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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 31 Jul 2020

Star HB galloper Wait A Sec retired

(By John Jenkins)

   Hawke’s Bay owned and trained Group 1 winner Wait A Sec has run his last race.

   The connections of the nine-year-old called an end to his racing career after he only managed to beat two horses home when resuming from a spell over 1600m at Wanganui on July 10.

   “He just didn’t want to do it anymore,” co-owner Iain Henderson said this week.

   “He has been a great horse for us and given us an unbelievable ride and will be retired perfectly sound.”

   Wait A Sec was prepared by the Hastings-based training combination of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and had a record of 13 wins, five seconds and six thirds from 51 starts. His stake earnings totalled more than $394,000, helped mainly from his win in the Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic (2100m) at Hastings in October 2017.

   The Postponed gelding caused a minor upset in that year’s feature event at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, with the 26 to one shot producing a powerful rails run to stave off the challenge of race favourite Gingernuts by a short head.

   He also included the Group 3 $70,000 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham, the $40,000 Egmont Cup (2100m) at Hawera and $30,000 Wairoa Cup (2100m) among his victories.

   It was during that Wairoa Cup win in February 2018 that Wait A Sec suffered a tendon injury that saw him side-lined for 18 months.

   He resumed racing in August last year, on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, where he finished last over 1600m. He has since been unplaced in a further four starts.

   Iain Henderson bred Wait A Sec after purchasing the horse’s dam, Security, from another Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred breeder in Don Gordon. He raced the gelding in partnership with his Perth-based son Paul.

   Security, by Grosvenor, only had five race starts for a second and a third but was out of the high class racemare Secrecy, who won seven races from only 22 starts.

   It is also the family of Mun Lee, who was the 1977-78 New Zealand Three-year-old Filly of the Year.

   Henderson said Wait A Sec will spend the next few months on his lifestyle property, just out of Hastings, but there is a chance he may enter the equestrian arena in the future.

   “I think he’d make a great dressage horse,” he said.

Wait A Sec, under a vigorous ride from jockey Johnathan Parkes, gets up to win the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2100m) at Hastings in October 2017. It was one of 13 wins the horse chalked up from 51 starts.


Popular racing return at Hastings

   Racing returned to the Hastings track on Wednesday after an absence of five months and was well received by trainers, jockeys and racegoers alike.

   Twelve races were carded, the most that have been run on the track for many years. The inside running rail was out 7.5 metres from the true position, meaning there was a restriction on starting limits for some races, but 141 horses competed on the day.

   The course proper was rated a slow-7 and most trainers spoken to were glad that they were able to start their horses on reasonably good footing after having to put up with extremely heavy track conditions in the north and at other courses in the central districts.

   Impressive winners on the day were Viking and Mandalorian in 1200m maidens, Red Beach in a Rating 65 race over 1650m and Conor O’Ceirin and River Run in Rating 65 races over 1300m.

   Viking is a three-year-old gelding by Savabeel out of the Group 1 winning mare Irish Fling and trained at Cambridge by Tony Pike. He was having his first start since February and had recorded a second over 1400m from three previous starts.

   Mandalorian was a first starter from the Cambridge stable of Stephen Marsh and was following up a trial win over 1000m at Rotorua last month. He is a three-year-old by Darci Brahma out of the Pins mare La Grande Dame, who was the winner of only one race but was placed another eight times from 26 starts.

   Red Beach was the second winner by Darci Brahma on the day and obviously appreciated the better footing after struggling on a heavy-10 track when beating only two home over 1400m at Ellerslie on July 11. She brought up her fourth win from only 12 starts with a decisive 1-1/4 length victory.

   Conor O’Ceirin made it two wins from two starts in a new campaign with a strong win, carrying 60kg. The three-year-old Dial A Prayer gelding led all the way over 1200m on a heavy-11 track at Wanganui on July 10 and was just as dominant on better footing on Wednesday, scoring by three-quarters of a length.

   Cambridge trainer Tony Pike produced his second winner of the day when River Run took out the final race on the programme and predicts a big future for the Pour Moi five-year-old, especially when he steps up over longer distances.

   The five-year-old carried topweight of 61kg and came from well off the pace on the home turn to get up for a last stride victory over Matt Cain.


Lowry/Cullen top HB trainers

   The training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have been crowned the leading Hawke’s Bay-based trainers for the 2019-20 racing season.

   In a year that was severely cut short by the Covid-19 crisis, Lowry and Cullen produced 12 winners which was one more than John Bary.

   The two stables have had an ongoing battle for the Hawke’s Bay premiership with just one or two wins separating them most years.

   John Bary was the victor in the 2018-19 season with 26 wins, one more than Lowry and Cullen while in 2017-18 Bary also came out on top with 17 wins to 16 for Lowry and Cullen.

   Both stables had runners at Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting but had to settle for second placings, with the Bary-trained Spydapus runner-up in race four and Red Sunday filling the same position in race 10 for Lowry and Cullen.


Hannam sidelined with broken leg

   Popular central districts jockey Robert Hannam is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of six to eight weeks after breaking a femur at the Awapuni track on Thursday of last week.

   Less than three years after an ankle injury out of action for eight months, Hannam has again broken a bone in his leg.

   “I was just on my way back off the track after riding trackwork. It was quite early and quite windy,” the 54-year-old said. “The horse just got a bit of a fright and ended up kicking me and breaking my femur.”

   Hannam was operated on at Palmerston North hospital later that day and was discharged the following day. He is now back at home recuperating.

   Robert Hannam has ridden more than 1000 winners in New Zealand, including five at Group 1 level.

   His 2018-19 season featured a new personal best with five Group or Listed victories – the Group 2 Wellington Guineas on Emily Margaret, Group 3 Manawatu Cup aboard Rock On, Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes on Residential, Listed NZB Insurance Stakes with Emily Margaret and Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup aboard Hinerangi.

   Hannam hopes to be back in the saddle towards the end of the year.

   “Things are still a bit up in the air at the moment and we’ll have to wait and see, but I’m picking that I’ll be absolutely itching to get back into it by the end of that time.

   “Racing’s been so good to me for so many years, and the passion is definitely still there. I’d love to think I’ll be getting back into it later in the year.”

Hastings Jumpouts 30 Jul 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Strong wins by Magic Incanto, Callsign Mav and Hunta Pence were among the highlights at today’s Hastings jumpouts.

   There were 12 heats run on the course proper, where the running rail was out 7.5 metres and the footing was rated a slow-7.

   Magic Incanto scored a comfortable neck win in one of the 780m heats, clocking 46.4s. The Per Incanto mare hasn’t raced since winning over 1400m at Woodville in March and looks to be coming up well in a fresh campaign.

   Callsign Mav scored a narrow win over Satu Lagi in another 780m heat and recorded the quickest time over the distance at 46s. The talented three-year-old, runner-up in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) last spring, is still some way off racing according to trainer John Bary.

   “We are looking at the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival for him, either in the Group 1 over 1400 or there is a Rating 82 over 1200,” Bary said.

   “Like most of my team he will have another jumpout and a trial before he races again.”

   Hunta Pence won the only 1200m heat, cruising to a five length victory. The No Excuse Needed seven-year-old is back in Trainer Patrick Campbell’s stable after spending a brief time at Samantha Logan’s Cambridge stable. Whilst there he qualified as a jumper and had a jumping trial over 2000m.

   Campbell said the horse could kick off a fresh campaign in a 1400m sprint at Awapuni next month with the $30,000 Foxton Cup (2040m) at Wanganui on September 5 his main immediate goal.




Heat 1, 400m: Darci Brahma-Stepping Out yearling filly (L Zydenbos) 1, Iffraaj-Madame Marju yearling filly 2, Super Easy-Flare yearling filly 3. Four starters. Margins: ½ length, head. No time taken. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 2, 400m: El Roca yearling filly (Sammy) 1, Zed 2-yr-old  filly 2, Showcasing 2yr-old gelding 3. Four starters. Margins: Head, head. Time: 28.2s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 3, 780m: Velarde (Sammy) 1, Civics 3yr-old gelding 2, Alpine Charm 3. Six starters. Margins: Head, short neck. Time: 47.1s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 4, 780m: Rosa Stella (T Allan) 1, Jimmy Choux 2yr-old gelding 2, Sheezacatch 3. Five starters. Margins: Neck, 1 length. Time: 47.4s. Winner trained by Shane Brown, Woodville.

Heat 5, 780m: Bold Iris (R Oliver) 1, Ocean Park 3yr-oldgelding 2, Galileo Express 3. Six starters. Margins: Head, 1-1/4 lengths. Time: 46.1s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 6, 780m: River Rising (R Bishop) 1, Wicket Maiden 2, Bellesgirl 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 2 lengths. Time: 46.3s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 7, 780m: Overstayer (J Bassett) 1, Can I Get An Amen 2, Serena 3. Five starters. Margins: Long neck, 4 lengths. Time: 46.1s. Winner trained by Sue Thompson and Mick Brown, Hastings.

Heat 8, 780m: Magic Incanto (T Allan) 1, Cinzento 2, Maria Dior 3. Five starters. Margins: Neck, long head. Time: 46.4s. Winner trained by Fred Pratt, Hastings.

Heat 9, 780m: Callsign Mav (R Oliver) 1, Satu Lagi 2, Motivation 3. Five starters. Margins: Head, ½ length. Time: 46s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 10, 1000m: Ask Pa (R Oliver) 1, Darci Brahma 2yr-old gelding 2, Per Incanto 4yr-old mare 3. Five starters. Margins: Neck, 4-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:02.7. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 11, 1000m: Louboutin (R Oliver) 1, Pepper 2, Resurrect 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, 1-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:02.8. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 12, 1200m: Hunta Pence (D Hirini) 1, Super Easy 3yr-old filly 2, Bently 3. Three starters. Margins: 5 lengths, 3 lengths. No time taken.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 24 Jul 2020

Waipukurau to race at Hastings next season

(By John Jenkins)


   The Waipukurau Jockey Club has agreed to transfer its racing to the Hastings racecourse for the coming season and will have a stand-alone meeting there on Sunday, November 8.

   Along with the Wairoa Racing Club and the Poverty Bay Turf Club in Gisborne, Waipukurau was among several New Zealand gallops venues that were not granted a license to race for the 2020/21 racing season. 

   Waipukurau Jockey Club president Graeme Smith said his committee, whilst disappointed to have lost the license to race at Waipukurau, felt they owed their members a race meeting and so it has been decided, at this stage, to race at Hastings for one year.

   Smith said this week the Waipukurau Jockey Club made three submissions to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and has not given up hope of racing returning to the Waipukurau track in the future but that more time and information is needed, in a constantly changing environment, before the club can confirm its future plans.

   “The committee is disappointed we cannot race at Waipukurau as we have no debt, money in the bank, an irrigated track and a building plan going forward approved by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing,” Smith said.

   “The Waipukurau Jockey Club is well supported by our members, owners, trainers and the community and we hope this continues.

   “However, going forward into the new season it will be racing at Hastings for our club and we will do the best to make it a good days racing, with the Waipukurau Cup being the main race.”

   Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive Darin Balcombe said he was delighted the Waipukurau Jockey Club had made the decision to race at Hastings on November 8 and looks forward to making it a special annual race day for the club and its members.

   The Waipukurau Jockey Club has been racing on its home track for more than 160 years. In recent times the club has staged two meetings a year, a Christmas meeting in early December and the Waipukurau Cup meeting in March. Members pay an annual subscription of $35.


Mixed day for Hastings stable

   The Hastings training combination of Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal had a day of mixed fortunes at Te Rapa last Saturday.

   The stable produced Revolution for a resounding win in the Restricted Open Hurdle (2800m) but had the misfortune to have stablemate Wagner put down after he broke his pelvis in the previous race and another of their runners, Perry Mason, was pulled up during the feature steeplechase.

   Wagner, formerly trained by Tarissa Mitchell at Cambridge, was the winner of three races on the flat. The seven-year-old Civics gelding was having only his second start for the Nelson/McDougal stable after finishing second in his hurdle debut last year.

   Paul Nelson, when spoken to this week, was mystified as to how badly Perry Mason performed in the main steeplechase, hinting that the horse may have not done quite as much work as necessary going into the race.

   “He’ll get that corrected before he has his next start,” Nelson said.

   On a brighter note Nelson said he was thrilled that Revolution managed to put it all together for strong win in the main hurdle race on the card.

   The nine-year-old grey gelding led out and then took a trail behind stablemate Rocky in the early stages. Jockey Aaron Kuru let him run to the lead with just under a round to go and they were never headed from then on, crossing the line a length clear of second placed Tommyra, with 11 lengths back to third placed Delegate.

   “I said before the race that if the right horse turned up he would be hard to beat,” Nelson said, adding that Revolution has beaten himself on occasions by being too keen in his races.

   “He pulled that hard at the Waverley Point-To-Point last month that there was just no stopping him and when he fell at Wanganui in his last hurdle race last year it was because he was just going too hard in front.”

   Aaron Kuru is said to have the best hands in the business amongst the ranks of hurdle jockeys and he as able to keep Revolution under a good hold throughout last Saturday’s race.

   “It’s hard for a jumps jockey to ride a horse like him (Revolution) because they have to let their head go at every jump and then try and get them to come back to them on the other side and Aaron did it perfectly,” Nelson added.

   Nelson said Revolution has come through that win well and he and training partner Corrina McDougal are now contemplating starting the horse in the $50,000 Waikato Hurdles (3200m) on August 8.

   “We have also got No Change aimed for that race so I’m not sure, at this stage, whether we will line them both up. There are still plenty of other good jumping races coming up.”

   Revolution is owned by Paul Nelson and his wife Carol and they bred him out of the Gold Brose mare Kettle Hill.

   The grey won two races on the flat before reverting to jumping and has now had six hurdle starts for two wins and a third.

   Meanwhile Peso, also owned by Paul and Carol Nelson, has been temporarily transferred to the Australian stable of successful jumps jockey Richard Cully at Ballarat.

   The Colombia eight-year-old, who is the winner of seven races on the flat and was runner-up in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2100m) at Hastings last October, crossed the Tasman last month and had his first start from his new base when finishing a distant last over 1700m at Caulfield on July 11.

   “He was found to be suffering from a minor virus after that race but seems to be almost over it now,” Nelson said.

   “We knew he wasn’t right because the run just wasn’t like him. He always tries so hard.

   “We sent him over there because there are plenty of good staying races on the flat for horses like him. It is not intended to jump him over there but there is a chance he might.”  

Top jumps jockey Aaron Kuru urges Revolution across the line to win the main hurdle race at Te Rapa last Saturday. It was the Hastings-trained grey’s second success from six jumping starts.


Big entries expected for HB races

   Hawke’s Bay Racing could have as many as 12 races when it stages an extra race day this season on the Hastings track next Wednesday, July 29.

   Initially a 10-race programme was scheduled but such is the large number of horses available it is envisaged nominations will be huge, especially if the track provides reasonably good winter footing.

    All the races will be $15,000 flat events and there will be no nomination or acceptance fees charged to owners.

   There will be free admission and free access to the Members Stand.

   There will be two-year-old races over 800m, maiden races at 1400, 1650 and 2100m and Rating 65 races at 1300m, 1650m and 2100m.


Stakes levels unchanged

   New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced that stakes levels for the 2020/21 racing season will return to those in the 2019/20 season pre-Covid.

   “It is our intention that stakes levels will remain consistent with the pre-Covid levels, however we need to be aware that we continue to operate in an uncertain environment,” NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said.

   “As an industry we need to be cognizant of the continuing uncertainties that Covid-19 has brought about and be nimble enough to make adjustments if required.

   “As a code we will work closely with the TAB to address any variations that may occur during the upcoming season. At the same time though, we need to provide encouragement for our owners, and we will be continuing with two initiatives introduced during our return to racing period in the new season.”

   NZTR introduced payment back to 14th place and no nomination or acceptance fees for those horses that have started since the return of New Zealand gallops racing, as an acknowledgement of the difficult times experienced by owners during the lockdown period. Both will continue from August 1.

  On the programming front, August and September will see the return of maiden, three-year-old and Rating 65 races. Programmes will still include Open Entry races to maximize opportunities for horses, however this will be reviewed throughout that period.

Hawkes Bay Racing Column 17 Jul 2020

Talented pair aimed at HB spring features

(By John Jenkins)

   Two of last year’s star gallopers from the Matamata stable of Ken and Bev Kelso have been earmarked for early Group 1 races at this year’s Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival before both are retired to stud.

   Princess Kereru and Supera, who have both performed creditably at Group 1 level, have been back in work for some time and Ken Kelso said plans are to give them a trial at Taupo on August 12 before kicking off their final campaigns in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on September 5.

   “Princess Kereru will then head to the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy on the first day at Hastings while Supera will miss that one in favour of the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on the second day,” Kelso said.

   Both mares will be mated during the spring but will, hopefully, be able to race on until the early summer.

   Kelso said he hoped to get Princess Kereru through to the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day for her final race while Supera’s swansong is likely to be the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

   Princess Kereru boasts a record of seven wins, six seconds and four thirds from 29 starts. She won the Group 3 Waikato Stud Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie and the Listed NZB Finance Sprint (1200m) at Hastings last year and also finished a close second to Santa Monica in the Group 1 Sistema Railway Sprint (1200m).

   Supera has had 18 starts for eight wins, three seconds and two thirds. Her victories last year included the Group 3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham, the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa and the Group 2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m). She also finished third in the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie in March of this year.

Supera pictured winning last year’s Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa. She is being aimed for the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, on October 3.

Johnson branches out on his own

   Dylan Johnson, who has played a major role in promoting one of Hawke’s Bay Racing’s major sponsors in Westbury Stud, is establishing his own bloodstock consultancy but will be retained as the sales agent for the stud.

   Johnson has established himself as a popular and respected figure in the industry since joining the Gerry Harvey owned breeding operation in 2016. 

   In his position as the farm’s Business Development Manager he has played a key role in the development of the farm’s stallion ranks, with the successful launch of exciting stallions Tarzino and Telperion being central to his achievements.

   Westbury Stud has been one of Hawke’s Bay Racing’s major sponsors since 2011 when they took over the sponsorship of the Group 1 race on the first day of the spring carnival. It was called the Makfi Challenge Stakes until 2017 when, after that shuttle stallion was no longer returning to New Zealand, it was changed to the Tarzino Trophy in honour of the stud’s current resident stallion.

   The weight-for-age 1400m event will be run at Hastings on September 19 this year.

   “Operating my own business allows me the opportunity to form a wider scope, focusing on different aspects of the industry,” Johnson said.

   “I have a long-held passion for the sport of racing and I am excited at the prospect of being able to work with a different group of clients who have a large emphasis on their racing and trade stock.”

   The move will see Johnson remain with Westbury Stud as their dedicated sales agent, focusing on stallion nominations throughout the breeding season and representing the stud at the annual yearling sales.

   “I am incredibly grateful to Russell Warwick, Gerry Harvey and the team at Westbury Stud for providing me with the platform to launch this new venture,” Johnson said.

   “I have tremendous belief in the stallion roster at Westbury Stud and the opportunity to remain involved in what promises to be an exciting period for the farm is a real privilege.”

   Westbury Stud’s General Manager Russell Warwick was pleased to be able to support Johnson’s transition.

   “Dylan has developed an excellent rapport with a number of our clients over the past three years and the timing is perfect for him to branch out into a more independent role within the industry, yet still retaining his relationship with Westbury and our ongoing business,” Warwick said.

   “In many ways, nothing has changed, and we look forward to Dylan continuing to promote the Westbury business while he forges new relationships with varied roles in the thoroughbred industry under his Dylan Johnson Bloodstock title.”

Dylan Johnson branching out as a bloodstock consultant.


Hong Kong winner for HB-based sire

   Rock ‘N’ Pop, who stood his first season at Hawke’s Bay’s Okawa Stud last season, was represented with a winner in Hong Kong last Sunday when Super Oasis took out a 1400m race at Shatin.

   Super Oasis had previously raced as Surely Sacred in New Zealand, where he had six starts for three wins, a second and two fifths.

   His wins included the Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Group 2 Avondale Guineas (1600m) before he went to Australia and finished third behind Angel of Truth and Madison County in last year’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).

   Rock ‘N’ Pop is a son of Fastnet Rock out of the Group 1 New Zealand Derby winner Popsy and was bred by Hawke’s Bay’s Sam Kelt. He was sold at the 2010 Karaka premier sale for $1million and went on to be a Group 1 winner himself, taking out the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton as a three-year-old. He also finished second to Silent Achiever in that season's Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and was third in the Group 1 International Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.

   "We will be standing him at a fee of $2000 plus GST and if breeders want to send two mares, and they both get in foal, we will only charge $1000 plus GST for each one," Lowry said. He added that there is no live foal guarantee.

   Formerly standing at Waikato Stud, Rock ‘N’ Pop has shown versatility in his progeny from notable five-time winner sprinter Rock ‘n’ Affair to Derby placed Surely Sacred and The Lord Mayor, who is the winner of seven races up to 2400m.

   Rock ‘N’ Pop is enjoying his new surroundings at the historical Okawa Stud, established by the Lowry family in the early part of last century and now operated by a third generation of Tom Lowrys.

   He stands at a fee of $2000 plus GST.


Jones bags six wins in short time

   Promising young apprentice rider Callum Jones is making every post a winner in the early stages of his career, chalking up six winners in less than a month.

   Jones, who is attached to the Pukekohe stable of former top jockey Nigel Tiley, scored aboard two horses prepared by his boss, in Diogenes and Double Happy, on his first official day of race riding on June 20.

   The same combination was to the fore at Ellerslie last Saturday where Jones guided Macushla and Gorgeous Geisha to victory in consecutive races for his boss before adding a third aboard the Tiley-trained Lupelani.

   They were at it again at Wednesday’s Counties meeting at Pukekohe where Jones posted another win aboard Diogenes in a Rating 65 race over 1300m.

   The winning treble at Ellerslie last Saturday provided Jones with a perfect early birthday present as he turned 18 the following day.

   Tiley has the upmost respect for his young prodigy, saying he is a good kid who listens really well and is keen to learn.

   “He soaks up information and has the talent to go out and use it when required,” Tiley said.

   Tiley was pleased with Jones’ effort aboard Macushla, who got back beyond midfield from an awkward barrier in an 880m maiden, before storming home wide out to break through for a maiden win at just her second start.

   “Callum came back in and said she got back a bit further than he wanted but she was travelling easily enough,” Tiley said.

   “He didn’t want to push her hard around the corner so that shows he is thinking about what he is doing.”

Hastings Trackwork 14 Jul 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   A promising Swiss Ace two-year-old in the Lowry/Cullen stable worked keenly over 800 metres at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was little in the way of fast work, which was confined to the plough (heavy).

   The Swiss Ace-Midnight Molly two-year-old gelding ran a solo 800m in 52.5, running the first 200m in 13.4 before coming home the last 600 in 39.1. She won a 1000m jumpout at Hastings earlier this month and will have a run at the Foxton trials this Thursday.

   A Shamoline Warrior three-year-old gelding was another who worked well this morning when sent over two 600m runs on the plough. He ran the first one in an easy 44.5 but then quickened when running the second one in 38.9. He is trained by Fred Pratt and was also a winner at the last lot of Hastings jumpouts.

   Sheezacatch and Bellesgirl, two others from the Lowry/Cullen stable, were not hurried when running 800m together in 55.3, the last 600 in 40.2 while Tuigirl finished off her work with a good 600m in 39.8.

   Alpine Charm worked in at three-quarter pace from the 800m peg and quickened slightly over the last 600 in 40.8 while Mohaka was never going faster than three-quarter pace over 800m, the last 600 taking 45.1.

   A Per Incanto five-year-old mare in the Lowry/Cullen stable also worked over 800m at three-quarter pace, clocking 44.3 for the last 600 metres while stablemates Atlanta Peach, Can I Get An Amen and a Zed three-year-old gelding were given similar workouts.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 13 Jul 2020

Racing returns to Hastings track on July 29

(By John Jenkins)

   Hawke’s Bay racing fans will be able to enjoy a long awaited day at the races on the Hastings track this month.

   Racing will return to Hastings on Wednesday July 29 after Hawke’s Bay Racing was granted an additional race day for the current racing season, which ends on July 31.

    It is one of three meetings added to the calendar for July 2020, the others being at Phar Lap Raceway in Timaru on July 19 and Avondale on Wednesday, July 22.

   Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive Darin Balcombe has welcomed the new date, saying the club had been lobbying for an extra race day since it became apparent there were a huge number of horses ready to race but an obvious lack of race day opportunities.

   There were more than 220 nominations for a 12 race programme at Wanganui yesterday and there were also huge nominations for today’s two gallops meetings, at Ellerslie and Riccarton Park.

   Balcombe said the new race day will comprise of solely flat races but will be slightly changed from the format that has been in place for New Zealand gallops meetings since the resumption at the end of June.

   Whereas every race programmed then was an Open event where maidens had to compete with race winners, the criteria has now changed with maidens and two-year-olds having their own specific races.

   “There will be a two-year-old race over 800 metres and maidens at 1400, 1650 and 2100,” Balcombe said.

   “The others will be Rating 65 Benchmark races run over 1300, 1650 and 2100 metres.”

   All races will be run for a stake of $15,000 and there will be no nomination or acceptance fees charged to the racehorse owners.    

   The running rail at the Hastings track will be moved out seven metres from the true position, which will restrict the number of starters at some of the starting points.

   The last race meeting run on the Hastings track was the Lowland Stakes meeting on February 26. Since then a further five meetings were scheduled to be run on the Hastings track but didn’t eventuate due to the Covid-19 crisis.

   The three day Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival has been confirmed for the new racing season but will be staged later than in previous years.

   The first day will now be on Saturday, September 19 with the second day on Saturday, October 3 and the final day on Saturday, October 17.


Poverty Bay joins forces with HB Racing

   The Poverty Bay Turf Club has finalised an agreement with Hawke’s Bay Racing that will hopefully sustain the club’s racing future.

   The long standing club, which dates back to 1870, is financially buoyant but has been reduced to just one race day a year in recent times and has not been granted a licence for the coming season as part of the cutbacks made by the Racing Industry Transition Agency, otherwise known as the TAB.

   President Rod Young said this week the Poverty Bay Turf Club wants to continue but has to face the reality of no longer being able to race on its home track in Gisborne.

   So it is prepared to invest money into Hawke’s Bay Racing with the hopes that it may be viable to stage its own race day on the Hastings track in the future.

   In the interim the Poverty Bay Gold Cup will now be run at Hastings on the same day that Hawke’s Bay racing stages one of its iconic races, the Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup. That will be on April 17 next year.

   The Poverty Bay Gold Cup will be run as a Rating 72 race that day over 2500m and, although total prizemoney has yet to be confirmed, the club would look at increasing the stake above the minimum levels.

   Young said it costs the Poverty Bay Turf Club around $100,000 to run its annual race meeting at Gisborne, which was held in February this year and drew a crowd of around 3000.

   “We might as well give that money to Hawke’s Bay Racing, who is our neighbour, and help promote racing in the area generally,” he said.

   The Poverty Bay Turf Club is very financially sound, with Young saying the club has about $1.8million invested. But its race meetings have suffered in recent years because Gisborne is out on a limb and many kilometres away from the general horse population.

   It’s February date has served as a lead up to the two day Wairoa meeting in recent years but less than 80 horses were entered for this year’s meeting and more than 30 per cent of them were from one stable, Team Rogerson from Hamilton.

   The club has paid out travel subsidy incentives to try and get horses to their race meetings but now realise that things are on a downward spiral and it is better to look at other options.

   That decision was made easier when the Wairoa Racing Club was also denied a racing licence for the coming season, meaning it’s two-day meeting in February will not be able to be staged on the Wairoa track.

   Rod Young said the Poverty Bay Turf Club was offered a couple of present Hastings race dates to stage a stand alone meeting there but have decided to concentrate on running their feature race on one of Hawke’s Bay Racing’s major race days for the coming season at least.

   “At this stage we might as well support a bigger race day at Hastings than run an industry day that might not get that well supported,” Young said.

   “Some of our members were frightened of losing our identity but, on the other hand, it will prove a huge saving for the club.”

   The Poverty Bay Turf Club leases the land that the racecourse is on at Makaraka and Young says that, once that lease expires, there will be more huge savings for the club.

   “We won’t have to pay a lease of $40,000 a year and we won’t have to pay insurance of $12,000 and about $25,000 to get the racecourse up to scratch for the one race meeting a year,” Young added. 

   He said that a local Gisborne social club is likely to put on a bus that will have up to 40 people on board heading to Hastings for the race day in April and, if another Hawke’s Bay sporting event can be worked around that date, a number of other Gisborne people could also be keen to travel down for the weekend.

The grandstand and birdcage area that has been the home of the Poverty Bay Turf Club since the 1880s. The club staged its final race day on the Gisborne track on February 16 this year.

Winter Cup is back on

   The time-honoured Group 3 Winter Cup has been reinstated into the calendar for the new racing season and will be run at Riccarton Park on Saturday, August 15.

   The Grand National Festival of Racing in August was a casualty of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and when that decision was made there was little likelihood the Winter Cup would be run this winter.

   Race meetings in the June and July resumption phase had to be scheduled at racecourses wired with fibre optic cable and with Riccarton Park being one of only two such racecourses in the South Island that necessitated two of the three days of the Grand National Festival coming forward.

   However now that thoroughbred racing is up and running as from late June there is no reason not to run the Winter Cup.

   The race will be run over its traditional distance of 1600 metres with the stake to be confirmed when the NZTR funding policy is released.

   Hawke’s Bay celebrated success in last year’s Winter Cup when Dez, trained and part-owned by Waipukurau’s Simon Wilson, took out the $100,000 event.   

   Usually early entries are taken for the Winter Cup but that will not be the case this year and entries will close with the other races on the programme on Tuesday, August 11.


Dee has broken collarbone

   Former Hastings-based jockey Michael Dee expects to be out of action for at least six weeks after breaking a collarbone in a fall at Pakenham, in Victoria, last Sunday.

   The 24-year-old won the fifth race, aboard Heroic Fighter, on the synthetic track at Pakenham but was injured when his mount fell on pulling up after the race.

   He was taken to Dandenong Hospital and underwent surgery on Tuesday.

   “It’s broken in two places and sort of facing the wrong way,” Dee said before being operated on.

   Dee, who started out working in the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable at Hastings before a stint with Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers, left for Australia in early 2015 where he completed his apprenticeship with Caulfield trainer Mick Price.

   He is a son of former New Zealand trainer Richard Dee, who is now a stock agent based in Hawke’s Bay.

   He has ridden 76 winners this season, the highlight being his Group 1 success on Alabama Express in the C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in February.

Hastings Trackwork 7 Jul 2020


(By John Jenkins)

   Class winter galloper Dez hit out well in a solo gallop at Hastings today and could make a return to the racetrack at Wanganui this Friday.

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

   Dez had trainer Simon Wilson aboard and worked in at half-pace from the 1400m peg before clapping on the speed over the last 600 in 37.2.

   The Zed eight-year-old, winner of the Group 3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton last August, has had the benefit of a couple of jumpouts to help prepare him for a return to racing. He finished second to Estefania in a 1200m jumpout at Hastings last Friday and will be entered for the Open 1600m race at Wanganui.

   Estefania is also likely to resume racing at Wanganui on Friday and this morning she was assigned to two rounds of pacework on the plough, quickening to three-quarter pace over the last 600m.

   No Rock No Pop, one of two horses trainer Lee Somervell will enter for Friday’s Wanganui meeting, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m peg in 1:11.1, quickening over the last 600m in 40.8. She is a two-year-old by Rock ‘N’ Pop who won a 1000m jumpout at Hastings last Friday.

   Atlanta Peach, back in full work again for the Lowry/Cullen stable, worked quietly over 800m in 60.1, the last 600 in 45. She looks to have done well during a spell.

   Mohaka, another from the Lowry/Cullen stable who looks to be coming up well, ended her work with an easy 600m in 46 while stablemate Can I Get An Amen recorded 44.8 for a similar workout.

   Matt Kain, who will be entered for the Open 1200 at Wanganui on Friday, ran a solo 1000m in 1:10.4, the last 600 in 40.8. He finished seventh when resuming from a spell over 1000m at Awapuni on Saturday.

   Krystal Lass, another from the Somervell stable who will be entered for Friday’s Wanganui meeting, was not hurried when running 1000m on her own in 1:15, the last 600 in 43.2. She is a three-year-old filly by Sun Ruler and also won a 1000m heat at last Friday’s Hastings jumpouts.

   Alpine Charm work in at three-quarter pace from the 800m and was timed to run the last 600 in 43.7 while stablemate Tuigirl was given a similar workout and recorded 45.8 for the last 600m.

   Pas de Geant clocked 56.2 for 800m, the last 600 in 40.5 while Sheezacatch ran over the same ground in 56.9, the last 600 in 42.7.

   An Ocean Park three-year-old gelding in the Lowry/Cullen stable and a Prince Conti three-year-old filly clocked 54.9 for 800m, the last 600 in 42.5.

Hastings Jumpouts 3 Jul 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Estefania, a likely starter at Wanganui next Friday, showed she is ready to go a bold race fresh up by easily winning a 1200m jumpout at Hastings today.

   There were eight heats run on a heavy course proper, with the markers out 15 metres from the inside rail.

   Estefania contested the only 1200m heat and scored a two length win over the Group race winner Dez, with four lengths back to the third horse.

   Estefania is a proven wet track performer, with her last success being over 1600m on a heavy track at Otaki in July last year. She hasn’t raced for almost nine months but owner-trainer Richard McKenzie has given her a good build up in preparation for her resuming run.

   No Rock No Pop, another who could start at Wanganui next Friday, was another good winner at today’s jumpouts while The Cossack, who is now in the Nelson/McDougal stable and being prepared for a jumping campaign, was a decisive winner of the only 2000m heat.



Heat 1, 780m: Jakkalberry 2yr-old gelding (L Hemi) 1, Rip Van Winkle-Moonlighter 2yr-old filly 2, Nadeem 2yr-old filly 3. Five starters. Margins: Head, 1 length. Time: 51.8s. Winner trained by Kate Hercock, Hastings.

Heat 2, 780m: Pure Champion 2yr-old filly (T Allan) 1, Darci Brahma 2yr-old gelding 2, Ohiti Lass 3. Five starters. Margins: 1 length, 2 lengths. Time: 50.3. Winner trained by Mick Brown & Sue Thompson, Hastings.

Heat 3, 780m: Shamoline Warrior 3yr-old gelding (Z Thomson) 1, Resurrect 2, Atlante 3yr-old filly 3. Five starters. Margins: Neck, 1 length. Time: 49.7s.

Heat 4, 1000m: Swiss Ace-Midnight Molly 2yr-old gelding (J Bassett) 1, Super Easy 3yr-old filly 2, Prince Conti 4yr-old gelding 3. Six starters. Margins: Long head, 2 lengths. Time: 1:09.7. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: No Rock No Pop (L Hemi) 1, Jakkalberry 3yr-old gelding 2, Cyndy Wink 3. Five starters. Margins: 1-1/4 lengths, 2-1/4 lengths. Time: 1:08.7. Winner trained by Lee Somervell, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: Krystal Lass (L Hemi) 1, Free Thyme 2, Iffraaj 3yr-old filly 3. Five starters. Margins: Nose, 1-3/4 lengths. No time taken. Winner trained by Lee Somervell, Hastings.

Heat 7, 1200m: Estefania (J Bassett) 1, Dez 2, Ferlax 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: 2 lengths, 4 lengths. Time: 1:21.7. Winner trained by Richard McKenzie, Hastings.

Heat 8, 2000m: The Cossack (L Hemi) 1, Raucus 2, The Anarchist 3. Six starters. Margins: 1-3/4 lengths, 6 lengths. Time: 2: 35.2. Winner trained by Paul Nelson & Corrina McDougal, Hastings.

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