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Atlanta Peach and Mohaka, two horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable expected to start at Taupo next Wednesday, worked well together in a reasonably quiet track session at Hastings today.

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

   Atlanta Peach and Mohaka worked in from the 1000m peg in 1:7.7, running the first 200 in a leisurely 29.4 before quickening over the last 600 in 38.3. Both horses looked to have plenty in reserve at the finish. They have both been freshened and are likely to be race-rivals in the Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo.

   Riva Capri and Pinotage, two others from the Lowry/Cullen stable, also worked in from the 1000m peg and were not extended when running their last 800m in 54.4, the final 600 in 39. Riva Capri, who recorded a good second on debut at Hastings last month, is likely to contest the three-year-old race over 1100m at Taupo.

   A Niagara-Devine Missem three-year-old filly and one by Bullet Train were not hurried when running 800m in 59.8, the last 600 in 43.6 while Allacciato finished off her work with an easy 600m in 44.6.

HB couple rejoice after Grand National success 15 Aug 2019

Former All Black Mick Duncan celebrated his biggest moment in racing when Alfie Dee prevailed in a hugely intense finish to the 130th running of the $75,000 Grand National Hurdles at Riccarton on Wednesday of last week.

   Alfie Dee had led for almost the entire 4200m of the feature and, under desperate riding from jockey Buddy Lammas, managed to get in the deciding stride to win by a nose from Bad Boy Brown, ridden by Shaun Phelan.

   The two horses had gone stride for stride over the last 300m and, just as Bad Boy Brown looked likely to get his head in front, Alfie Dee pulled out extra reserves to get the decision right on the line.

   Lammas was elated with the win and said his strategy all along was to get to the lead. 

   “My whole game plan was to get to the front. I was going to aim for the front down the home straight on the first lap, but I got there sooner. 

   “He was just happy cruising and pricked his ears. I just kept him in a happy spot. When he wanted to get a bit quicker I let him roll a bit, then I eased him back. I gave him a couple of breathers.”

   Lammas thought he had been beaten on the line, but he was pleasantly surprised when he found out otherwise.

   “I thought he (Bad Boy Brown) got me on the line, but he just stuck his nose out and got the win,” he said.

   Hawke’s Bay-based Duncan and his wife Barbara bred Alfie Dee and have a 15 per cent ownership share in the Zed nine-year-old. The gelding was recording just his third win from 26 starts with his latest victory following a maiden hurdle success over 2750m at Awapuni on July 25.

   Mick Duncan played two tests for the All Blacks against the touring British Lions in 1971 and also played 83 games for Hawke’s Bay, when he was a prolific try scoring wing during the province’s Ranfurly Shield era of the late 1960s.

   Both he and his wife were on course to witness Alfie Dee’s outstanding win last week which he described as “a marvellous experience.”

   “It was great. To have bred the horse and been a part of it all the way through is really something,” he said.

   Alfie Dee is trained by Hunterville-based Ken Duncan, who is no relation to Mick but has been instrumental in taking the horse from a maiden winner over 1600m at Woodville in October 2016 to now be a Grand National victor.

   “Ken has done a great job with the horse,” Mick Duncan said this week.

   “He’s a horse that has had a couple of issues over the years, but he has got him right.

   “He did a tendon and was off the scene for 12 months and was being a pain in the paddock at home so we put him back into work and then he had a bit of a cough.

   “Ken rang me last week and told me the horse was pretty right and said you better get down here to Christchurch so we went and it was amazing to be there.”

   Mick Duncan bred Alfie Dee out of the Victory Dance mare Isadora and said the initial plan was to give him a brief campaign on the flat before turning him into a jumper. But when the horse won his Woodville maiden on debut it was decided to continue racing him on the flat and he recorded a further five seconds and two thirds as well as contesting last year’s Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m).

   Alfie Dee finished fifth in his hurdle debut over 2760m at Ellerslie on June 3 before a sixth in the Awapuni Hurdles (2900m). He was then pulled up when struggling on an extremely heavy track at Trentham last month before his maiden hurdle victory at Awapuni on July 25.

   Ken Duncan has trained Alfie Dee for the past three years after he initially spent some time with Donna Beck at Levin and then Dean Cunningham at Hunterville.

   Ken Duncan is a very good conditioner of jumpers. He prepared Wee Biskit to win the 2013 Great Northern Hurdles as well as back-to-back Wellington Hurdles and Shamal to win last year’s Grand National Steeplechase and this year’s Waikato Steeples.

   Alfie Dee is now likely to be aimed at the $125,000 Great Northern Hurdles (4190m) at Ellerslie on September 7.

   He is the last living foal out of the now deceased mare Isadora, who won one race for the Duncans when trained at Waipukurau by Penny Ebbett.

   The Duncans also share in the ownership of Fort Knox, who has been the winner of one race from the Te Awamutu stable of Richard Sherwin and they have an unraced two-year-old by Giant Steps out of an Ekraar mare in the same stable.


Stars to do battle in Tarzino Trophy

   Last year’s winner Melody Belle will head another star-studded line up for the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy, feature race on the first day of the Bostock Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival on August 31.

   Trainer Jamie Richards has said the Commands mare, rated hot favourite to claim the New Zealand Horse of the Year title after five Group 1 wins last season, will kick off a fresh campaign in tomorrow’s Group 2 $100,000 US Navy Flag Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa and then target the three Group 1 features over the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

   The second of those is the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 21 with the $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) being the carnival high point on October 5.

   Melody Belle, in the hands of Singapore-born jockey Shafiq Rusof, took out last year’s Tarzino Trophy by half a length from Hiflyer, with Our Abbadean a long neck back in third. The outstanding mare then went on to take out the Windsor Park Plate on the middle day but bypassed the Livamol on the final day.

   Other Group 1 winners nominated for this year’s Tarzino Trophy are Danzdanzdance, Shadows Cast, Santa Monica and Avantage while there is also plenty of interest in the nomination of Australian-trained and multiple Group race winner Cliff’s Edge.

The full list of nominations for the Tarzino Trophy is.-

Melody Belle


Shadows Cast

Santa Monica


Endless Drama

Cliff’s Edge

Te Akau Shark



Contessa Vanessa

Sleeping Beauty

He Kin Fly

Dark Princess

The Bandito

Helena Baby



Seventh Up

More Wonder


Battle Time

Irish Flame


Atlanta Peach



Nisbett & Smith special guests

   Hawke’s Bay Racing is excited to announce that two legends of New Zealand broadcasting will attend Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil race day at Hastings on Saturday August 31.

   SKY Sport commentators Grant Nisbett and Ian Smith have taken time away from Mitre 10 Cup duties to step in as guest presenters for TAB Trackside.

   This year’s event is a celebration of ‘Rugby, Racing and Volunteers’ to raise money for the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society.

   “Their involvement in the day certainly creates another talking point and underlines what an important cause it is we are raising money for,” Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive Andrew Castles said.

   Smith will provide his infamous ‘pitch report’ reviewing conditions on track before the commencement of the days racing, then the pair will replace regular presenters Brendan Popplewell and Bevan Sweeney and preview the El Roca Sir Colin Meads Trophy.

   “They both have a real interest in and passion for thoroughbred racing so I’m sure they will transfer their world class broadcasting skills to their preview of the El Roca Sir Colin Meads trophy,” Castles said.

   Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil Raceday is the opening day of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Carnival.

   Admission on the day is by $5 donation to the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society.


HB/PB Awards night August 30 

   This year’s annual Bramwell Bate/VetsOne Hawke’s Bay & Poverty Bay Racing Awards function will be held at the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse on Friday, August 30.

   Hosted by the Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay Breeders and Owners Associations, in conjunction with Hawke’s Bay Racing, the function recognises the achievements of the districts’ trainers, owners and horses during the past racing season.

   The function will begin at 6.30pm and tickets can be purchased, at a price of $85/head, from the Hawke’s Bay Racing office.

   The awards being presented are.-

  • Jimmy Choux Three-year-old of the Year for the highest earning three-year-old bred by a HB/PB breeder.
  • HB/PB Owner of the Year on a points basis.
  • HB/PB Trainer of the Year on wins.
  • HB/PB Trainer of the year on winning strike-rate.
  • HB/PB Breeder with the most wins by progeny bred.
  • HB/PB Breeder of the Year on points, based on the performances of progeny bred.
  • HB/PB Trained Horse of the Year for a horse trained in district that won the most stake money.
  • HB/PB Owned Horse of the Year for a horse owned in the district based on their performances in black type races.
  • HB/PB Broodmare of the Year for the mare owned in the district whose progeny recorded the most success at black type level.
  • Group & Listed awards to the breeders of horses that won black type races.
  • Horlicks Salver award for significant contribution to racing and breeding in the district.



Promising HB-bred winner

   Hawke’s Bay-bred Shelly’s Lass scored an impressive fresh up maiden win at last week’s Woodville meeting.

   The Niagara four-year-old was bred by Pourerere’s Sue Harty, who sold the mare to Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin when she was a yearling and he then set up a syndicate to race her.

   Shelly’s Lass was resuming from a spell when she scored a length win over Greystone in the 1300m Woodville event but indicated she was ready to produce a big performance after finishing second in an 850m Foxton trial at the end of last month.

   She also showed potential in three starts last season, one of them resulting in a second over 1400m at Wairoa in February.

   Shelly’s Lass is out of the Paris Opera mare Sea Shells, who has now ceased breeding.

   Harty, who has been a successful thoroughbred owner and breeder for many years, says she is now winding down her operation. However she does have a promising Per Incanto four-year-old called He’s Done A Runner in work with Mike Breslin and has the broodmare Surf Patrol, who was the winner of seven races, now in foal to Dalghar.



Last start winner Estefania, preparing for Saturday’s Otaki meeting, turned in one of the quickest 600m times at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Estefania worked early in the session and went half-pace for a round and a half before quickening over the last 600m in 37.5.

   Trainer Richard McKenzie said the Darci Brahma mare has trained on well since winning a Rating 65 grade race over 1600m at Otaki on July 27 and will steps up to a Rating 72 race over the same distance this Saturday. She seems to relish heavy tracks and is likely to strike favourable conditions again.

  Tuigirl, one of several horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable being prepared for next week’s Taupo meeting, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 800m peg and quickened slightly over the last 600 in 39.9. She hasn’t raced since finishing well back over 2040m at Wanganui on June 1, when unsuited by a heavy-11 track.

   A Fastnet Rock four-year-old gelding and one by Nom de Jeu, both trained by James Bridge, worked together over 800m in 53, the last 600 in 37.6.

  One Prize One Goal, who is likely to resume from a spell on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on August 31, was given an easy 800m workout in 54.8, the last 600 in 40.6 while his stablemate Stradivarius underwent similar work, clocking 53.5 and 39.1.

   Talenti and a Showcasing three-year-old filly, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, were restricted to not much more than three-quarter pace when running 800m in 56.5, the last 600 in 41.2 while Atlanta Peach clocked 58.8 for an easy 800m, the last 600 in 43.5. She is likely to race next in a Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo on Wednesday of next week.

   Mohaka, another likely starter in the Rating 72 race over 1200m at Taupo, was restricted to just pacework while Uncle Bro ran the last 600m of his work in 44.8.

   Riva Capri and Ruie’s Crumpet worked together over 800m at three-quarter pace, the last 600 in 44.4. Riva Capri finished second on debut in a two-year-old 800m race at Hastings on July 18 and is likely to contest the $25,000 three-year-old fillies’ race over 1100m at Taupo next week.

Dez makes up for unlucky third last year 9 Aug 2019

Waipukurau racehorse trainer Simon Wilson had trouble picking out his horse Dez during the running of last Saturday’s Group 3 Winter Cup at Riccarton due to being partially colour blind. But he and his partners were seeing dollar signs at the finish of the $100,000 feature.

   Aided by an outstanding ride from top South Island jockey Chris Johnson, Dez produced the best performance of his career to get up in the last stride to claim a head victory over Rosewood in the 1600m event, earning his connections $59,375 in stakemoney and a trophy.

  Under a typically patient Johnson ride, Dez settled nicely in midfield before driving through the middle of the pack as most runners went wide rounding the home turn.

   Rosewood, ridden by Lisa Allpress, looked to have established a winning break when clear inside the last 200m. But Johnson never gave up on Dez and managed to extract that little bit extra out of his mount.

   Dez, who is part-owned by Wilson along with close friends Sam Lennox (Waverley) and Paul Mitchell (Patea), had finished an unlucky third in the same race 12 months ago and his connections planned another attack this year. However, the horse looked a forlorn chance to even make the trip south after a run of poor form saw him beat just four horses home in his first three starts this campaign.

   The Zed eight-year-old showed a lot more zest when winning a 1000m jumpout at Hastings on July 19 and Wilson decided to make a couple of gear changes when the gelding lined up over 1600m at Otaki a fortnight ago, removing the blinkers and adding a tongue-tie.

   Dez bounced back to form by winning that Otaki Rating 82 race, lumping 60.5kg in the process, and dropped to a luxury weight of only 53kg at Riccarton last Saturday.

   “We’ve had a few problems, but we sorted them out and he has definitely hit top form at the right time,” Wilson said after Saturday’s win.

   “Being by Zed we knew he would handle the conditions and he had a great rider on board.

   “I actually can’t see that well as I’m a little bit colour blind but when he turned in it looked like he was coming through with a good run and it was a fantastic ride by Chris.”

   Johnson was typically nonchalant as he described Dez’s performance in a race that he last won back in 1991 aboard Robyn’s Affair.

   “He travelled nice in the race although when we moved into second halfway down, he was flat out,” he said.

   “The second horse (Rosewood) kept kicking and he (Dez) just lifted that last bit.

   “I wasn’t sure if we had got up as I’ve had a run of seconds and thought I was second again.”

   It was win number seven for Dez from only 17 starts. He spent two and a half years side-lined with tendon issues after winning two of his first three starts back in 2015.

   The horse will now back up in tomorrow’s $40,000 Christchurch Casino Winter Classic (1800m) on the last day of the Grand National meeting at Riccarton, a race he won last year.


Kuru’s week to remember

   Hastings-born jumps jockey Aaron Kuru has certainly experienced the highs and lows of racing in the past week.

   Kuru, 27, went to last Saturday’s first day of the Grand National meeting at Riccarton thinking he had a good chance of landing both feature jumping events, the Sydenham Hurdles on No Change and the Koral Steeplechase aboard Des de Jeu.

   However, as luck would have it, No Change fell at the third last fence and Des De Jeu crashed at the last, meaning Kuru was twice left sprawling on the Riccarton turf.

   Fortunately, he escaped injury in the two falls and boarded a flight from Christchurch to Melbourne on Saturday evening, along with fellow jumps jockeys Shaun Phelan, Emily Farr and Buddy Lammas, to compete at Sunday’s Sandown meeting.

   Kuru already had a ride in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown and got the call up to replace Mathew Gillies aboard Teddy Twinkletoe in the $272,000 Australian Grand National Hurdle after the latter was stood down following a heavy fall from El Fernando in the maiden steeplechase at Riccarton on Saturday.

   Kuru was only too happy to take the ride on Teddy Twinkletoe and duly rewarded the nine-year-old gelding’s connections when scoring a 4-3/4 length win in the 4200m feature.

   Kuru was delighted to pick up the biggest win of his career, but had mixed feelings given the circumstances around attaining the ride.

   “I was lucky enough to get on for this ride,” he said. “It was unfortunate for Matt Gillies back home, I do feel for him, but I am very happy. I picked up a very nice ride and I am glad we delivered.”

   While officially trained by Paddy Payne, Tallyho Twinkletoe had been prepared in New Zealand by Wanganui horseman Kevin Myers up until just days before last Saturday’s race.

   Kuru, who began his career working out of the Hastings stable of Patrick Campbell and then John Bary before moving to Cambridge, was delighted that the win came aboard a New Zealand horse and he is hoping for more future success in Australia.

   He returned to Christchurch for Wednesday’s second day of the Grand National carnival and immediately struck again with a polished winning performance aboard Resolution in race one, the maiden hurdle over 3100m.

   Revolution, trained by the Hastings partnership of Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal, took out the 3100m event by 14-1/2 lengths. He raced a bit keenly in second place in the early stages, so Kuru let him roll to the front with 2000m to run quickly opened up a winning break.

  The grey rounded the home bend with a six length buffer on the field and had no trouble extending that margin with excellent leaps over the last two fences.

   “It wasn’t an easy ride on my behalf because he was pulling quite hard, but Paul Nelson gets his horses fit and he was able to get he job done,” Kuru said after the race.

   “He’s a horse that has a big future if he can only learn to relax a bit more in the running and not pull so hard.”  

   Revolution is owned by Paul Nelson and his wife Carol and they bred the nine-year-old Guillotine gelding out of the Gold Brose mare Kettle Hill, who was the winner of one race.


Bary top HB trainer

   John Bary has earned bragging rights over the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen after beating them by one win in last season’s New Zealand trainers’ premiership.

   The two stables have had a personal battle over the past few years for the title of leading Hawke’s Bay trainer for the season and this year it came right down to the wire. They were locked on 25 wins apiece until Bary edged ahead when saddling up Callsign Mav to win at Hastings on July 18.

   Bary finished 19th on last season’s national trainers’ premiership with 26 wins, 17 seconds and 14 thirds from 173 starters. He produced two stakes winners and had an overall winning strike-rate of 6.65.

   The Lowry/Cullen stable finished 22nd on the premiership with 25 wins, 19 seconds and 21 thirds from 182 starters. They had one stakes winner and an overall winning strike-rate of 7.28.


King Louis now in Australia 

   Talented Hawke’s Bay owned four-year-old King Louis, one of two stakes winners last season for Hastings trainer John Bary, will do his future racing in Australia.

   Owners Richard and Liz Wood have transferred the Equiano gelding to the Ballarat stable of Simon Morrish, a move that Bary described as completely understandable.

   “While it’s always a shame to see a nice horse leave the barn, Richard has made a business decision and is doing the right thing by the horse,” Bary said.

   “He’s a four-year-old now who will have the chance to compete for and win some decent prize money over there, which is not the case here under the present circumstances.”

   Richard and Liz Wood share in the ownership of Chouxting The Mob, who has won seven races in the care of Simon Morrish, including four in a row during May and June this year. They also have other horses in the John Bary stable including promising three-year-old The Fugitive, who finished a close second in an open 750m heat at last Friday’s Hastings jumpouts.

   The son of Wanted won nicely on debut, over 1100m, at Awapuni last season and has been back in work since June after spelling following an unplaced effort in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in March.

   “The Fugitive will be one of our main chances at the upcoming spring carnival here at home.

   “He will probably run on the first day in the El Roca - Sir Colin Meads Trophy (Listed, 1200m) and then on to the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Group 2, 1400m) on the last day.”

   Another of Bary’s winning two-year-olds from last season is Callsign Mav who is also being set for the Group 2 Sacred Fall Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) on October 5.



   Impressive wins by On Show, Heat Of Stone, Penny Royal and Charlie Zulu were among the highlights at today’s Hastings jumpouts.

   There were 11 heats run wide out on the course proper, where the footing was dead.

   On Show was hitting out freely at the finish when winning her 750m heat by half a length in a time of 48.2s. The Showcasing three-year-old filly is trained by John Bary and won well on debut over 1000m at Trentham in March. She was also a winner of a 750m heat at the last Hastings jumpouts, on July 19, and is to resume racing in the $25,000 three-year-old fillies’ race over 1100m at Taupo on August 21.

   Heart Of Stone, another from the John Bary stable, scored a comfortable length win in a 750m heat and clocked a quick 47.4s. She is a four-year-old mare by Swiss Ace who had three starts last season for a win, a second and a third.

   Penny Royal looked good when winning a 1000m heat by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:04.7. The Per Incanto mare recorded a third, a fourth and a fifth from four starts last season and has not raced since the Wairoa meeting in February.

   Charlie Zulu led all the way when winning his 1000m heat by 2-1/4 lengths and clocked 1:04.9. He was a maiden winner over 1200m at Waipukurau in March but then disappointed in three subsequent starts before being spelled.

  Among the minor placegetters who showed out at the jumpouts was Vinnie’s Volley, who was eased down over the final stages when finishing third in a 1000m heat. She is another from the John Bary stable likely to kick off a fresh campaign at this month’s Taupo meeting.



Heat 1, 400m: Raise The Flag 4yr-old gelding (K Hercock) 1, Power 2yr-old gelding 2. Two starters. Margin: Head. Time: 31.3s. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

Heat 2, 750m: Bullet Train 3yr-old filly (H Durrant) 1, Eleventh Hour 2, Manhattan Girl 3. Four starters. Margins: Long neck, ½ length. Time: 49.4s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Cinzento (Z Thomson) 1, Bella 2, Niagara-Divine Missem 3yr-old filly 3. Four starters. Margins: Long neck, 3 lengths. Time: 49.3s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 4, 750m: On Show (M Stowe) 1, Paris Couture 2, The Tailor’s Niece 3. Four starters. Margins: ½ length, 1 length. Time: 48.2s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 5, 750m: Stradivarius (L Hemi) 1, The Fugitive 2, Count Conti 3. Four starters. Margins: Head, 1 length. Time: 37.4s for last 600. Winner trained by Lee Somervell, Hastings.

Heat 6, 750m: Heart Of Stone (M Stowe) 1, One Prize One Goal 2, Miss Labasa 3. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, ¾ length. Time: 47.4s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 7, 1000m: Nom de Jeu 6yr-old gelding (K Hercock) 1, Sigourney Heights 2, Riva Capri 3. Four starters. Margins: Long neck, 2 lengths. Time: 1:06.1. Winner trained by Kate Hercock, Hastings.

Heat 8, 1000m: Pinotage (D Turner) 1, Rock ‘N’ Pop-Mink 4yr-old mare 2, Calvin 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 1-1/4 lengths. Time: 1:05.5. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 9, 1000m: Penny Royal (H Durrant) 1, Vannoss 2, Ocean Park-Janspur 3yr-old 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, 2 lengths. Time: 1:04.7. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 10, 1000m: Charlie Zulu (D Turner) 1, I’m Not Joking 2, Motivation 3. Four starters. Margins: 2-1/4 lengths, 3 lengths. Time: 1:04.9. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 11, 1000m: Pep Torque (L Hemi) 1, Allacciato 2, Vinnie’s Volley 3. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, 1 Length. Time: 1:04. Winner trained by Kirsty Lawrence, Waipukurau.


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