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Hawkes Bay Racing Column: Fri 28 July 28 Jul 2017

Memorable double for Nelson and Kuru in jumping features


It may have been on a different track but Hastings trainer Paul Nelson achieved another memorable milestone when he produced the winners of both the Wellington Hurdles and Wellington Steeplechase at Hastings on Thursday of last week.

   Nelson saddled up The Shackler to take out the $75,000 Anuka Smoker Wellington Hurdles and then, four races later, he landed the $75,000 Grant Plumbing Wellington Steeplechase with Amanood Lad.

   The two prestige jumping events had been transferred to the Hastings course after the Wellington winter race day, scheduled for the previous Saturday, had to be abandoned after torrential rain made the Trentham track unsafe for racing on.

Nelson, renowned as one of the best conditioners of jumpers in the country, had won both feature races once before and that was when they were both run on the Trentham track. It was 30 years since his inaugural success in the Wellington Steeplechase with Storm in 1987 while it has been seven years since he took out the Wellington Hurdles with Solid Steal.

The Shackler completed an impressive hat-trick of wins over hurdles since joining the Nelson stable earlier this year. The 10-year-old Istidaad gelding led all the way to take out a maiden hurdle race over 3000m at Trentham on June 10 by 20 lengths and then gave another dashing front running display when winning a Restricted Open Hurdle over 3100m at Te Aroha on June 25. The horse is owned by Cambridge-based Shaun Dromgool.

Jockey Aaron Kuru got the horse to settle reasonably well at the head of the field in last week’s 3100m event and, despite bungling the last two fences, The Shackler was still too dominant for his rivals, winning by 4-3/4 lengths.

Several big bets had been placed on The Shackler to take out the race, including a last minute $10,000 outlay to return $27,000. But his supporters must have had their hearts in their mouths when the gelding went down on his nose after hitting the top of the second to last fence. The Shackler did remarkably well to stay on his feet and then scrambled over the final jump and on to victory.

Jockey Aaron Kuru said afterwards that it was only The Shackler’s supreme fitness that enabled him to recover after their mishap at the second to last fence.

“I’m just lucky enough he stayed up,” Kuru said. “A tired horse would have gone down but Paul had him rock-hard fit.”

It was the first time Cambridge-based Kuru had filled a placing in the Wellington Hurdles let alone won the prestigious event.

The 25-year-old also brought up his first Wellington Steeplechase victory aboard Amanood Lad to give him a memorable double on his former home track. He learnt to race-ride by first working for the Hastings stable of Patrick Campbell and then for John Bary before making the move north.

The Wellington Hurdles-Steeples double took Kuru’s winning tally for the season to 18 and put him five in front of Will Gordon on the jumps jockeys premiership for this season.

Amanood Lad had to lump topweight of 70kg in last week’s race but still proved too tough for his six rivals in the 5500-metre event. Kuru saved every inch of ground during the early and middle stages before sending the 12-year-old forward to challenge the leaders at the second to last fence. They were clear in front after jumping the last and went on to win by 2-1/2 lengths.

It was Amanood Lad’s sixth steeplechase victory and he created a new weight carrying record for the race since metrics were introduced in 1974. He also joined four others as the oldest horses to win the Wellington Steeples, the others being Orient in 1890, Haydn in 1907, Teak in 1971 and Lord Zirito in 1995.

The Germano gelding is owned by Te Awamutu couple John and Shirley Blair and began his racing career from the Cambridge stable of Ben Foote, who prepared the horse for his first five wins over the big fences, including the 2015 Great Northern Steeplechase. It was on his advice that the horse be transferred to Nelson as he wanted to concentrate on flat horses.

Nelson is unsure what horses he will be taking to next month’s Grand National meeting at Riccarton. He said this week, with the Kaikoura Coast road still closed, it is now an arduous journey to get to Christchurch and return.

“War horse” Sea King a class act

New Zealand jumper Sea King was described by commentator Rick MacIntosh as a “war horse” after he captured another major jumping race in last Sunday’s $A100,000 Brendan Drechsler Hurdle at Bendigo.

The evergreen 10-year-old was chalking up his 11th hurdle victory to go with five over steeples and proved a class above his rivals, lumping topweight of 70kg to a 1-1/2 length victory.

Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers decided to send Sea King across the Tasman after the horse finished a game third in the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles at Hastings on July 1. His intentions were for the gelding to defend his crown in last Sunday’s $A100,000 Mosstrooper Steeplechase, a race he has won for the past two years. But a technicality around his eligibility meant that his connections had to quickly switch to the hurdle race instead.

Sea King has entered the Ballarat stable of Patrick Payne for this Australian campaign and was ridden by successful jumps jockey Brad McLean. He stalked the leaders throughout before issuing his challenge with two fences to jump.

Sea King was marginally in front at the last obstacle and drew clear in the run to the line to take his stake earnings to close to $800,000.

The Shinko King gelding was bred by Central Hawke’s Bay woman Sue Harty who still shares in the ownership of the horse, along with Otaki trainer Rachel Frost and Auckland’s Chris O’Reilly. Frost trained the horse in the early part of his racing career before he was transferred to Myers to further develop him into a jumper.

 Harty said this week that Sea King is lucky to be alive as his dam, Ocean Princess, suffered so badly from grass staggers that she almost had her put down.

“We nearly gave up on breeding from her because she was so bad and if we had Sea King would never have been born,” Harty said this week.

The horse was also lucky to escape with his life in a freak accident during the running of last year’s Melbourne’s Crisp Steeplechase.

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 the horse would race again but, like a true warrior, he has continued to soldier on.

The horse is now expected to contest the Crisp Steeplechase before tackling either the Australian Grand National Hurdles or Australian Grand National Steeples.


Onefortheditch adds another

While Sea King was adding to his great record across the Tasman last Sunday his New Zealand trainer Kevin Myers was saddling up another win in New Zealand.

Myers stunned punters when he produced the Hawke’s Bay-owned Onefortheditch to take out a $25,000 Rating 75 race over 1400m at New Plymouth at odds of 12 to one.

The Elusive City mare was having her first start since finishing seventh over 1600m at Wanganui more than a month ago but Myers had given the horse a 1200m trial at Waverley earlier this month to help fit her for Sunday’s assignment.

Onefortheditch is owned by Myers in partnership with two Hawke’s Bay men, Graham Duffy and Paul Robinson. The five-year-old is now the winner of five races from 24 starts and her stake earnings are now just short of $70,000.


Bonniegirl retired

Injury has fast-tracked the stud career of the black type winner Bonniegirl.

The Darci Brahma mare won five of her 16 starts from the stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, including the Listed NZB Finance Sprint at Hastings in what has turned out to be her final race.

Bonniegirl is owned by Sir Owen Glenn, who bought the horse after that win.

“We bought her after she won at Hawke’s Bay in April,” Glenn’s Hunter Valley-based bloodstock manager Geoff Roan said.

'Murray thought it was worth pressing on with her, but she suffered a hind leg fracture of her cannon bone in trackwork at Cambridge. Fortunately, she’s okay and she’ll be going to Iffraaj this year.”


Jockey Aaron Kuru stands high in the irons and gives a victory shout after bringing up his first Wellington Steeplechase victory aboard the Hastings-trained Amanood Lad at last week’s Hastings races.


The Shackler and jockey Aaron Kuru return at the head of the field following their win in last week’s Wellington Hurdles.

Aaron Kuru looks pleased with himself after he brought up two of the biggest wins of his career aboard The Shackler in the Wellington Hurdles and Amanood Lad in the Wellington Steeplechase.


Hastings Trackwork 26 Jul 2017


(By John Jenkins)

Hastings trainer Paul Nelson will be attacking this Thursday’s Wanganui meeting with numbers and most of them underwent strong workouts at this morning’s Hastings trackwork session.

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

Nelson could have at least six runners at Wanganui including the promising jumper No Change in the restricted open hurdle and Ooee in the amateur riders’ race.

This morning No Change went out on to the plough to work over 1000 metres with stablemate Keilib. The latter was very keen and worked away from No Change in the middle stages but both horses were striding out well at the finish. Keilib was timed to run the full distance in 1:12.1, the last 600 in 42.8.

No Change is coming off an impressive last start win over hurdles at Hastings at the beginning of this month and looks to have trained on very well since. Keilib, who was formerly trained by Sylvia Kay, will have his first start for Nelson in a Rating 65 race at Wanganui.

Ooee strode clear of stablemate Perry Mason over the final stages of their 1000-metre gallop and clocked 1:4.9, the last 600 in 38.1. Ooee finished third in a 1600-metre highweight at Wanganui last start.

Time honours for the morning went to Lutine Belle, from the Lowry/Cullen stable who recorded 52.6 for 800 metres on the No.1 grass, the last 600 in 38.5. She is a Per Incanto three-year-old filly who finished second at the last lot of Hastings jumpouts.

Kings Deep and Runny Honey, two other jumpers from the Nelson stable, were sent two 600-metre runs on the plough, the first taking 44.3 and the second in 40.8. They are others likely to start at Wanganui on Thursday.

Red Tiara had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when working in at three-quarter pace from the 800-metre peg. She quickened appreciably over the last 600 metres in 37.8.

Vannoss and a Lope de Vega three-year-old gelding, both on the Lowry/Cullen stable, kept together over 1000 metres on the grass in 1:7.3 while an O’Reilly-Catalina two-year-old gelding from the same stable clocked 38.8 for his last 600 metres on the same track.

Hunta Pence, who is back in work with trainer Patrick Campbell, ended his work on the plough with an easy 600 metres in 45.3. He looks in great order.

Cowboys Don’t Cry had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running 1000 metres on the grass in 1:10.1, the last 600 in 39.8 while Saint Kitt was keen to go a lot faster when ending his work on the plough with 600 metres in 42.4.

Vino Blanco, a three-year-old Cape Blanco filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable, ran an easy 600 metres on the grass in 43.1 while a Per Incanto-Mal three-year-old gelding ran the last 600 metres of his work on the plough in 44.6.

HB Racing Column 21 Jul 2017

Star-studded line-up likely for HB Gold Trail Stakes

 (By John Jenkins)


The Group 3 $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes on September 23 is shaping as one of the most interesting races at this year’s Bostock Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.


The 1200m event, the first race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series, has drawn excellent fields in the past but this year’s running is likely to attract most of the cream of the new season three-year-old fillies.


John Morell, the owner-trainer of the dashing two-year-old Florence Jean, has stated he will be aiming the daughter of Pins for the Gold Trail Stakes on the middle day of the carnival and may even give her a run in the $20,000 El Roca Three-year-old (1200m) when the carnival begins on September 3.


“We’ll see what happens, but we will be looking at those races,” Morell said after Florence Jean trounced her rivals by 6 lengths in a 1000m two-year-old race at Ruakaka on July 8.


That was the filly’s second win from only three starts, following a debut victory over 1000m at Ruakaka in January.


If Florence Jean does line up in the Gold Trail Stakes she is sure to have strong opposition with the connections of class fillies Gift Of Power, Princess Rihanna and Ujjayyi saying they are also targeting the race. Then there are the likes of Belle du Nord and Joyfilly (the minor placegetters in April’s Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes) as well as Gold Fever and Hasahalo also waiting in the wings.


The Graeme and Debbie Rogerson trained Gift Of Power caught the eye early in the season when she strung together a hat-trick of wins that included the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham in December. In two subsequent starts the filly, by first season sire Power, finished runner-up to Hasahalo in Group 3 company at Ellerslie before finishing unplaced in the rich Karaka Million in January.


Put aside for a decent break, the rising three-year-old has been back in work for some time now and is pleasing co-trainer Graeme Rogerson with her progress to date.


“She has really furnished into a super looking individual and strengthened up nicely during her time in the paddock,” he reported.

 “She’s been back in work a wee while now and has done everything right so far.    She’s probably just about ready for her first serious gallop in the next week or so and we will then start to make our plans from there.

 “We’ve got the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton as one of her main aims for the early summer with the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings earmarked as an early assignment.”


Well-performed youngster Princess Rihanna is also likely to head toward the fillies’ feature during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

“We’ll probably have her ready to go in the Gold Trail Stakes,” said Lance O’Sullivan, who trains with Andrew Scott.

She won one of her five two-year-old starts this season and she also finished fourth in the Group1 Sistema Stakes, the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and in the Listed Karaka Million.


One filly unlikely to be at Hastings is this season’s outstanding two-year-old Melody Belle.

The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards trained daughter of Commands netted four wins including the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes, the Karaka Million and the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes in Brisbane.

Melody Belle, who was purchased for $57,500 by Te Akau principal David Ellis at Karaka on behalf of Fortuna Syndications, is currently enjoying a good break and on her return the Group 1 Sistema Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day will be a goal.

“We feel she is the right sort of filly to then step up to the $1 million Karaka Three-year-old Mile at Ellerslie at the end of January,” Ellis said.

“Following that she could look to major races like the Coolmore Classic at Randwick, in Sydney if she was happy getting over a bit more ground.”



Numbers are up for HB Group 1 features


Hawke’s Bay Racing is delighted with the number of entries for the three Group 1 races at this year’s Bostock Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

Forty-seven horses have been nominated for the $200,000 Tarzino Trophy on the first day while the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate on the second day has 56 and the $250,000 Livamol Classic on the last day has 57.

“The numbers are up for all three races, which is great for the club,” general manager Andrew Castles said.


The Tarzino Trophy (formerly the Makfi Challenge Stakes), will be run on September 3. The weight-for-age 1400m event is headed by the outstanding performer Kawi, who will be trying to complete a hat-trick of wins in the race after victories in 2015 and 2016.


New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock has nominated Kawi for both the Tarzino Trophy and the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 23 but not in the Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 7, believing the six time Group 1 winner is best at distances up to 1600m.


Kawi is rated on 111 points while the next highest rated horse in the Tarzino Trophy is the former Hong Kong-trained six-year-old Packing Eagle. The Pins gelding is now in the Cambridge stable of Trevor and Martin Cruz after 19 starts in Hong Kong netted six wins, three seconds and two thirds. Three of his wins were in Class 2 races at 1400m while he also finished third behind champion Japanese-trained Maurice in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) at Shatin.


Other notable nominations for the Tarzino Trophy are the New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts, the Group 1 winning mares Thee Auld Floozie, Aide Memoire and Perfect Fit and the consistent Group 1 placegetter Stolen Dance.


Gingernuts is also nominated for the both the Windsor Park Plate and the Livamol Classic, with trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards saying the horse will be specifically targeted  at those two races.


Vokstok’n’barrell is the highest rated horse among the nominations for the Livamol Classic and his connections are also keen to line up him up in the Windsor Park Plate as a lead up to the 2040m feature.


Weanling walk Sunday

This Sunday’s annual Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders weanling walk will start at 10am at Guy Lowry’s property at 305 Kawera Road, Okawa.


It will proceed to Chris Russell’s property at 793 Valley Road (off Highway 50) and then to Washpool Station at 2214 Maraekakaho Road. It will then move closer to Hastings at Richard McKenzie’s property at 121 Rosser Road before finishing at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Stables in Wall Road.


Among the weanlings on display will be by the stallions Shamexpress, Niagara, Per Incanto, Charm Sprit, Reliable Man, Swiss Ace, Rip Van Winkle, Bullet Train, Jakkalberry, Iffraaj and Nom du Jeu.

   At the completion of the weanling walk a luncheon will be held at Off The Track Restaurant on Havelock Road, starting at 12.30pm, where there will also be a silent auction.


For catering purposes, those intending to partake in the luncheon need to make a reservation with either Sharyn Craig at email: and mobile: 027 4999084 or Isabell Roddick at email: and phone: (06) 8798662.


HB-bred still undefeated


Chopin’s Fantaisie, a three-year-old bred by Taupo’s Pat Lowry, made it four wins from four starts with another impressive victory in Singapore on Sunday.


The Michael Clements-trained gelding, a brother to the former Hong Kong champion Ambitious Dragon, maintained his unbeaten record with a half-length victory in a $S60,000 race over 1400m at Kranji.


Although the margin wasn’t great, winning jockey Glen Boss said he was always confident of getting the decision.


“He will never win by a space as that is not his caper. It’s more cat-and-mouse style with him.


“He’s got a lovely long action and has a great attitude. He will grow and mature further as he’s not the full product yet – he is coming along quite well and will be even better in six months’ time.


“He’s such an unassuming horse, but he has so much energy and he can run time. Mike will have a lot of fun with him as he will continue to improve for sure.”


Chopin’s Fantaisie is by Pins out of the Oregon mare Golden Gamble and was sold by Lowry for $150,000 at the premier session of the 2015 Karaka yearling sales.


The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen are preparing an unraced two-year-old full-sister to Chopin’s Fantaisie and the mare Golden Gamble is now in foal to Rock ‘n’ Pop. 


Pleasing run by Pacorus


Talented stayer Pacorus, part-owned by Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison, has come through his latest outing in good shape.


He finished fourth over a mile at Te Rapa last Saturday in his final outing before the Listed $65,000 Taumarunui Gold Cup (2200m) at Rotorua tomorrow week.


“The 1600m was a touch short and there wasn’t a lot of tempo, but he pulled up well,” trainer Chris Wood said.



Gift Of Power powering her way to victory in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham in December. She will be using the Gold Trail Stakes as a stepping stone to the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November.



Florence Jean ran her rivals ragged when leading all the way for a 6 length win over 1000 metres at Ruakaka on July 8. She is sure to be one of the top chances in the Gold Trail Stakes.


Hastings Trackwork 19 Jul 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Zed Leppelin, preparing for the maiden hurdle race at Te Aroha on Friday, was one of only a couple of horses timed on Tuesday at Hastings track session as a dense blanket of fog covered the racecourse for most of the morning.

Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided heavy footing after Mondays overnight rain.

A penetrometer reading was taken on the course proper during the session and came up as a heavy11.

Zed Leppelin ended his work with 600 metres in 39.9. The Zed gelding shows promise as a jumper and has finished fourth in his last two hurdle starts. Hamish McNeill has been booked to ride him on Friday.

Kipkeino rounded off his preparation for Thursday’s Wellington Hurdles with a strong workout over a round. He looks a fit horse and is coming off an impressive last start win in the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m) on the Hastings track.

Bernali, another likely runner in the maiden hurdle race at Te Aroha on Friday, worked easily over three rounds on the plough while a Don Eduardo four-year-old gelding had trainer Katie Hercock aboard when running 1200 metres in 1:34.1.

HB Racing Column 14 Jul 2017

Hastings woman stormed to Wellington Steeples success 30 years ago

(By John Jenkins)

Tomorrow’s Wellington Steeplechase at Trentham holds special memories for Hastings thoroughbred trainer Sue Thompson as it was 30 years ago that she created history by becoming the first female to ride the winner of the prestigious race.

Thompson was a 26-year-old amateur jockey when she teamed up with Hastings-trained Storm to score a dramatic win in the 1987 running of the time-honoured event.

She had already made history 12 months earlier when she became the first female to win a steeplechase on Trentham’s figure-eight course, guiding The Paul Nelson-trained Storm to a 4 length victory in a B grade race over 4000m.

   Thompson built up a great affinity with the Makor gelding following that success and Nelson, who raced the horse in partnership with his wife Carol, had no hesitation in keeping her on for the major steeplechase races at the 1987 Wellington winter meeting.

Storm had only been the fourth favourite in a field of six in the Eric Riddiford Steeples on the first day. But when he and Thompson easily beat the opposition in that 4000m event they became one of the favourites for the much longer $75,000 Steel and Tube Wellington Steeples (5500m) a week later.

The opposition was a great deal tougher however, with top jumpers Lord Venture, Orca, Zeb and Seeyoulater in the field.

But it made no difference as Sue Thompson became the toast of Trentham that day after she punched Storm out to win the feature event, despite losing a stirrup iron with 400m to run.

Thompson had only one foot in her irons when Storm jumped the last fence but managed to keep her balance and extract the necessary extra effort from the horse in the run to the line to beat Sir Hugh by 4 lengths, with Lord Venture a further 3 lengths back in third place.

“It was a funny sort of a race,” Thompson recalled this week.

“With a round to go he (Storm) just took off and circled the field. I had to steady him again because I knew we still had a long way to go.

“At the third to last fence I thought I could run fourth. At the second to last I thought I could run second and then, going over the crossing at the top of the straight, I thought we could win this and so I gave him an almighty kick with my right foot and it came out of the stirrup.

“I had to ride with one leg flapping out the side after that but it didn’t matter too much because I rode pretty long anyway,” she added.

Thompson, who has also been one of New Zealand’s top equestrian riders, was 18 when she had her first race-ride. She then had a break of five years before taking it up again aged 24 and competed in her last race seven years ago.

She amassed 30 wins in total and can recall winning the Duke Of Gloucester Cup, the prestige trophy for amateur jockeys in New Zealand, four times.

One of those wins was aboard Abba Bay at Hastings in July 2000, a day she also has fond memories of.

“That day Paul and Carol Nelson won the Hawke’s Bay Hunt Centennial Steeplechase with No Fooling but they were away holidaying in the UK so I had to pick up the trophies on their behalf, as well as my own one for winning the Duke Of Gloucester Cup,” she recalled.

She had 29 rides on Storm for three wins, two seconds and seven thirds, with two of those third placings being in the 1988 Hawke’s Bay Steeples and 1988 Grand National Steeples.

Two other women have since gone on to win the Wellington Steeplechase. Michelle Hopkins was successful aboard Flash Hunter in 1997 and Tina Egan recorded back-to-back victories on Kildary King in 1998 and 1999. But Thompson will always remain the first ever female to win a prestige jumping race in New Zealand.

Nowadays she trains in partnership with husband Mick Brown and they will line up Zed Leppelin in the maiden hurdle race at tomorrow’s Wellington meeting. The Zed Gelding won two races in a row on the flat at Hastings earlier this season and has recorded two good fourths over hurdles in his last two starts.  

 Storm was a 10-year-old when he won the race and had an interesting career. He had been owned by Ken Browne in his early days and then was taken over by leading equestrian rider Harvey Wilson when Ken and Ann Browne decided to cull several horses from their large team.

Jack Tims, who had won the Wellington Steeplechase on Conkeda as an amateur jockey in 1957, then became Storm’s owner and he in turn leased the horse to Hastings couple Paul and Carol Nelson.

The Nelsons decided to exercise a right of purchase on Storm following his Wellington Steeples win but the horse never won another race. “We had the money there to buy him so we did and, although he never won again, he did run a fair few placings,” Nelson said this week.

HB weanling walk

The Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay branch of New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders will stage its annual weanling walk on Sunday, July 23.

The parade of weanlings will begin at 10am at Guy Lowry’s property (305 Kawera Road, Okawa) and then continue on to three other properties.

Some of the weanlings on show are by the highly successful sires Swiss Ace, Per Incanto, Reliable Man and Rip Van Winkle while other stallions represented include Shamexpress, Niagara, Charm Spirit, Bullet Train and Jakkalberry.

At the completion of the weanling walk a luncheon will be held at Off The Track Restaurant on Havelock Road, starting at 12.30pm.

For catering purposes, those intending to partake in the luncheon need to make a reservation with either Sharyn Craig at email: and mobile: 027 4999084 or Isabell Roddick at email: and phone: (06) 8798662.


Gold Trail Stakes plans

Dashing filly Florence Jean is likely to make at least one appearance at this year’s Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

Owner-trainer John Morell was unsure before last Saturday’s outing at Ruakaka whether the daughter of Pins would be taking on the best of her age group in the new season, but he has no doubts now.

Florence Jean thumped her rivals in the Tavistock Owners’ Syndicate Two-year-old in her return to racing and the Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) on September 23 is now a target with the possibility of a lead-up run on the first day of the Hastings meeting, on September 2.

 “We’ll see what happens, but we will be looking at those races,” Morell said.

“It’s been hard to get a line on her at home. She’s only had a couple of run alongs and she doesn’t put in a lot, but once the blinkers are on her she is a different horse.”

Florence Jean had also won at Ruakaka on debut in January and she was then an unlucky sixth in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes.

Florence Jean was sent straight to the front at Ruakaka by regular rider Alysha Collett and the filly was coasting at the top of the straight.

“She jumped well and there wasn’t a lot of early pressure,” she said. “She was too good and had her ears pricked on the line. She’s strengthened and she’s a little professional.”

Florence Jean was out on her own at the post with 6 lengths back to Contessa Vanessa, the winner of her previous two starts.

Fresh up in Tarzino Trophy

Group 1 Thorndon Mile winner Thee Auld Floozie has returned to the Cambridge stable of trainer Stephen Marsh and is being aimed at a first-up crack at the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy on the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

“She’ll have one or two trials before that,” he said. “She might have two runs at Hastings and she may go to Melbourne after that. There are a number of good options for mares over there.”

HB race plans for stayer

 Chance To Dance is on a path toward the Group 1 races at Hastings in the spring ahead of a proposed trip to Melbourne.

“He’s put on weight and is a pleasure to have around the stables, a true gentleman,” said Stephen Autridge, who trains with Jamie Richards.

“We’ll be looking at weight-for-age events during the Hawke’s Bay carnival, and providing he’s going well, he could end up racing in Australia.”

The winner of seven races including a stakes victory in Ireland, Chance To Dance was an autumn purchase for John Galvin’s Fortuna Syndications.

Holmes put out

Expatriate New Zealand jockey Patrick Holmes will spend a lengthy period on the side-lines after returning a sample containing an undisclosed banned substance.

“After taking into account Patrick Holmes’ personal circumstances and guilty plea, stewards suspended his permit to ride in races for a period of four months. He also has to deliver a sample free of any banned substances before he can resume riding trackwork and trials,” stewards said.

Holmes’ ban started when he was stood down on June 27 and expires at midnight on October 27. He has ridden 19 winners this season, including a double at Corowa on June 13.


 Hastings-based Sue Thompson was swamped with trophies at the Hawke’s Bay Hunt race meeting on July 1, 2000. She picked up the Duke Of Gloucester Cup for her win aboard Abba Bay and also accepted the Harold Russell Memorial Challenge Cup, and another cup presented by the Omakere Hunt Supporters, on behalf of Paul and Carol Nelson whose horse No Fooling had taken out the Hawke’s Bay Hunt Centennial Steeplechase.

Sue Thompson and husband Mick Brown pictured with Zed Leppelin after one of the horse’s two wins at Hastings earlier this season. The Zed gelding will line up in the maiden hurdle race at Trentham tomorrow.

Hastings Trackwork 11 Jul 2017

(By John Jenkins)

The Shackler, preparing for Saturday’s Wellington Hurdles, worked keenly over 1200 metres at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

The Shackler was always well clear of stablemate Amanood Lad in their 1200-metre workout and was timed to run the distance in 1:19, the first 600 metres taking 41.4 and the last 600 in 37.6. Amanood Lad, who was some distance behind at the finish, was timed to run his last 600 metres in 41.9.

Both horses head to Trentham this Saturday where The Shackler will contest the $75,000 Wellington Hurdles (3400m) and Amanood Lad is in the $75,000 Wellington Steeplechase (5500m).

No Change and Runny Honey, two other jumpers in the Paul Nelson stable, also stretched out well over the final stages of their 1200-metre gallop together. They clocked 1:20.3 for the full distance, the last 600 in 37.4. Keilib, a newcomer to the Paul Nelson stable, had Matovani for a partner when they worked over 1000 metres and recorded 1:6.7, coming home the last 600 in a quick 36.7.

Keilib was formerly owned and trained by Sylvia and Paddy Kay and was the winner of three races in the space of nine starts between late 2015 and March last year.

Red Tiara had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when running an easy 800 metres in 55.6, the last 600 in 39. The Per Incanto mare has not raced since February but won a 1400-metre maiden race at Hastings in January.

Vannoss was one of several horses from the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable who was restricted to three-quarter pace, running 1000 metres in 1:13.4, the last 600 in 42.7. He is a three-year-old by Sufficient.

Cowboy’s Don’t Cry ran an easy 1000 metres in 1:13.3, the last 600 in 43.3 while a Nom de Jeu three-year-old in the Lowry/Cullen stable ran 1000 metres in 1:9.8, the last 600 in 39.8.

HB Racing Column 7 Jul 2017

Kipkeino records special family success in HB Hurdles

(By John Jenkins)

It is not often a trainer gets to record her biggest success in a race sponsored by her close relations but that is exactly what Waipukurau’s Lucy de Lautour achieved at last Saturday’s Hastings race meeting.

De Lautour produced Kipkeino to win the $50,000 Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles, one of the prestige jumping races at the Hawke’s Bay winter meeting.

The 3100m event is sponsored by the Te Whangai Romney sheep stud which is operated by Hamish and Harry de Lautour, the brother and nephew of Lucy’s husband Will.

A special dress rug, emblazoned with the words Te Whangai Romneys, adorned Kipkeino as the presentation took place in the birdcage following the win and Lucy de Lautour was overjoyed by the occasion.

“You always dream of winning a big race when you take up training and it was a huge thrill for the whole family that we managed to do it in that race,” de Lautour  said this week.

Kipkeino was recording his second win over hurdles, following a 13-1/2 length victory in a maiden hurdle over 3000m at Wanganui in August last year. He has also been a good performer on the flat, with one of his best performances being a win over Bel Sorriso in a 2100m open handicap at Awapuni in June 2015.

De Lautour races Kipkeino in partnership with her husband Will after the couple bought the horse for only $5500 at a South Island mixed bloodstock sale in August, 2009.

The de Lautours got Hastings trainer Paul Nelson to look out for a horse for them while he was campaigning jumpers at that year’s Grand National meeting at Riccarton and a colt by Sunray was one he suggested.

Nelson initially trained Kipkeino and prepared the horse for his first win, when he took out a 1600m highweight at Awapuni in May 2012.

Lucy de Lautour took out an owner-trainer’s licence soon after that and has prepared the now nine-year-old gelding to win a further seven races, with last Saturday’s success taking his stake earnings to more than $148,000.

Kipkeino races in the colours formerly owned by Will de Lautour’s grandparents, who raced a number of jumpers several years ago.

“Will and I have always been keen on racing, especially jumpers,” Lucy added.

Kipkeino is one of three horses she is working at the moment with the others being Havataste, who has recorded several minor placings, and an unraced four-year-old gelding by Don Eduardo.

Kipkeino’s success in the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles was mainly due to a great ride by jockey Shaun Phelan. He settled the horse perfectly in the trail and saved every inch of ground before slipping through along the inside to challenge for the lead on the home turn.

Kipkeino was clear of his rivals approaching the last fence and, after another good leap, he proved too strong in the run to the line to win by 1-1/4 lengths. Justa Charlie claimed second by a nose from the topweight and favourite Sea King, with Shamal only a head away in fourth.

 Kipkeino is now likely to have his next start in the $75,000 Wellington Hurdles (3400m) at Trentham tomorrow week.


Wait A Sec taking a break

 In-form Hastings galloper Wait A Sec has now been turned out for a brief spell with his main spring target being the Group 3 $250,000 New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton in November.

The Postponed six-year-old went out on a winning note when scoring another impressive victory in the $30,000 Open 2100m race at Hastings last Saturday, his fourth win from his last five starts.

“He’s gone out for a couple of weeks now and will then be ready to race again towards the end of August,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week.

“We will nominate him for races at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, including the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on the last day, just in case that race drops away in class and there is the chance of a wet track.

“His main goal however will be the New Zealand Cup in November.”

Wait A Sec only earned six points for last Saturday’s win which means he is still down on 86 points and may see him struggle to get into the top open class races at this stage.

“He probably needs to do a bit more but we’ll aim him at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and hopefully pick up some more points there,” Lowry added.

 Wait A Sec took his record to eight wins, five seconds and five thirds when scoring a decisive 1-1/4 length win over Zentangle, with third placed Zartan a further 1-3/4 lengths back. He was only a Rating 80 horse racing in an open handicap but proved a class above his rivals.

 Jockey Johnathan Parkes settled the horse in fifth place in the early stages of the race and waited until the last 700m before making a move. Once he urged his mount to quicken Wait A Sec accelerated quickly to take control of the race on the home turn and kept up a strong run to the line. 

 That completed a hat-trick of wins for the gelding, following a three-quarter length victory over 1550 metres at Awapuni on May 20 and a 3 length success over 2100m at Te Rapa on June 10.

 Wait A Sec, prepared by the Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, is owned by his Hastings breeder Ian Henderson in partnership with his Perth-based son Paul.

 The horse’s great run of form is mainly attributed to the fact that he has his training alternated between the Lowry/Cullen stable at Hastings and working around the hills at Nikki Lourie’s farm property just north of Dannevirke.

Lourie is the partner of Grant Cullen and is also an equine physiotherapist.

No Change impressive

 Hastings trainer Paul Nelson is unsure where he will start his promising jumper No Change next after the horse’s decisive win in a maiden hurdle race over 2500m at Hastings last Saturday.

 No Change was having only his second hurdle start, following a debut second at Hastings on May 11. The Shinko King eight-year-old has also been the winner of six races on the flat, including one over 1590m at Wanganui on June 3rd.

Paul Nelson, who bred and owns No Change in partnership with his wife Carol, said this week the horse appreciated the slow-9 track conditions at Hastings last Saturday. He added that the horse struggles in very heavy track conditions so his opportunities could be limited for the rest of the winter.

 “The track suited him last Saturday but we are probably not going to get a track like that again,” Nelson said.

 “It’s a bit stupid that we have got two tracks in the country that can cope well with winter racing, at Hastings and Te Rapa, and yet they ran both meetings on the same day last Saturday.”

 Jockey Aaron Kuru settled No Change midfield in the early stages of last Saturday’s race before improving his mount quickly to take the lead coming to the home turn.

 No Change put in a spectacular leap at the last fence and raced away for a 4 lengths win over Royal Sceptre, with 5 lengths back to third placed Nom du Beel.

 The win by No Change was the only high point in what was a disappointing day for Paul Nelson.

 The top trainer had to scratch talented jumper Ooee from one of the day’s features, the Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles, after the horse was suffered a severe muscle tire up on the eve of the meeting.

 The Nelson-trained Perry Mason and rider Aaron Kuru fell at the fence at the top of the home straight in the maiden steeplechase while Nelson’s well supported runner in the Animal Direct Health Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase, Kings Deep, also crashed at the same fence in that 4800m event.

Johnson finishes third

 Danielle Johnson has done her country proud at the inaugural Women Jockeys' Thoroughbred World Championships in Sweden.

The Cambridge-based 26-year-old finished third in the series after enjoying a victory in the first of the five races at Bro Park, near Stockholm.

The series was won by the French representative Maryline Eon.

Suspended again

Jockeys’ premiership front-runner Chris Johnson has copped another suspension.

He pleaded guilty to failing to ride out The Boy Wonder in the opening event at Te Rapa last Saturday and will serve a ban from tomorrow until Sunday, July 16th.

 Johnson sits on 106 winners for the season, 12 clear of Danielle Johnson and 16 clear of Alysha Collett.

Jockey Shaun Phelan and trainer Lucy de Lautour display their trophies following the success by Kipkeino in last Saturday’s Te Whangai Romney Hawke’s Bay Hurdles at Hastings.

Owner Ian Henderson gives his pride and joy, Wait A Sec, an affectionate rub after the gelding brought up his eighth win when successful in the Taradale Club 2100 at last Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.


Hastings Trackwork 5 Jul 2017


(By John Jenkins)

A two-year-old filly by Iffraaj and a Lope de Vega three-year-old gelding were impressive winners at Mondays Hastings jumpouts.

There were five heats run up against the running rail on the course proper, which provided heavy footing.

The Iffraaj two-year-old filly was kept under a strong hold by trackwork rider Zane Thomson in her 750-metre heat and could have won by a lot more than her 1-1/4 length margin had she been allowed to fully extend. Her winning time was 51.1s and she beat a Darci Brahma two-year-old filly, with a Fully Fledged two-year-old gelding last of the three runners. All three horses are trained by John Bary.

The Lope de Vega three-year-old gelding was allowed to race well away from the inside rail in his 1000-metre heat and, despite covering plenty of extra ground, still managed to win easily by 1-1/4 lengths from Vannoss, with 3 lengths back to a Shinko King four-year-old mare in third place.

The Lope de Vega gelding is a big strong chestnut in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable who shows plenty of potential.


Heat 1, 750m: Iffraaj 2yrold filly (Z Thomson) 1, Darci Brahma 2yr-old filly 2, Fully Fledged 2yr-old gelding 3. Three starters. Margins: 1-1/4 lengths, 3 lengths. Time: 51.1s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 2, 750m: Swiss Precision (M Stowe) 1, Per Incanto-Lutine Belle 3yr-old filly 2, Sakhee’s Secret 2yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: 2 lengths, 6 lengths. Time: 49.2s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Savabeel 2yr-old filly (M Stowe) 1, O’Reilly 2yr-old filly 2, Jimmy Choux 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: 3 lengths, neck. Time: 49.9s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 4, 1000m: Lope de Vega 3yr-old gelding (K Hercock) 1, Vannoss 2, Shinko King 4yr-old mare 3. Four starters. Margins: 1-1/4 lengths, 3 lengths. Time: 1:5.7. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: Nom de Jeu 4yr-old mare (K Hercock) 1, Worldclass 2, Revolution 3. Four starters. Margins: ½ length, ¾ length. Time: 1:6.0. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.


Hastings Trackwork 5 Jul 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Bernali, preparing for Sunday’s Te Aroha meeting, turned in a good display of jumping at the Hastings track this morning.

The Bernardini six-year-old, with trainer Bruce Petersen aboard, had the pace on all the way when schooling over nine hurdle fences in the centre of the track. It was the third week in a row that the horse has schooled well at Hastings track and he shows good ability as a jumper.

Red Tiara had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when working over 800 metres on the plough (heavy) in 55.9, the last 600 in 39 while a Redwood three-year-old gelding in the Thompson/Brown stable clocked 1:12.9 for an easy 1000 metres, the last 600 in 40.3.

An O’Reilly-Catalina two-year-old gelding was one of several horses in the Lowry/Cullen stable restricted to three-quarter pace and was timed to run his last 600 metres on the No.1 grass (heavy) in 41.6.

Vino Blanco and a Nadeem two-year-old were two others from the same stable kept to just three-quarter pace. Vino Blanco is a promising type by Cape Blanco.

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