been retired from racing.

“We didn’t get to see the best of her, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” trainer Stephen Marsh said. “She’s going to Exceed And Excel.”

Bred and raced by David Paykel, Serious Satire won three of her 12 starts. She is a daughter of More than Ready and the Zabeel mare Zarzuela, who was a Group 2 winner and Group 1 placed.

Fenwick honoured   

Allan Fenwick’s services to the New Zealand thoroughbred code over many years has been recognised with him being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

For 12 years, he was the chief executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and he was also a member of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee representing the Asian Racing Federation, as well as serving as a board member of the TAB and the NZ Racing Authority.

Fenwick is currently a director of the NZ Racing Hall of Fame and is involved with the NZ Racehorse Owners’ Federation, the Central Region Apprentice Academy and the NZ Equine Research Foundation.

Grylls off to Singapore

Craig Grylls, who rode Willie Cazals to win the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings in October last year, has been granted a three month licence to ride in Singapore.

The 27-year-old has kicked home more than 700 winners and is currently in seventh spot on the national premiership with 61 winners.

His Singapore licence is effective from the issuance of the work permit.

Grylls, who comfortably rides at 53kg, also won the 2014 running of Group 1 Windsor Park Plate at Hastings while his other Group 1 victories include the Ford Diamond Stakes, Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes, New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, NRM Sprint and the Thorndon Mile.

Prince sold to Hong Kong

Talented colt Prince Hareem has been purchased by overseas interests and will do his future racing from the Hong Kong stable of John Moore.

The sale of the Iffraaj three-year-old has been confirmed by Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, who was also involved in the ownership of the horse.

“It’s very hard to win the sort of money that was on offer,” he said. “He’s an extremely talented horse and he’s still very much untapped.”

Prince Hareem finished runner-up in his first two appearances before he won consecutive races at Hawke’s Bay and at Te Rapa.

A $70,000 Karaka purchase in 2015, Prince Hareem was raced by Lincoln Farms, Dennis James, Ian Middleton and Marsh.


No Change (red colours) stretches his neck out under the urgings of jockey Chris Johnson to score a narrow victory in a Rating 75 race over 1600m at Wanganui last Saturday.


Hastings Trackwork 8 Jun 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Tui Gold rounded off his preparation for Saturday’s two-year-old race at Te Rapa with an easy 600-metre workout at this morning’s Hastings track session.

There were very few horses at the track and nothing much in the way of fast work.

Tui Gold was kept under a good hold by apprentice jockey Jordan Bassett when running 600 metres on the heavy plough in 45.4. He will be ridden by in-form jockey Samantha Collett on Saturday but has unfortunately drawn the extreme outside barrier over 1200 metres.

Dances With Wolves also worked on the plough and ran an easy 1000 metres in 1:14, the last 600 in 44 while Vannoss clocked 1:11.7 for 1000 metres on the heavy No. 1 grass, the last 600 in 40. He is a three-year-old by Sufficient in the Lowry/Cullen stable and shows promise.




Further exciting news has today been released for this year’s Kiwi Punting Championships (KPC) with the announcement that the winner of the 2017 Bay Ford New Zealand Punter of the Competition, to be held on October 7 at Hastings Racecourse, will receive automatic qualification into the KPC final field of 40 contestants.

Flights to and accommodation in Christchurch for two people will be provided courtesy of Hawke’s Bay Racing Inc., Addington Raceway and the New Zealand Racing Board to assist in making the trip south.

The KPC final on Show Day November 17 at Addington Raceway sees a total prize pool of $80,000 with the winner also qualifying to compete, on an all-expenses paid basis, in Las Vegas from February 9 – 11, 2018 at the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) which has an estimated prize pool of US$2.5m.

Addington Raceway CEO Dean McKenzie was thrilled to announce this first direct KPC connection with the thoroughbred code:

“The New Zealand Punter of the Year Competition at Hastings is the longest running elite punting contest in New Zealand racing and we are delighted to provide a pathway for their winner to come to Christchurch and get a shot at the $80k prize pool as well as a chance to win the trip to Vegas to play for a life changing pot of cash.”

Hawke’s Bay Racing Incorporated Chief Executive Andrew Castles stated:

“We are delighted to see a tangible connection between the horse codes and the NZRB through the two premier punting competitions in the country. This can only lead to bigger and more attractive contests for our core wagering customers, which is a win for us all.”

As a central part of widening the customer base and making the KPC the go to event for all New Zealand punters, one major change has been made to the KPC final rules set down for Show Day in Christchurch.

For the first time punters will not have to invest a minimum amount per race at Addington Raceway, rather a single turnover level qualifying criteria will be used. This will effectively see contestants able to bet on any horse or dog race the NZ TAB takes wagering on between noon and 6.30pm on Show Day. As long as they meet the turnover criteria, which has been set at $8,000 (1.6 times the starting pool of $5,000) then they will be eligible to share in the $80,000 prize pool and win the trip to the NHC in Las Vegas with the chance to win US$2.5m.

Rules and event dates for the 2017 KPC will be available at once finalised.


Hastings Trackwork 6 Jun 2017

(John Jenkins)

Kipkeino, who is likely to return to hurdling at Trentham this Saturday, worked strongly on his own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

There were not many horses at the track and there was very little in the way of fast work, after overnight rain had made the tracks very heavy.

Trainer Lucy de Lautour was aboard Kipkeino when he worked over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:8.9, the last 600 in 38.4. The Sunray nine-year-old has had two flat races this time in, the most recent of them resulting in a fourth over 2100 metres at Awapuni on May 20. He has recorded a win and three seconds from five hurdle starts and is likely to step out in the 3100-metre hurdle race at Saturday’s Wellington meeting.

His stablemate Havataste was let off with just two rounds of strong pacework this morning, running the last 600 metres in 46.2. He is also likely to line up at Trentham on Saturday, in the amateur riders’ race.

Tui Gold and a Nom du Jeu three-year-old, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, worked together over 1000 metres on the No.1 grass in 1:12.9, the last 600 in 40.6.

Tui Gold heads north for the two-year-old race at Te Rapa on Saturday and will be accompanied by stablemate and last start winner Wait A Sec, who will contest the Rating 85 race over 2100 metres.

Zed Leppelin was among the horses restricted to just pacework on the plough. He finished fourth in a hurdle race at Hastings last start and is likely to have another hurdle run at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on July 1.

HB Racing Column 2 Jun 2017

Lawrence reaps rewards after taking in unwanted mare

 Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence is thankful she has never been one to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’ after a thoroughbred that cost her nothing prevailed against the odds at Trentham last Saturday.

   Do Ya, a five-year-old maiden, was having only her fourth career start when she lined up in the $20,000 Special Conditions 1400 at the Wellington meeting while her opposition included six race winners. But the little nondescript mare outlasted them all in a slog to the line, coping admirably with the heavy-11 surface to score by three-quarters of a length and return a dividend of $17.20 for a win and $3.70 for a place.

Lawrence acquired Do Ya by pure chance. She was one of several owned by the late Lenny Adin, a Palmerston North owner-breeder who raced a number of horses from the stable of Kevin Gray.

“When Lenny died his estate wanted to get rid of all of his horses. I got a phone call from Carolyn Jolley, who is an equestrian competitor, and she said: “Do Ya know anyone that wants horses.”

Lawrence said she was told there were a number of horses running in a paddock and she picked out the Howbaddouwantit-Miss Aquarius mare from a photograph and took her sight unseen.

   At about the same time Lawrence had won a raffle prize of a horse transport voucher so the mare was delivered to her for free.

 “She ended up being a real gift horse,” Lawrence said, adding that her and husband Steve then came up with the unique race name for the horse.

Lawrence gave Do Ya a long slow build up before she decided to try the horse on the racetrack.

   “She has shown a fair bit all the way through but has just needed time,” Lawrence said.

“Kane Smith rode her at the Hastings jumpouts a few months ago and said put her aside and she will be better in the winter and so that’s what we’ve done.”

Do Ya finished seventh on debut over 1000m at Trentham on April 8 and followed that up with a fourth over 1400m at Woodville three weeks later. She then showed a glimpse of her ability with a fast finishing second over 1400m at Hastings on May 11.

   “It was a strong run on a dead-5 track at Hastings but we knew it was going to be a much better field that she was up against at Trentham last Saturday and I said if we could run in the first five I’d be happy.”

Lawrence has never trained a big team of horses and Saturday’s win was a welcome change of luck.  

She is best known as the trainer and part-owner of Intransigent, a horse that won 11 races including the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) and three consecutive victories in the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga.

Her last training success before Do Ya was when Intransigent won his third Kiwifruit Cup in June 2015, although she has had several minor placings since then.

She only has six horses in work at the moment and Do Ya is the only one that is named, the rest of them being younger unraced horses. She and her husband Steve have also taken in retired racehorses to look after on their property with the three time Group 1 winner Sangster currently a paddock mate for Intransigent.

Kirsty and Steve Lawrence race Do Ya in partnership with Steve’s Australian-based brother Chris, Gisborne’s Dinah Newman and her Rotorua-based sister Christina and Susan Best, who works in the Lawrence stables.

The mare is now likely to return to Trentham on May 10 for a Rating 75 race over 1400m.

Happy connections. Trainer Kirsty Lawrence has hold of Do Ya in the winner’s stall at Trentham last Saturday while alongside her are her husband Steve and another part-owner in the horse in Gisborne’s Dinah Newman.


Knock-out punch by Upper Cut

Star jumper Upper Cut, part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby, notched up a first when taking out the maiden hurdle race at last Sunday’s Hawera meeting.

The Yamanin Vital gelding had won five previous races but none of them over hurdles. He was successful in a maiden flat race over 2200 metres at Awapuni two years ago and all four of his other victories have been in steeplechases.

The Mark Oulaghan-trained 10-year-old won the Manawatu Steeples in 2015 and then triumphed in last year’s Grand National Steeples at Riccarton. He also finished fourth in last year’s Great Northern Steeples at Ellerslie.

Upper Cut was ridden last Sunday by Shaun Phelan, who settled the horse back in the last two or three in the early stages of the 2900m event before improving his position sharply when the pace went on from the 1200m.

 J’Walke shot clear of the field after jumping the third last fence but Upper Cut quickly set out after him and was left in front when that horse fell at the next jump. He then had enough in reserve to hold off a late charge from Max to win by a short neck.

It was a great return to jumping by Upper Cut, who looks in for another successful winter campaign.


Upper Cut puts in a magnificent leap at one of the fences on his way to his first hurdle win at Hawera last Sunday.


Back from Australia

 Hastings-trained stablemates Savvy Dreams and Lamborghini have returned to New Zealand following their South Australian campaigns and are now spelling on the Cambridge property of owner Tony Rider.

The two horses were floated from Adelaide up to Melbourne in the middle of last week and then flown to Auckland.

Both horses will now been given a good long winter spell and won’t come back into work until September 1.

“They have both travelled home okay and will now have a decent break, which they deserve,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said.

“They won’t race again until early next year and will be aimed again at races in the late summer and autumn.”

Grant Cullen, who trains in partnership with Guy Lowry, took Savvy Dreams and Lamborghini across the Tasman in early April and remained with them for the entire six weeks they were there.

Neither horse had much luck in their Australian starts but they still both picked up enough stakemoney to pay for most of the trip.

Both had three starts there with Savvy Dreams recording a 10th, a fourth and a 13th while Lamborghini picked up a second, a fifth and a 10th.

The Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2010m) was to have been the main target for Savvy Dreams, whose last New Zealand start saw her finish third behind Bonneval and Devise in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March. However she flipped over backwards just before being loaded into the barrier for the feature and was declared a late scratching. Fortunately she escaped injury and contested the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) a week later instead, where she finished a game fourth after covering plenty of extra ground from the extreme outside barrier. The stakemoney for running fourth in that race was $26,100.

Lamborghini, who won the Waipukurau Cup (2100m) in March at his last New Zealand start, earned $18,500 when he finished second over 1800m in his Australian debut on April 22 and added another $2170 to his earnings when fifth over 2010m at his second start.







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