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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 28 Aug 2020

Wairoa agree to race at Hastings this season

(By John Jenkins)

   The Wairoa Racing Club will stage a one day race meeting on the Hastings track this season but is still hopeful of continuing to race on its home track at Te Kupenga in the future.

   President Paul Toothill said this week the club has agreed to take one of the Hawke’s Bay race dates, Sunday February 21, to stage a stand alone meeting for the Wairoa community.

   “Our preference is to race at Wairoa of course but we have been told by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing that we don’t have a licence to race here this season so we will have one day at Hastings,” Toothill said.

   “We have got to do something for our members and hold a race meeting but it is not ideal and, at this stage, it is only for this racing season.

   “It has now become locally political and we are still in the process of having a meeting with NZTR.”

   Toothill said his club members just want some firm answers from NZTR  going forward.

   “We are racing at Hastings this season but long term that is not for us. My heart is not for racing in Hastings,” Toothill added.

   The feature race at the Hastings meeting on February 21 will be the Wairoa Country Cup and Toothill said his club is confident the stake can be maintained at  $30,000, the same as it was when the Wairoa Cup was run on the home track back in February this year.

   “I haven’t discussed anything with our other sponsors yet and it is going to be hard to get them on board when we aren’t racing at Wairoa. But we will just have to see what happens.”

   He added that the club will be putting on buses to bring members down from Wairoa to Hastings for the February race day and is hopeful of a good attendance.

   The Wairoa Racing Club was formed in 1879 and has been one of the iconic country race meetings on the east coast of the North Island. It used to stage an annual three-day meeting in February but that was reduced to just two days, Thursday and Sunday, in recent years.

   The club farms the majority of the racecourse and Toothill says the club is still quite financial, relying on voluntary assistance from committee and community members to help run the race days.

   When Paul Toothill took over as president in 2006, the Wairoa Racing Club had just lost their race days to Gisborne, due to the facilities at its racecourse being deemed unfit for racing in 2005.

   “We spent a lot of money and got the place functional again,” says Paul. “We got the green light to race again in 2006 and have never looked back.”

   The Wairoa Racing Club prides itself as being one of the most hospitable clubs in the country and has regularly arranged several social gatherings throughout the four days surrounding its annual race meeting.

  Wairoa Racing Club president Paul Toothill is still hopeful races will again be run on the Te Kupenga track in the future.


The Cossack slays his rivals again

   Exciting Hawke’s Bay owned and trained jumper The Cossack produced another demolition job on his rivals when taking out a $15,000 restricted open hurdle at Te Aroha last Sunday.

   The Mastercraftsman seven-year-old scored by 19-1/2 lengths in the 3100m event and that followed a 20 length victory in a maiden hurdle on the same track earlier this month.

   The Cossack is trained at Hastings by Paul Nelson , who owns the gelding in partnership with well known Hawke’s Bay racing identities John Frizzell and Peter Grieve, along with Grieve’s son Doug.

   The quartet purchased The Cossack privately from Peter Grieve’s brother Ivan and Hastings trainer John Bary, who had prepared the horse to win two races on the flat.

   The Cossack had two hurdle starts last winter for two seconds but he looks to have gone to another level this time in, with his two impressive wins preceded by a fresh up second over hurdles at Te Rapa last month.

   Top jumps jockey Aaron Kuru got The Cossack to settle nicely midfield in the early stages of last Sunday’s race before letting him move forward to join the leaders with a round to go.

  They went clear of the opposition entering the last 700m and had a four length advantage rounding the home turn, with three fences left to jump.

   The Cossack did get in a bit close at the second to last fence but was clever enough to get over it safely and, after skipping over the last, he raced away to win untouched.


HB-bred New York Jazz in tune again

   Hawke’s Bay-bred and owned New York Jazz recorded his fourth win from 20 starts when getting in the deciding stride over London Express in a $30,000 Rating 90 race over 1200m at Matamata last Saturday.

   The five-year-old Niagara gelding was bred by the Hastings brothers Chris and Ken Russell and is still owned by Chris.

  He has leased the horse out to Te Awamutu trainer Stephen Ralph, who races him in partnership with members of the Sutton family from the Waikato.

   New York Jazz is the second foal produced by the Coats Choice mare Shesalljazz, who recorded five wins, three seconds and a third when trained at Hastings by Patrick Campbell.

   The first foal out of the mare was Nigella Jazz, also by Niagara, and she has won one race.

   “She then produced a nice filly by Reliable Man but we unfortunately lost her and the mare has now left a yearling filly by O’Reilly’s Choice,” Russell said.

   Shesalljazz is presently empty and Chris Russell is now deciding on what stallion to mate her with this year.


Melody Belle may contest HB classics

   There is an outside chance glamour racemare Melody Belle could contest the last two Group 1 races at this year’s Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   The six-year-old is booked on a flight home from Sydney tomorrow after finishing an inconclusive 11th out of 16 in last Saturday’s Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

   While that second-up run failed to provide a true guide as to how the Jamie Richards-trained mare has returned, the 34-strong syndicate that race the dual New Zealand Horse of the Year are keen to enjoy their pride and joy in the flesh as opposed to watching her on TV from afar.

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters own a 10 per cent share in Melody Belle, which is the biggest individual shareholding.

   Fortuna Syndications director John Galvin said, although Melody Belle has been unplaced in each of her two starts this campaign, both runs were satisfactory.

   “We actually think she’s going quite well, it’s just that her first-up run (when sixth in the Missile Stakes) was her standard first-up run and obviously she had no luck last Saturday,” he said.

   “She got into a nice spot and then one of the other horses, Con Te Partiro, came across her and she got shuffled back and then no gaps opened for her at any stage. But she was quite strong to the line.”

   The 10-time Group 1 winner was on a path towards the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, a race she won last year before finishing second in the Group[ 1 MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) but with the uncertainties around the Victorian Covid-19 outbreak, Melody Belle is now likely to race in New Zealand through the spring and summer.

   “She’s had seven runs over there without greeting the judge and our ownership team back here in New Zealand are quite frustrated because they can’t go to the races and there’s some nice targets for her here,” Calvin said.

   Group 1 races at Hastings, including the $250,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on October 3 and $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 17, could be considered for the mare, who is likely to be in her final season of racing.

   “She’s not nominated for the Group 1 races at Hastings but there is a late nomination fee option for her,” Calvin said.

    He indicated the first Group 1 race at the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival (Tarzino Trophy over 1400m on September 19) will probably come up a bit early but the last two haven’t been ruled out and obvious targets later in the year are the  Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie. She hasn’t contested those races before.

   “But Hawke’s Bay is still on the radar and we’ll make a decision on that once she gets back and Jamie gets to look at her. He hasn’t seen her since the All Star Mile in Sydney on March 14,” Calvin added.

   Melody Belle was purchased for $57,500 as a yearly at Karaka by Te Akau’s David Ellis and she has won $3.4million in prizemoney, while the mare will have residual value in the millions at the end of her racing career.

Hastings Trackwork 25 Aug 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Last start winner One Prize One Goal showed he has trained on the right way when he stretched out nicely at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was not much in the ay of fast work, which was mainly confined to the plough (easy).

   One Prize One Goal worked in easily from the 800m peg in 56.6, running the first 200m in 16s before speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 40.6. Trainer Lee Somervell is now aiming the Ekraar seven-year-old for a $30,000 Rating 72 race over 1300m at Hastings on September 19.

   Time honours for the morning went to Kuasa Kuda and a Swiss Ace four-year-old mare who sped over 800m on the plough in 48.5, the last 600 in 35.2. Kuasa Kuda is a three-year-old gelding by Power in the Patrick Campbell stable who had one start last season for fifth over 1000m at Tauherenikau.

   Alpine Charm was let off with an easy workout over 1000m in 1:12.9, the last 600 in 41.9. The Ocean Park mare recorded a fifth and a seventh in two starts last season but looks to have come back a lot stronger this campaign and finished a good second in a 1000m jumpout at Hastings last week. She may have a trial at Foxton on September 8 and then resume racing at Woodville on September 24.

   Who’s Alice work in easily from the 800m peg in 55.6, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 40.8 while stablemate Pablo Esk was let off with just three-quarter pace, his last 600 in 46.9.

   An Ekraar three-year-old had trainer Fred Pratt aboard when clocking 57.7 for 800m, the last 600 in 41.6 while Miss Wrigley was kept to just three-quarter pace over 1000m, the last 600 in 45.1. She was keen to go faster.

   Audition worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m, coming home the last 600 in 43.9 while Kaipawe clocked 46.1 for the last 600m of her work.

   A Niagara-Pare five-year-old mare and a Prince Conti four-year-old gelding worked together over 800m in 55.7, the last 600 in 40.4 while a Pour Moi three-year-old gelding ran home the last 400m of his work on the No.1 grass in 23.4.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 21 Aug 2020

‘Freddy’ still has what it takes to be a winner

(By John Jenkins)

   Hastings-trained thoroughbred One Prize One Goal proved a hit with the inpatients and staff at Cranford Hospice when he made a special appearance at the Hastings  palliative care centre three months ago and now the big horse has been a winner again on the racetrack.

   The seven-year-old Ekraar gelding, prepared by Lee Somervell, showed he still has what it takes to be a racehorse when scoring a game win in a $10,000 Rating 65 race over 1300m at Taupo on Wednesday of last week.

   It was his fifth success from 50 starts and his first since he took out a 1400m race at Awapuni in May of last year.

   To say One Prize One Goal is Somervell’s stable favourite would be an understatement. The big chestnut is owned by his partner Shirin Wood and her Australian-based son Calvin and they bred him in partnership with Wood’s late husband Kevin.

   The Woods, being fans of the band Queen, named the horse One Prize One Goal from the lyrics of one of that famous band’s songs and he is nicknamed ‘Freddy’ in memory of the band’s lead singer, the late great Freddy Mercury.

   One Prize One Goal is also a gentle giant. He stands 16 hands high and weighs 568kg but is so placid and docile that Somervell can take him just about anywhere. He loves the limelight and is quite happy to be paraded in strange confined spaces.

   “He is such a kind horse and has always had a great empathy with people,” Somervell said.

   Back in May Somervell got a request from Cranford Hospice saying that one of the inpatients, Lee-anne Hulson, was a horse lover who dearly wanted to get up close to a horse again.

   Having lost his wife to cancer in 2016 and Shirin Wood having also lost her husband to the same disease that same year, Somervell said he was only too happy to oblige.

   “My wife was in a hospice in Cambridge before she died and Shirin’s husband Kevin was in Cranford before he died so we wanted to repay them for all the great work they do,” Somervell said.

   With the help of Cranford staff, he arranged for One Prize One Goal to parade in the gardens at the centre and Hulson was there to greet him, along with several other inpatients and a number of staff members.

   Lee-anne Hulson, a distant relation of the legendary Australian racehorse trainer Bart Cummings, sadly died from cancer a few days later but her family said she was clearly overjoyed at being able to get up close to ‘Freddy’ before she died.

   One Prize One Goal has not been without his own problems as a racehorse with Somervell saying he has suffered from a breathing affliction for the past 12 months, which has sometimes affected his racing performances.

   “He is a very genuine horse but has had breathing problems,” Somervell said after last week’s win.

   “They couldn’t operate on him because it was too far back in the throat but we race him in a drop-over nose band now and that seems to help him breathe better.”

    Somervell was on the point of retiring One Prize One Goal when he only managed eighth out of 13 runners over 1300m at Hastings on July 29 but his rider that day, Trudy Thornton, convinced the trainer to persevere with at least one more run.

   “Trudy was keen to stick with him at Taupo last week and said she knew how to ride him. Because of his wind problem he is not a horse that you can sit on and try and sprint because he doesn’t get enough oxygen,” Somervell said.

   “You have to make one long sustained run on him and that is exactly what Trudy did.”

   Thornton let One Prize One Goal settle midfield in the early stages before starting a forward move entering the last 800m. They improved quickly around the field to challenge for the lead, four-wide, on the home turn and the horse maintained a strong run to the line to win by half a length.

   Somervell said this week that One Prize One Goal will now be aimed at a $30,000 Rating 72 race over 1300m at Hastings on September 19.

   It would be another significant milestone if the horse was to win again that day as it is the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and traditionally known as “Daffodil Raceday”. The proceeds from gate takings and other on-course appeals that day go to the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society.

   “He may have another run before that meeting as that is still a month away but I’ll just see how he does over the next week or so,” Somervell said.

   One Prize One Goal is out of the Towkay mare Sheeza Kinda Magic, who has also left the four-race winner Jakob Gambino.

   The mare has now ceased breeding but Shirin Wood and her son have a two-year-old full-sister to One Prize One Goal coming on.

   “She has been broken in and will come into work next month,” Somervell said.

   “She is quite a precocious filly so she should come to hand a lot quicker than Freddy did and may even make a Christmas two-year-old,” he added.

One Prize One Goal and jockey Trudy Thornton hold out the challengers in the final stages to win a Rating 65 race over 1300m at Taupo last week. It was the horse’s fifth win from 50 starts.


One Prize One Goal, nicknamed ‘Freddy’, and his trainer Lee Somervell were surrounded by inpatients and staff when the horse made a special visit to Cranford Hospice in May of this year.


Kiwis draw well in Winx Stakes

   New Zealand entrants The Bostonian and Melody Belle have both drawn well for today’s Group 1 $543,000 Winx Stakes at Randwick, in Sydney, as they look to add to their Australian stake earnings.

   The Bostonian has drawn the number one barrier for the 1400m weight-for-age feature while Melody Belle will jump from barrier six.

    Cambridge trainer Tony Pike said this week barrier one should be ideal for The Bostonian, who is having his first start back in a new campaign.

   “He likes to hold the rail and race on speed and he has a great record fresh up,” Pike said.

   He was also pleased to hear that Sydney has experienced fine weather for most of the past week.

   “He does go good with a cut out of the ground but we wouldn’t want a heavy track for him first up over 1400 metres,” he added.

   New South Wales jockey Jay Ford has been engaged to ride The Bostonian, with Nash Rawiller suspended and James McDonald committed to Verry Elleegant.

   Kerrin McEvoy will again ride Melody Belle and her trainer, Jamie Richards, says the Commands mare has improved a lot since she finished last of six runners when resuming in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on August 8

   Melody Belle has rarely produced her best fresh up and Richards is confident she can turn that form around over 1400m on the bigger Randwick track.

   “We have just got to put a line through her first up run,” Richards said.

   “There were a couple of things against her, she was first up on an unsuitable wet track and got back in a small field and struggled to make ground.

   “Her sectionals say she still ran okay and we have been happy with her since that run.

   “Kerrin rang after the race and said don’t worry, she ran okay and will improve. She had a good blow,” Richards added.

   Melody Belle’s Group 1 winning stablemate Probabeel adds to the Kiwi assault on today’s Sydney meeting when she resumes in the Group 3 $174,000 Show County Quality (1200m).

   The Savabeel mare has had two trials to help prepare her but is expected to improve from the race.

   “She doesn’t overexert herself in her trials,” Richards said.

   “She will be vulnerable first-up and will probably find it short of her best, there is no doubt about that. However I think she is in a good enough spot to be competitive.”

   Probabeel was unplaced in two New Zealand trials before campaigning in Sydney last spring, where she had three starts for two seconds and a fourth.


Injured Elliot hungry for return

   Injured jockey Ryan Elliot is determined to be leaner and keener to make the most of his future riding on the flat when he returns.

   Elliot, who served his apprenticeship under Graeme and Debbie Rogerson, is currently sidelined with a broken collarbone after falling from Ave Maria at the first fence in the Waikato Hurdle earlier this month and doesn’t expect to be back in action until late next month.

   “I was told it could be up to six weeks, but it all depends how it mends. I hope to be back sooner,” Elliot said.

   The 21-year-old Elliot has just completed his first season as a professional jockey after being the country’s leading apprentice with 60 wins in the previous term and, though the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the final months of 2019-20, he was happy with his results. He finished on 66 wins, including three black type victories, and finished fourth on the New Zealand jockeys’ premiership.

   Since racing resumed Elliot has kicked home eight winners (one this season), but his opportunities have been reduced through his battle to reduce his weight.

   “I’ve had a growth spurt and being off in lockdown, even though I rode some trackwork, my body blew out,” he said. “I’d never had a proper holiday and I got up to 65kgs.

   “I got it down to ride 56kg before I broke my collarbone and I’ll be looking to get it down further after I start back riding.

   As well as having the support of some leading Waikato trainers, Elliot has made some successful trips to the Central Districts and enjoyed riding a few jumpers for Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers, including a winning double aboard Class Above and Zentangle at Hastings in May of last year.

   But his focus is to pursue his flat career and add to his career total of 227 wins and 11 black type victories, which includes the Group 3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) on Prince Jabeel, and the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) on Gorbachev.


Hastings Jumpouts 20 Aug 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Impressive wins by Satu Lagi, Can I Get An Amen and Atlanta Peach were among the highlights at today’s Hastings jumpouts.

   There were 12 heats held 15 metres out from the running rail on the course property, which provided slow footing.

   Satu Lagi clocked the fastest time of 47.8s from the four 780m heats and scored a comfortable three-quarter length win over Heart Of Stone.

   The Per Incanto gelding hasn’t raced since finishing third in the Poverty Bay Cup (1600m) back in February but looks to be coming up well in a new campaign for trainer Patrick Campbell.

   Can I Get An Amen only won her 1000m heat by a neck but wasn’t fully extended at any stage and recorded 1:06.4, which was the equal quickest time from the seven heats run over this distance.

   Can I Get An Amen showed plenty of potential last season with a win and two seconds from four starts and is another who looks to be coming up well in a fresh campaign. She also finished a close second in a 780m jumpout at Hastings last month.

   Atlanta Peach also took out a 1000m heat, clocking 1:06.6s when beating Callsign Mav and stablemate Mohaka. The Bullbars mare is the winner of five races from only 16 starts and contested two of the Group 1 features at last year’s Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   Other good winners at today’s jumpouts were Truly and an Alamosa four-year-old gelding in the 780m heats and Sheezacatch and Penny Royal in the 1000m heats.




Heat 1, 780m: Truly (D Hirini) 1, Swiss Ace 3yr-old filly 2, Playmaker 3yr-old gelding 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, 3-1/2 lengths. Time: 50.4s. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

Heat 2, 780m: Iffraaj 4yr-old mare (L Sutherland) 1, El Roca 2yr-old gelding 2, Zed 3yr-old filly 3. Five starters. Margins: ½ length, 1-3/4 lengths. Time: 53s. Winner trained by Vicki Wilson, Hastings.

Heat 3, 780m: Alamosa 4yr-old gelding (D Hirini) 1, Per Incanto 4yr-old gelding 2, Charm Spirit-Stepping Out 4yr-old mare 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, 1-1/4 lengths. Time 49.5s. Winner trained by Mike Warren, Hastings.

Heat 4, 780m: Satu Lagi (D Hirini) 1, Heart Of Stone 2, No Rock No Pop 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, 2-1/4 lengths. Time: 47.8s. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: Sheezacatch (J Bassett) 1, King Farouk 2, Atlante-Kalahari Princess 3yr-old gelding 3. Five starters. Margins: 1-1/2 lengths, 2-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:07.1. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: Ocean Park 3yr-old gelding (Sammy) 1, Super Easy 4yr-old mare 2, Bold Iris 3. Five starters. Margins: 1 length, 2-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:06.3. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 7, 1000m: Motivation (J Parkes) 1, Alpine Charm 2, Cool Hand Duke 3. Five starters. Margins: 1-1/2 lengths, 2 lengths. Time: 1:07.7. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 8, 1000m: Can I Get An Amen (Sammy) 1, Serena 2, Tuigirl 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 2 lengths. Time: 1:06.3. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 9, 1000m: Atlanta Peach (J Bassett) 1, Callsign Mav 2, Mohaka 3. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, head. Time: 1:06.6. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 10, 1000m: Penny Royal (J Bassett) 1, Miss Labasa 2, Bucky 3. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, long neck. Time: 1:06.8. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 11, 1000m: Rippin (L Sutherland) 1, Wicket Maiden 2, Resolution 3. Three starters. Margins: Head, 2 lengths. Time: 1:08.2. Winner trained by Vicki Wilson, Hastings.

Heat 12, 1200m: Red ‘N’ Surf (L Sutherland) 1, Shady Lady 2, Zed 4yr-old gelding 3. Five starters. Margins: 2 lengths, ½ length. Winner trained by Vicki Wilson, Hastings.

Hastings Trackwork 18 Aug 2020


(By John Jenkins)

   Maria Dior, a likely starter at Awapuni on Saturday, was let off with a light workout at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was little in the way of fast work, with jumpouts scheduled for the Hastings track on Thursday.

   Maria Dior rounded off her work with an easy 600m in 42.4 and was hitting out nicely at the finish. The Rip Van Winkle mare looks to have come back from her spell a lot stronger this time in and finished a close third in a 780m jumpout at Hastings two weeks ago. She is entered for the Open 1000m race at Awapuni.

   Her stablemate Satu Lagi was also given an easy workout when running home the last 600m of his work in 41. He also looks to be coming up well in a fresh campaign and only went down by a head when second in a recent 780m Hastings jumpout.

   Who’s Alice and an Alamosa four-year-old gelding took the time honours for the session when they sprinted 600m in 37.2 while an Ekraar three-year-old filly and a Pour Moi three-year-old gelding, both in Fred Pratt’s stable, worked in from the 600m in 43.5, speeding up over the last 400 in 25.3.

   Kaipawe had co-trainer Mick Brown aboard when running an easy 1000m in 1:14.8, the last 600 in 43.1 while a three-year-old filly by The Bold One and a Swiss Ace four-year-old mare clocked 40.5 for 600m.

   Mohaka, Verlade and Uncle Bro were among several horses restricted to just three-quarter pace.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 14 Aug 2020

Call Me Jack rocks punters with Hawera win

(By John Jenkins)

   Hastings owner-trainer Tim Symes stunned punters when producing a 30-to-one outsider to win at last Saturday’s Hawera meeting.

   Symes took just the one horse, Call Me Jack, on the long trip from Hastings to Hawera and the five-year-old produced a total form reversal. After beating just one home when resuming from a spell over 1300m at Hastings on July 29, Call Me Jack stepped up to 1600m at Hawera and produced a much more resilient performance.

   The Jakkalberry gelding was always in the rear division at Hastings but he began quickly for apprentice jockey Temyia Taiaroa at Hawera and trailed the pacemaking Deuce Coupe in the early stages.

   Taiaroa urged her mount forward to challenge for the lead on the turn and they held a clear advantage after straightening for the run home. However Tiro, under the urgings of senior jockey Johnathan Parkes, quickly joined them and the two horses then set down to a head to head battle over the last 300m.

   Tiro looked to have gained an advantage but Call Me Jack fought back and was actually edging clear in the final stages to win by half a neck.

   There was a gap of 2-1/4 lengths back to third placed Zeefa Zed.

   Call Me Jack returned a dividend of $31.10 for a win and $8.50 for a place, while the quinella with the well supported Tiro paid $102.30.

   Symes was pleasantly surprised by Call Me Jack’s form reversal, saying that track conditions on the day proved a deciding factor.

   “He’s a horse that needs rain on the day to make it loose and that’s exactly what he got at Hawera,” Symes said.

   “The track was a bit too good for him at Hastings the start before.”

   Call Me Jack was recording his second win from 14 starts. The first was in a 1600m maiden highweight on a heavy track at Wanganui in June last year where he also returned outside odds of 18-to-one.

   He is raced by Symes and his son Wilfred and they bred him out of the Stark South mare Gizakis.

   The latter showed nothing in four starts on the racetrack but is a daughter of Love Proposal, a Spectacular Love mare who had two wins and seven minor placings from 41 starts.

   Love Proposal was also the dam of The Veep, whose 10 wins included the 2008 Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m).

   Symes and his son Wilfred also have an unraced two-year-old full-brother to Call Me Jack coming on but the mare is not in foal at the moment.

  The sire Jakkalberry, who is now deceased, was placed third behind Green Moon and Fiorente in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.

Hastings owner-trainer Tim Symes leads Call Me Jack away after the horse’s upset win in a 1600m race at Hawera last Saturday. Symes races the five-year-old in partnership with his son Wilfred.


Record nominees for HB features

   Hawke’s Bay Racing has received record nominations for all three Group 1 races at this year’s Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival but several of last season’s star performers are likely to miss the carnival.

   The three feature weight-for-age events are the $200,000 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on September 19, the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on October 3 and the $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 17.

   There are 52 horses nominated for the Tarzino Trophy including last season’s champion three-year-old filly Jennifer Eccles and multiple Group 1 winner Avantage.

   The pair are also among 67 nominations for the Windsor Park Plate and the 86 nominees for the Livamol Classic.

   Cambridge trainer Shaun Ritchie has already earmarked Jennifer Eccles for all three races at Hastings while Avantage’s trainer Jamie Richards said the Fastnet Rock mare will probably contest at least two of them.

   Jennifer Eccles has not raced since winning the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March and that followed a hollow victory in the Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings. She finished a close up fourth in a 1050m Ruakaka trial on August 4 and Ritchie is extremely happy with the way she is coming up.

   Jamie Richards was also pleased with Avantage’s win in an 1100m Taupo trial on Wednesday and said she is coming up really well again.

   Avantage was ridden by Opie Bosson in the trial. She settled midfield before improving four-wide coming to the home turn and took control soon after Bosson didn’t really ask her to extend at any stage and she went on to score a comfortable neck win over fellow Tarzino Trophy nominee Supera.  

   “She (Avantage) will run in the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa on September 5 and then the first couple of legs at Hastings,” Richards said.

   “We have got a little bit of time to fill between now and then, but she is coming up really nicely and we are pleased with where she is at.”

   Among the other star gallopers nominated for the three Hawke’s Bay Group 1 features are Bostonian, Catalyst, The Chosen One and Quick Thinker but all four are expected to do their spring racing in Australia.

   Bostonian is booked on a flight to Sydney on Monday and will resume in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick next Saturday.

   Two of Pike’s stable staff, Chris McNab and Matthew Ward, were granted travel exemptions to enter Australia and were on a flight to Sydney yesterday. They will need to go into quarantine for two weeks over there so Bostonian will be put in the temporary care of former New Zealand trainer Bjorn Baker for his first up run.

   Pike may have another couple of his stable runners heading to Sydney if they perform well in trials in the coming weeks while his team across the Tasman will receive a major boost with the addition of Catalyst next month. 

   Trainer Clayton Chipperfield is unable to head to Sydney so Pike and his staff will take charge of Catalyst, who was super-impressive when winning his 1100m Taupo trial on Wednesday.

   The Darci Brahma four-year-old is booked on a flight to Sydney on September 14 and is expected to make a return to the racetrack in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick five days later.

   Chipperfield was delighted with Catalyst’s Taupo trial, where the gelding cruised to a 1-3/4 length win over Aretha and Sherrif and said the horse will improve a lot from the trial.

   “He’s a lot stronger in his action and he’s mentally stronger as well,” Chipperfield said.

   “Depending on how he progresses we may trial him again or we will find a race meeting and give him an exhibition gallop before he flies out.”

   The TAB has released Fixed Odds win markets for the three Hawke’s Bay Group 1 races.

   The Tarzino Trophy market still has Bostonian and Catalyst included with Avantage the favourite at $4.00. Bostonian, Catalyst and Travelling Light are on the next line of betting at $6.50; Supera ($8.00); Julius and Kiwi Ida ($10); Prise De Fer ($12); Two Illicit ($14); True Enough ($16), Dragon Leap and Scott Base ($18), Jennifer Eccles ($21) and Germanicus, Princess Kereru and The Mitigator ($26). All other horses are at a quote of $30 or more.


Two important dates

   The Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders Association will hold its annual meeting in the Special Guest (VIP) room at the Hawke’s Bay Racing centre  on Thursday, August 27, commencing at 6pm.

   The annual Bramwell Bate/VetsOne Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay racing awards function, hosted by the Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay Breeders & Owners Associations in conjunction with Hawkes Bay Racing, will be held in the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse on Friday, September 18.

   For tickets to the function and enquiries contact Gayle Richardson at Hawke’s Bay Racing.


Hastings Trackwork 11 Aug 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Magic Incanto took the time honours in a busy session at the Hastings track this morning when she finished her workout off strongly.

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

   Magic Incanto had trainer Fred Pratt aboard and worked at half-pace over a round and a half before sprinting home the final 600m in 36.6s.

   The Per Incanto mare won a recent 780m jumpout at Hastings and is set to resume racing in an Open 1400m sprint at Awapuni on Saturday week.

   Her stablemate Sanlorenzo also turned in a good workout this morning. He also had trainer Fred Pratt aboard when sent over two rounds on the plough. He came home the last 600m on the first round at three-quarter pace and then quickened over the final 600m on the second round in 37.4s.

  The Shamoline Warrior three-year-old turned in an eye-catching debut run for fourth over 2100m at Hastings a fortnight ago and will line up next in a maiden 2200m race at Awapuni on Saturday week.

   Can I Get An Amen ran a solo 1000m in 1:08, the last 600 in 38.7 and was doing her work well at the end. She is one of several horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable just being ticked over at the moment and will resume racing next month.

   Mohaka is another one from the stable at the same stage and this morning she clocked 56s for an easy 800m, the last 600 in 40.9.

   Maria Dior was another who showed a good turn of speed in her work this morning, running 800m on her own in 51.1, the last 600 in 36.8. She looks to be coming up well in a new campaign and is likely to resume over 1000m at Awapuni on Saturday week.

   Bellesgirl, another promising horse in the Lowry/Cullen stable, clocked 1:08.7 for a solo 1000m, the last 600 in 37.5 while stablemate Atlanta Peach ran over the same ground in 1:07.4, the last 600 in 39.8. Both horses are likely to resume racing next month.

   Kaipawe had co-trainer Mick Brown aboard when running a solo 1000m in 1:9.4, the last 600 in 39.3 while Tuigirl was timed to run the last 800 of her 1000m workout in 53.8.

   Alpine Charm worked in from the 1000m peg and was timed to run home the last 800 in 54.5 and final 600 in 40.6 while Velarde and a Per Incanto-Queen Aly three-year-old gelding took 55.5 for an easy 800m, the last 600 in 40.2.

   An Alamosa four-year-old gelding worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m peg in 1:10.3, sprinting home the last 600 in 37.2 while a Reliable Man three-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable clocked 53.7 for an easy 800m, the last 600 in 40.5.

   A Zed four-year-old gelding, also  in the Lowry/Cullen stable, ended his work with 600m in 40.9.

Hawkes Bay Racing Column 7 Aug 2020

HB-owned The Cossack dominant in hurdle win

(By John Jenkins)

   The Hastings training partnership of Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal unleashed another potential jumping star when The Cossack recorded a 20-length maiden hurdle win at Te Aroha last Sunday.

   Nelson is regarded as one of the best conditioners of jumpers in the country and has taken McDougal on as a training partner in the last 12 months. The latter was also a successful trainer in her own right.

   The Cossack showed ability as a jumper when recording two seconds and a fourth from three starts over hurdles last winter but co-trainer Paul Nelson believes he has gone to another level now.

   “He has really taken to his work this time in and he is pretty exciting,” Nelson said this week.

   The Cossack resumed from a spell with a second over hurdles at Te Rapa on July 18 and started a warm favourite for the 3100m hurdle race at Te Aroha last Sunday.

   He was a bit keen in the early stages for rider Aaron Kuru but the talented jumps jockey got the horse to relax, just in behind the leaders, with a round to go and then bided his time before applying the pressure.

   Kuru sent The Cossack forward to take the lead with 700m to run and went clear soon after.

   They came to the third last fence, at the top of the straight, five lengths clear and steadily increased that margin over the last two obstacles to win untested.

   “He was pretty impressive. He has always shown us plenty but has wanted to over-race in the past,” Nelson said.

   “He settled a lot better the other day.”

   The Cossack was bred by well-known Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred owner Ivan Grieve, who originally raced the horse with Hastings trainer John Bary.

   The Mastercraftsman gelding won two races on the flat from Bary’s stable before the pair decided to put him on the market.

   Ivan’s brother Peter Grieve and his son Doug bought the horse in partnership with Paul Nelson and another well-known Hawke’s Bay racing identity, John Frizzell.

    Nelson said The Cossack will now return to Te Aroha for a 0-1 win hurdle race over 3100m on August 23 but he has no big plans for the horse after that.

   “He’s a nice horse and doing everything right but we wouldn’t want go get too carried away with him just yet,” he said.

   The Nelson/McDougal stable should be a force to be reckoned with in the two feature jumping races at today’s Waikato meeting at Te Rapa.

   They will saddle up impressive last start winner Revolution and experienced jumper No Change in the $50,000 Waikato Hurdles (3200m) and Perry Mason in the $50,000 Signature Homes Waikato Steeplechase (3900m).

  The latter was pulled up mid-stages in his last steeplechase race, at Te Rapa on July 18. But Nelson is predicting a much better performance from the horse today, especially after he finished fifth in a 2100m flat race at Hastings on Wednesday of last week.

   “That was a big run on the flat at Hastings and I think he’s right now,” Nelson said.

   Aaron Kuru has been Perry Mason’s regular jockey but has opted to ride exciting new steeplechaser Zedman in today’s prestigious event so Nelson and McDougal have engaged Hamish McNeil for their runner.

   Kuru will ride Revolution in today’s Waikato Hurdles while Emily Farr has been engaged for stablemate No Change.


Napoleon rules over the big fences

   Napoleon, part-owned by Otane-based Don Poulgrain, showed he could be a major force as a jumper this year when winning a restricted open steeplechase over 4000m at Awapuni on Friday of last week.

   The seven-year-old Shinko King gelding was having his seventh start over the big fences and now boasts a record of three wins and a third. He recorded back-to-back wins in steeplechase races last winter, winning over 3900m at Te Rapa and 4000m at Trentham.

   Napoleon’s success at Awapuni last week was a bit fortuitous as he was left in front when race leader Magic Wonder crashed at the second to last fence. But the horse was running on well at the time and, after being left clear in the lead, rider Shaun Fannin guided him to a 3-1/2 length win.

   Napoleon, who is trained at Wanganui by Kevin Myers, is now the winner of six races from 42 starts. He is raced by a five-member syndicate that includes Poulgrain and former New Zealand trainer Rachael Frost, who is now based in Australia but had prepared him for a winning double on the flat at Wairoa in February 2017.

   Trainer Kevin Myers and Hastings-born jumps jockey Shaun Fannin dominated last week’s Wellington meeting at Awapuni, with Napoleon’s success being one of four victories for the combination. They also took out the maiden hurdle with Bakela, the Restricted Open Hurdle with Ave Maria and the maiden steeplechase with Albaron.

   Myers won five of the nine races on the card as he also produced Aigne to win the main flat race, the Parliamentary Handicap (2100m).

Napoleon and jockey Shaun Fannin clear the last fence on their way to victory in the Restricted Open Steeplechase at Awapuni on Friday of last week. It was the seven-year-old’s third steeplechase win from seven starts over the big fences.

Hastings race days this season

   Hastings will stage 14 race days in the new racing season, which commenced last Saturday.

   The first date will be on Saturday, September 19, when Hawke’s Bay Racing will stage the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival. Feature races this day will be the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Group 3 $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) and the Listed $50,000 El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m).

   Hawke’s Bay’s two prestige jumping races, the $50,000 AHD Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) and the $50,000 Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdle (3100m) will also be run on this day. They would have normally been run in June this year but racing was cancelled due to Covid-19.

   The second day of the spring carnival will be on Saturday, October 3, where the main races will be the Group 1 $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Group 2 $100,000 Dundeel @ Arrowfield Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m).

   The final day of the spring carnival will be on Saturday, October 17 and will feature the Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) and the Listed $50,000 Red Badge Sprint (1400m).

   The next Hastings race day after that will be the Waipukurau Jockey Club’s meeting on Sunday, November 8, which will feature the running of the Waipukurau Cup.

   A Christmas at the Races meeting will be staged at Hastings on Wednesday, December 9 with the traditional Hawke’s Bay New Year meeting on Friday, January 1.

   Thursday, January 28, will be the date for the Bostock New Zealand Raceday while Hastings will also have a new date on Sunday, February 21.

   The Group 3 $70,000 Lowland Stakes (2100m) will be the main race on Wednesday, March 3 while the Listed $75,000 Power Farming Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) and Poverty Bay Cup will be the feature events at Hastings on Saturday, April 17.

   There will be two May Hastings race days next year, on Saturday May 1 and Wednesday, May 26 while Saturday, July 3, will again feature the $50,000 Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase and $50,000 Hawke’s Bay Hurdles.

   The last Hastings race day for the season will be run on Thursday, July 22.

   New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced that there will be no nomination and acceptance fees charged for all races except open class events and that stake money will be paid back to 14th place in those races.


Melody Belle back on track

   Glamour New Zealand racemare Melody Belle has a wide draw to overcome when she makes a return to racing in the Group 2 $217,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in Sydney today.

   The six-year-old Commands mare, trained by Jamie Richards and part-owned by Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters, has drawn 11 out of 13 in what will be her first start since finishing sixth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 11.

   The mare remained in Australia after that run and was given a brief spell there. She showed she is ready to resume when winning a recent 850m trial on the Kensington track at Randwick.

   Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy has been engaged to ride Melody Belle in today’s feature, where her main dangers include the impressive last start winner Eduardo and the Godolphin-owned pair of Flit and Savatiano.

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