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Melody Belle rings true for Hawke’s Bay couple 27 Sep 2018

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters say they are “living a dream” as the major shareholders in outstanding mare Melody Belle, a dominant winner of last Saturday’s $200,000 Windsor Park Plate at Hastings.

   The Walters own a 10% share in the Commands mare, who recorded her third Group 1 victory and took her stake earnings to $1,236,407 with a dominant

performance in the feature race on the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   The four-year-old, trained by Jamie Richards at Te Akau Racing and ridden by Malaysian-born Shafiq Rusof, capitalised on a perfect run in the 1600m event to score a 1-3/4 length victory over the fast finishing Savvy Coup, with third placed Wyndspelle another 1-1/4 lengths further back.

   Melody Belle was following on from her success in the $200,000 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on the first day of the carnival, on September 1, and also won the Group 1 $250,000 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in March last year.

   She has now won eight races from only 15 starts with her other victories including the $1million Listed Karaka Million at Ellerslie and Group 2 $A250,000 QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes in Brisbane last year and last month’s Group 2 $100,000 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa.  

   Melody Belle is officially owned by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate and managed by Auckland’s John Galvin. There are 34 individuals involved in the ownership and the Walters have the biggest shareholding. They are the only Hawke’s Bay people involved.

   “Trevor and Debbie have a 10% share and the next biggest shareholder is a person in Australia with an 8% share,” Galvin said this week.

   “The Walters have been keen supporters of Fortuna and great people to deal with.”

    Trevor Walters is now in semi-retirement after working for Foodstuffs New Zealand for 40 years. He and wife Debbie still assist their children with their business ventures but are mostly just enjoying life and racing.

   Trevor Walters says he has always been a keen racing man and had always wanted to race horses.

   “Debbie and I have been involved in a few other horses in the past and have had a bit of success but nothing like Melody Belle. She has been a dream come true for us,” he said.

   One of the first horses the Walters were involved with was Fantastic Honour, a filly who recorded two wins and three seconds when trained by Paul Shailer.

   “She was a good filly and finished second behind Ruud Awakening in the Karaka Million at Ellerslie in 2012 but she broke down three races later and that was then end of that,” Walters said.

   “We have also had a few others over the years that have gone amiss but that is racing and I say you never give up. You keep trying and something good will come along and that is what has happened with Melody Belle.”

   A keen darts player, Trevor Walters said he was at home practicing one Sunday afternoon whilst listening to Trackside Radio when he heard an advertisement from John Galvin saying he had shares available in prospective racehorses.

   “I thought it sounded like a good idea so I asked Debbie and she said we will give it one more go. So I rang John up and told him I wanted a horse that could win the Karaka Million, as we had gone so close with Fantastic Honour, and he said he had this Commands filly that would probably fit the bill.”

   “I didn’t really know what the shares were going for but said we’d take 10 per cent.”

   Trevor Walters got his wish come true when Melody Belle won the Karaka Million at Ellerslie in January of last year but unfortunately he and Debbie were not on course to witness the win.

   “Debbie and I have only missed two of Melody Belle’s races. The first was her maiden win and the second was the Karaka Million. We had already booked a trip to Australia last January and so we were over there. But we watched the win on TV and got a huge buzz.”

    Melody Belle was a $57,500 purchase from the 2016 premier yearling sale and Trevor Walters said it cost him and his wife about $11,000 for their 10 per cent share, once administration costs and insurance were added on.

   “John Galvin and Te Akau Racing are thoroughly professional and we have been more than happy with how everything has gone,” he said.

   He added that the syndicate members have already had several lucrative payouts from Melody Belle’s earnings and hopefully there is more to come.

   “The plan is for her to now have a short break and then be set for the Group 1 Railway at Ellerslie and we will be there to cheer her on,” Walters added.

   Trainer Jamie Richards has said the $200,000 Railway Stakes (1200m) on New Year’s day will be Melody Belle’s next major assignment and she could then go on to the Group 1 $250,000 Telegraph Sprint (1200m) at Trentham on January 19.


Avantage shows her class

   Waipukurau people shared in both feature race wins at last Saturday’s second day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   Trevor and Debbie Walters shared in the success of Melody Belle in the Windsor Park Plate while Waipukurau Jockey Club treasurer Michael Ormsby is a member of the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate that races Avantage, winner of the Group 3 $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes.

   The Fastnet Rock filly brought up her sixth win from only seven starts with a gutsy performance in what was the first race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old filly of the year series.

   Backed into hot favouritism, Avantage enjoyed a perfect run in the trail before rider Danielle Johnson pushed her out at the top of the home straight to challenge the leaders.

   Avantage shot to the front soon after but then quickly came under siege from Hastings-trained filly Xpression and the two set down for a head to head tussle over the final 300m, with only a short head separating them at the line.

   Michael Ormsby has been involved with Te Akau syndicates for the past three years and has had other wins with Irish Cream and Gris Dame. He and his wife Helen have also had tremendous results with jumpers over the years and, between them, they have shared in the ownership of eight winners of either the Grand National Steeplechase or Grand National Hurdles.

   Avantage was a $210,000 purchase from the 2017 Karaka yearling sales and has now won more than $806,000 in stakemoney. Her wins last season included the Group 1 $225,000 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and the Listed $1million Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie.

   Guy Lowry, who co-trains Xpression with Grant Cullen, was pleased with the filly’s performance for second considering she was giving Avantage a big head start entering the final 600m. Both horses are now expected to clash again in the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 17.


Well deserved win by Vannoss

   Perseverance finally paid off for Hawke’s Bay Racing chairman Elliot Cooper when Vannoss broke out of maiden ranks with a runaway 4 length victory over 2050m at Wanganui on Thursday of last week.

   Cooper is the breeder and owner of the Sufficient five-year-old, who has been a slow maturer and was having only his 10th race start. His previous best placing had been a second over 1600m at Hastings in November last year.

   “He has been a bit of a work in progress but it was good to see him finally put it all together,” Cooper said.

   Jockey Johnathan Parkes settled Vannoss at the tail of the field in the early stages of last week’s race before starting a move around the field from the 900m. They ranged up to challenge for the lead on the home turn and Vannoss kicked on strongly to race clear of his rivals.

   It was a welcome change of fortune for Cooper, whose last winner was when Hermosa Novia won a Rating 65 race over 2100m at Otaki in November 2012.

   He bred Vannoss out of the Traditionally mare Traditional Bride, who has also left the two-time placegetter Sassy Bride and Champagne Bride.


Huge Hastings race day

   Another great day of racing action is planned for the third and final day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival at Hastings tomorrow week with three black type events on the 10 race programme.

   The weight-for-age stars will be out in force in the Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) while some of the country’s top three-year-olds will do battle in the Group 2 $100,000 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m). The open sprinters will also get a chance to pick up some black type in the Group 3 $70,000 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m).

   Gates will open at 11am with the first race timed for 12.30pm and the last at 5.55pm.

   There will be a $25 gate charge but patrons can pre-purchase admission tickets from the Hawke’s Bay Racing office at the reduced price of $15 up until next Wednesday, October 3.


Savvy Coup primed for Livamol

   Savvy Coup looks primed for the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings tomorrow week after closing late to finish runner-up to Melody Belle in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) there last Saturday.

   “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think she will be a big chance in the Livamol,” said Michael Pitman, who trains the Savabeel mare with son Matthew.

   “Had we got clear on Saturday I don’t think it would have made any difference, the winner won too good. We might not have won the race, but I’m just as happy.”

   Pitman said Savvy Coup is continuing to improve and depending on how she performs on the last day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, she could continue her spring campaign in Australia.


Satu Lagi, a possible starter at Thursday’s Waipukurau meeting, worked strongly in company at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Satu Lagi worked with a Pins-Golden Gamble four-year-old mare over 800 metres in 53.6, running the first 200 metres in an easy 14.7s before speeding up over the last 600 in 38.8. Both horses were hitting out well at the finish.

   Satu Lagi is a three-year-old Per Incanto gelding in the Patrick Campbell stable who has won two Foxton trials, the most recent one being by a wide margin over 1000m on Tuesday of last week. The Pins mare is in the Lowry/Cullen stable and is a full-sister to former champion Hong Kong galloper Ambitious Dragon.

   Mohaka, who could either contest the Hawke’s Bay Guineas on Saturday week or a maiden race over 1350m at Tauherenikau on October 11, was not hurried when running a solo 1000m in 1:10.4, the last 600 in 41.4. She has had two starts for two good third placings, the most recent being in the Listed Wanganui Guineas.

   Zed Leppelin had co-trainer Mick Brown aboard when running a solo 1000m in 1:9.9, the last 600 in 40.1. He finished second over hurdles at Rotorua last start and will start next in the maiden hurdle event at Te Aroha on Sunday.

   Aqua House, a likely starter in the Maiden 1600 at Waipukurau, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1200m peg and quickened slightly over the last 600 in 39.2 while Vickezzmoet ran an easy 1000m in 1:8.8, the last 600 in 39.6.

   Hunta Pence worked early in the session and ran an easy 600m in 43.7. He is another who was impressive when winning at last week’s Foxton trials.

Hastings stables bag four wins for the week 20 Sep 2018

Hastings thoroughbred trainers have had another stellar week with four winners produced from the centre in the last seven days.

   John Bary saddled up Vinnie’s Volley to win at last Friday’s Woodville meeting and then picked up another success with Glimpse at Awapuni the following day while Paul Nelson took three horses to Sunday’s Rotorua meeting and picked up wins with No Change and Look Out.

   The John Bary-trained Heart Of Stone also finished second on debut at Woodville while Shady Lady, from the stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, recorded her third consecutive runner up position at the same meeting. Zed Leppelin also finished second in a maiden hurdle at Rotorua for the husband and wife training team of Sue Thompson and Mick Brown.

   Paul Nelson still holds down fourth place on the national trainers’ premiership with eight wins since August 1 while John Bary has also made a good start to the new season with three victories and the Hastings partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen is on two wins.


Consecutive victories

   Vinnies Volley made it two wins in a row with another impressive performance in the Rating 72 race over 1100m at Woodville following a fresh up success over 1000m at Taupo last month.

   The four-year-old Iffraaj mare, ridden by experienced jockey Chris Johnson, trailed the leader to the home turn before taking control and then shot clear. Bring To The Block made a strong run from the back but only got to within three-quarters of a length of Vinnie’s Volley at the line.

   Vinnies Volley was following on from a fresh up success over 1000m at Taupo last month and has now won three races from only six starts. She is raced by the Too Posh Syndicate, a large group of keen racing enthusiasts. Several members reside in Hawke’s Bay and are Carl Taylor, Renee Dever and Trent Miller, Wink and Andrew Hildreth, Brian and Karen Strachan, Rob Hardie, Craig and Vicki MacMillan, Vicki Sanders, Aaron & Vicki Cook, Tina King, Tracey Saxton, BJ Moleta, Richard Koorey, Doug Callaghan, Lex Verhoeven, Merv Dudley and Robbie Lawton.

   Glimpse made up for an unlucky last start 9th on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival with a decisive half length win in a Rating 65 race over 1550m at Awapuni. The Rip Van Winkle mare broke through for an impressive maiden win over 1650m at Hastings on July 19 and was then denied clear racing room over the final stages in a 1400m race at Hastings on September 1.

   She had to produce a big effort at Awapuni last Saturday as she was forced to race three-wide for most of the race after drawing an outside barrier. She was six wide entering the home straight but, once balanced up by jockey Johnathan Parkes, she surged to the front and comfortably held out the fast finishing Leading Role by half a length.

   Glimpse has now had eight starts for two wins and a second for her Hunterville owner-breeders Christopher and Susanna Grace.


Cool Kuru at his best again

   Hastings-born jockey Aaron Kuru was seen at his excellent best at Sunday’s Rotorua meeting, kicking home three of the first four winners on the eight race programme.

   Kuru, 27, showed amazing patience aboard No Change in the $20,000 Rotorua & Bay Of Plenty Hunt Cup Hurdles (3000m). He settled the 10-year-old back in sixth place and bided his time until just before the home turn when he asked his mount to improve.

   No Change quickly ranged up outside the leaders and took control after jumping the last fence, racing clear in the final stages to score by three-quarters of a length. It was his third win from eight starts over hurdles and he has also recorded four minor placings in that role for owners Paul and Carol Nelson.

   Look Out brought up his second success from five starts since joining the Paul Nelson stable when he out finished Storming The Tower in the 2200m highweight at Rotorua. Jockey Aaron Kuru had the horse leading in the early stages before taking a trail and he again waited until the home turn before peeling off the back of the leaders.

   Storming The Tower looked the likely winner but Look Out gradually reeled him in and got up in the last couple of strides to score by a head.

   Look Out began his racing career in the care of his Palmerston North owner Gary Freeman but was transferred to Nelson nine months ago. Both Freeman and Nelson are part of the syndicate that now races the horse with other members being Nelson’s two brothers, David and Mark, and close friends Brian Guerin, David Holden, Stuart Mitchell, Mike Stovell and Peter Tod from Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu’s Angus MacLeod.


HB owner celebrates success

   Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred owner-breeder Judy Holland’s racing colours were back in the winner’s stall at last Saturday’s Ruakaka meeting when Wings scored a game win in a maiden 1200m race.

   Holland has bred and raced horses for many years but Wings is the first one she has had to the races since It’s Bianca was retired to the broodmare paddock in March last year.

   Wings, like It’s Bianca, is trained by Cambridge-based Anne Herbert. He was having his second start when he stepped out at Ruakaka, following a debut sixth there last month and had also won an 800m trial at Cambridge earlier this year.

   “Anne has always thought a lot of him but he has just taken time,” Holland said this week.

   “His first race was like a trial. He didn’t jump out of the barrier very well and it was an educational run and so Anne put the blinkers on him last Saturday and that really helped.”

   Wings again dwelt at the start of Saturday’s 1200m event but jockey Trudy Thornton hunted him up to take a trailing position behind the leader and kept him right up to the mark over the final stages to get the decision by half a head.

   Anne Herbert said Wings should be even better once he steps up to 1400 and 1600 metres and could look at some of the guineas races later in the season.

   Judy Holland said she bought Wings on type and breeding.

   “I spend a lot of time looking through sale catalogues and I sorted out five that I wanted to look at. He was the pick of the five and we got him for less than I thought we would,” she said.

   Wings is by Rock ‘n’ Pop out of the O’Reilly mare O’Dare and his third dam is the former high class racemare Dare, who won eight races for former Hastings trainer Davey Jones, including the Group 2 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

   Holland said It’s Bianca, who won four races, is due to foal to Turn Me Loose.


First South Island success

   Moss Jazz, a horse that was placed twice from the Hastings stable of Sue Thompson and Mick Brown early in her career, made a winning debut in the South Island on Thursday of last week.

   The six-year-old Tavistock mare, bred by Hastings brothers Chris and Ken Russell,  was having her first start for Riverton trainer Stephen Blair-Eddie when she lined up in a 1200m maiden at Wingatui and scored by 2 lengths.

   Chris Russell decided at the beginning of this year to send the mare south, where the class of opposition is a bit weaker. He has retained a third share in the ownership with the other two-thirds taken up by the Blair-Eddie and one of his stable clients.

   Moss Jazz drew the extreme outside barrier at Wingatui and the tactics were for apprentice jockey Amless Bohorun to bounce her straight to the front and keep kicking. He followed the instructions to the letter and she never looked like being caught.

   Moss Jazz is out of the Hey Baba Riba mare Whistling Jazz, who has also left the winners Between the Beats and Tavijazz.


HB Guineas plans for star filly

   Exciting three-year-old filly Melt is likely to take on the colts and geldings in her next start, in the Group 2 $100,000 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings on October 6.

   Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley is pleased with the way the Iffraaj filly has come through her win in last Saturday’s Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka and is looking forward to stepping her up in distance.

   “I am quite keen to take the boys on in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas because if she happened to step up and be superior to them, I wouldn’t be adverse to running in the 2000 Guineas,”  Tiley said.

   Melt is currently rated a $4.50 chance in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in early November and a $12 chance in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).


Hastings sprint for War Affair

   One month after his comeback seventh in the Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m), former Singapore champion galloper War Affair produced a smart performance to win an 1100m trial at Te Rapa on Tuesday.

   Trained by Stephen Marsh the 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year will target the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings on October 6.


   Scandalo rounded off his preparation for the open 1200-metre sprint at Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting with a good hit out at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Most fast work was carried out on the plough, which provided good footing after 4.5 millimetres of rain since Wednesday morning.

   Two horses worked up against the inside rail on the course proper after which a penetrometer reading was taken and it came up as a dead-5.

   Scandalo worked on his own from the 800-metre peg on the plough in 51.4, running the first 400m in an easy 14.7 and then quickening over the last 600 in 36.7. He looks in great order for his return to racing on Saturday and promising apprentice Wiremu Pinn has been booked to ride him, claiming a 3kg allowance.

   Waipukurau visitor Dez also worked on the plough and was kept to just pacework over a round and a half before quickening to run home the last 600 in 39.1. He looks to have come through his race at Awapuni last Saturday well and will be stepped up to 2000 metres for the first time in the open handicap at Hastings on Saturday. Trainer Simon Wilson said this will be the horse’s last run this campaign and he will be turned out for a summer spell.

   Gold Trail Stakes entrant Xpression was kept to mostly half-pace in her workout on the plough and was allowed to extend to three-quarter pace in the home straight. She looks in great order for her clash with Avantage in Saturday’s 1200-metre fillies’ feature.

   A Per Incanto three-year-old filly and a Niagara three-year-old filly were the two horses worked on the course proper and they clocked 55.6 for 800m, the last 600 in 41.3.

   Tuigirl, who could start next in a 1600m maiden race at Waipukurau next Thursday, ran an easy 1000m on the plough in 1:10.3, the last 600 in 40.1 while stablemate Real Beach ran over the same ground in 1:11.4, the last 600 in 41.2.

   If Only I Knew, a Shamoline Warrior four-year-old mare in Kate Hercock’s stable, clocked 43.1 for an easy 600m while Atlantic Beach ran an easy 800m in 56.7, the last 600 in 42.1. She is a Bullbars four-year-old mare in the Lowry/Cullen stable.

Hastings Trackwork 18 Sep 2018

   Exciting filly Xpression showed she is right on target for this Saturday’s Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings with a solid workout in company at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was little in the way of fast work with several trainers taking teams of horses to the Foxton trials later in the day.

   Xpression worked with Kaipawe on the course proper, which was rated a dead-5. They worked in from the 1000-metre peg in 1:6 and quickened as they went, running the last 800m in 49.9 and the final 600 in 35.1. Both horses were stretching out nicely at the finish.

   Xpression has trained on well since winning fresh up over 1100m at Taupo last month and will appreciate the extra 200m of this Saturday’s race. Samantha Collett retains the mount.

   Kaipawe is likely to kick off a fresh campaign in the Rating 72 race over 1400m on the third day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, on October 6.

   Cafe’ Culture, who is down to resume racing at Hastings on Saturday after a long injury layoff, worked on his own over 1000m on the plough (good) in 1:5, the last 600 in 38.8. The now nine-year-old has not raced since winning over 1600m at Otaki on March 2016, which was his fifth victory from only 12 starts. He had a 1000m jumpout at Hastings on September 3.

   Scandalo, who is likely to resume in the 1200m open sprint at Hastings on Saturday, was let off with an easy 600m on the plough in 40.9. He hasn’t raced for five months but he has performed well when fresh up in the past.

   Serenity had her Waipukurau co-trainer Penny Ebbett aboard when sprinting keenly over 1000m on the plough in 1:2.2, the last 600 in 37.2. She will either start 


   Xpression, preparing for the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings on Saturday week, was working strongly over the final stages of her solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was carried out on the plough (good) and wide out on the No.1 grass (soft).

   Xpression worked in from the 1000-metre peg on the plough in 1:4.1 and quickened as she went. She clocked 50.1 for the last 800 and came home the final 600 in 36.5. The Showcasing filly has trained on well since winning over 1100m at Taupo last month and will be ready for a big effort in the 1200-metre feature on the second day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

   Dez rounded off his preparation for the open 1600-metre race at Awapuni on Saturday with an easy 800 metres on the plough in 54.7, the last 600 in 38.8 and he is another last start winner who looks in great order.

   Zed Leppelin, entered for the maiden hurdle race at Rotorua on Sunday, had race day rider Elen Nicholas aboard when he schooled well over nine hurdle fences in the centre. He finished a close fourth in his last hurdle race, at Trentham last month.

   Surpriseus, another likely runner at Hastings on Saturday week, was kept under a good hold by trainer Kate Hercock when running 800m on the grass in 56.9, the last 600 in 40.4. She cleared maiden ranks impressively at Hastings two starts back and then covered plenty of extra ground when unplaced over 1400 metres at Waverley.

   A big Pins three-year-old filly in the John Bary stable was impressive when working strongly alongside Champagne Bride over 1000m in 1:3.9, the last 600 in 36.2 and High Spirits also looked to be working better than Rawhide at the finish of their 1000m in 1:5,6, the last 600 in 37.2. They are all in the John Bary stable.

   Who Would Know clocked 51.5 for a solo 800m, the last 600 in 37 while End Of Story and a Showcasing two-year-old ran 600m in 39.8.

   Louboutin and Bella, two others from the Bary stable, worked together over 1000m on the plough in 1:4.5, the last 600 in 36.9.


Xpression big Hastings hope in Gold Trail Stakes 13 Sep 2018

   It is 20 years since a Hastings-trained horse last won the Gold Trail Stakes at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival but exciting filly Xpression will give the training base a royal chance of success next week.

   The $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes will be one of the feature races on the second day of the Bostock New Zealand spring carnival at Hastings on September 22. The 1200m event is the first race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old Filly of the Year series and has been won some of New Zealand’s best in the past.

   The last Hastings-trained winner of the race was Sustaad back in 1997. The Kaapstad filly was prepared by Roydon Bergerson, who has since moved to Awapuni, and defeated another outstanding filly in Tycoon Lil by a neck.

  Xpression is a three-year-old filly by Showcasing trained on the Hastings track by the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen. She has only had three starts for a close debut third over 1000m and two impressive wins.

   The first of those victories was in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Trentham where she was back near the tail of the field at the top of the straight before weaving a passage through to win by half a length. That was back in December last year and she then missed the season’s remaining feature two-year-old races after contracting a mild virus.

   The filly hadn’t raced for more than eight months when she resumed in a three-year-old fillies’ race over 1100m at Taupo on August 22 and it was a great training feat by Lowry and Cullen to have her ready to win fresh up after just a couple of Hastings jumpouts to prepare her. She again settled back off the pace in the early stages but unleashed a powerful finishing burst in the straight to get up and beat Santa Catarina by a long head.

   Xpression has trained on the right way since that win and looked bright when working at the Hastings track this week. Last season’s leading jockey Samantha Collett has ridden Xpression in all three of her starts and will again be aboard.

   Last season’s champion two-year-old Avantage is expected to be one of Xpression’s rivals in the Gold Trail Stakes and, on form, she looks the obvious one to beat. The daughter of Fastnet Rock has had six starts for five wins and a second.    She won both the Listed Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie and Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni and was also runner up in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie.

   “She galloped between races at the last Hastings meeting and worked nicely, so we're pleased with her and she'll run first up in the Gold Trail,” Matamata trainer Jamie Richards said.

   Richards confirmed Avantage is on a path to the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

   “How we get there I'm not sure.  But we'll look at all options once we get through Hastings, be it in the North or the South.

   “She hasn't grown a lot between two and three, but she's stronger and she's still got the action she had as a two-year-old. We were particularly pleased with her gallop at Hastings so hopefully we're on track.”


Second day of HB carnival

   Hastings racegoers will be treated to more Group 1 action on the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival tomorrow week.

   The middle day features the running of the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) which will see many of the horses that contested the Tarzino Trophy (1400m), a fortnight ago, doing battle again including both the winner and runner up in that race in Melody Belle and Hiflyer.

   The other black type event on the 10-race programme will be the Group 3 $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m), the first race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old Filly of the Year series.

   The first race is timed for 11.50am and the last at 5.05pm and there will be a $10 entry fee. 


Nelson’s frustrating run of seconds

   It was a case of so close yet so far away for Hastings trainer Paul Nelson last weekend.

   The astute horseman went within an ace of taking out both the Great Northern Hurdles and Great Northern Steeplechase at Te Aroha on Sunday after also having to settle for the runner up position with an earlier runner at that meeting and one at Wanganui on Saturday.

   The Nelson-trained Second Innings looked the likely winner of the Great Northern Hurdles when in front with two fences to jump. But he bungled the second to last and also landed awkwardly at the last, enabling race favourite Jackfrost to get up and beat him by 1-3/4 lengths.

   Three races later the Nelson colours were carried by Perry Mason in the Great Northern Steeplechase and he also looked the likely winner when jockey Aaron Kuru took him to a clear lead 600m from home. But he too was run down in the closing stages by Chocolate Fish and was 4-1/2 lengths adrift at the finish.

   Earlier in the day Nelson lined up The Arabian Duke in the 0-1 win steeplechase and he also made a costly mistake at the second to last fence and finished second to Delacroix, beaten 4-1/2 lengths.

   Peso was Nelson’s only runner at Saturday’s Wanganui meeting and he finished second to Strolling Vagabond in the $35,000 open handicap over 2040m, the winner’s margin being 3-1/2 lengths.


Humidor Melbourne Cup topweight  

   New Zealand-bred and owned galloper Humidor has been allotted topweight in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups when weights were released on Tuesday.

   The Darren Weir-trained triple Group 1 winner has been given topweight of 58 kilograms in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

   The former Kiwi is an unlikely runner in both races with the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) the targets for his spring campaign.

   There were 183 horses nominated for the A$7,050,000 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m), to be run this year on Tuesday November 6. There are 34 New Zealand-bred and 10 New Zealand-trained.

   The powerful Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman has five of the 10 New Zealand-trained nominees headed by dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval, who is weighted on 54.5kg. The stable’s other entries are Jon Snow (55.5kg), Vin de Dance (53.5kg), Zacada (53kg) and Highlad (51kg).

   The Matamata training partnership of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott have nominated impressive last start winner Charles Road who is weighted on 53kg while last season’s Auckland Cup winner Ladies First, trained by New Plymouth’s Allan Sharrock, is weighted on 51.5kg.

   Matamata trainer Jamie Richards has nominated Mongolianconqueror (51kg) and Our Abbadean (50.5kg) while New Plymouth’s John Wheeler has again nominated Pentathlon (51kg).

   Jon Snow is 12th in order of entry into this year’s Melbourne Cup and Bonneval 22nd so both would be guaranteed a start in the 24-horse field. Last season’s New Zealand Derby winner Vin de Dance is currently 44th with Charles Road 55th and Ladies First 76th. The others are a long way down in the order of entry but could earn a start by winning one of several qualifying races leading up to the cup.


Shark ready to attack again

   One of the more impressive winners on the opening day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival was the Jamie Richards-trained Te Akau Shark.

   The lightly-raced four-year-old resumed with an impressive victory over 1200m and will now return to that venue on October 6.

   “He will run in the Open 1400m (Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint) on the last day,” Richards said.

   “The horse is in good order, he just had a bit of a freshen-up and we're very pleased with how he's going.”

   A winner of three of his four starts, Te Akau Shark finished fourth in last season’s Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) before injury sidelined the talented son of Rip Van Winkle for the remainder of the season.

   “It's just one step at a time with him and we'll get through Hastings before we confirm anything else,” Richard said.


First Group success for Charm Spirit

   Windsor Park Shuttle stallion Charm spirit has recorded his first Group win as a sire when Yourtimeisnow was victorious in the Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes (1200m) at Salisbury, England on Thursday of last week.

   It was the second win in four career starts for the Roger Varian-trained filly who has plenty of potential according to her rider.

   "Mentally and physically she's getting better and could be anything," jockey Andrea Atzeni said.

   A triple Group 1 winner and highest earning son of Invincible Spirit, Charm Spirit also recently sired his first southern hemisphere trials winner at Te Teko last month.


Rios now based in Matamata  

   Group 1-producing sire Rios has settled in well at Upstage Bloodstock, Danica Guy’s Matamata property where he will serve a handful of quality mares in his first season at the boutique operation.

   Previously standing at Waikato Stud, Rios was purchased by Guy off earlier this year and the Matamata horsewoman is hoping her newly acquired stallion can produce another Group 1 winner for her.

   Guy prepared his son Gaultier to win the 2015 Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) before he was sold to Hong Kong where he has won three races and nearly HK$4 million in prizemoney.

   “He’s a gentleman,” Guy said. “He’s done a great job with limited opportunities.

   “I’m hopeful that we can get another good horse by him. I’ve got a couple of very nice mares that he will cover this season and hopefully he will get a few outsiders as well.”

   Rios stands at Upstage Bloodstock this season for a service fee of $2,500+GST. 



   Vinnie’s Volley indicated she is going to be hard to beat at this Friday’s Woodville meeting with a strong solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Others to show out in a busy session were Hunta Pence, who is likely to resume racing at Hastings on Saturday week and Maria D’Or, who is an unraced three-year-old in the Patrick Campbell stable.

   Vinnie’s Volley was one of several horses John Bary brought in for the trackwork session and she was travelling keenly at the end of 600m on the No. 1 grass in 36.4. It was an excellent time considering the track was still very soft in parts after a huge amount of rainfall last week. The Iffraaj mare was a game last start winner over 1200m at Taupo and has obviously trained on well.

   Hunta Pence was keen to go a lot faster when he worked easily over 1000m on the plough in 1:11.8, the last 600 in 41.7. He looks to be coming up well in a new campaign and will kick off in a Rating 82 race over 1600m on the second day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   His stablemate Maria D’Or sped over 600 metres in 37.5 and was stretching out well at the finish. She is a filly by Rip Van Winkle out of the Redoute’s Choice mare and scored an easy 4 length win in a 1000m Hastings jumpout at the beginning of this month.

   Glimpse looked to be travelling better than The Bandito at the end of 1000m on the grass in 1:5.2, the last 600 in 40.4 while Cafe Culture ran a solo 1000m on the plough, the last 800 in 51.2 and final 600 38. He is likely to resume racing in the Rating 82 race over 1400m at Hastings on Saturday week.

  Anzhelika, another who won well at the Hastings jumpouts on September 3, worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m peg on the plough and quickened over the last 600m in 38.2. She is a filly by Nicconi who could make her race debut at next week’s Taupo meeting.

   Zed Leppelin, preparing for the maiden hurdle race at Rotorua next Sunday, was keen to go faster when running 1000m on the grass in 1:9.7, the last 600 in 40.2. He finished a close fourth over hurdles at Trentham two starts back.

   Makeitrain, entered for the Maiden 1400 at Woodville on Friday, was let off with an easy 600m in 42.3. She was a close up sixth over 1300m at Taupo last start.

   Thelma sprinted 600m on the grass in 37.9 while stablemate Heart Of Stone ran over the same ground in 38.9.

   Serenity had co-trainer Penny Ebbett aboard and worked keenly over 800m on the plough in 49.3, the first 200m in a very quick 11.8 and the last 600 in 37.5. She has been freshened since finishing fifth over 1650m at Hastings in July.

   My Tommy was kept under a good hold over 1000m in 1:13.3, the last 600 in 42.7 while Your Not Wrong ended his work with 800m in 54.6, the last 600 in 41.5.

   Aqua House worked over 1000m and was timed to run the last 800 in 54.2 and final 600 in 39.3 while a Niagara four-year-old in the Kate Hercock stable was shading Surpriseus at the end of an easy 1000m, the last 6000 in 42.1.

   Uncle Bro, in the early stages of another campaign with trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, ended his work on the plough with an easy 600m in 42 while Robbie Kapow clocked 42.9 for 600m on the same track.

Somervell moving his operation to Hastings 6 Sep 2018


   Hastings will have another thoroughbred trainer joining the ranks from the beginning of next month.

   Successful Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell will be re-locating to Hastings from October 1, bringing with him a team of 12 horses.

   Somervell will be leasing the stables, yards and paddocks at Carlton Lodge, a property that Dianne Sergeant prepared many successful horses from over a number of years. She has since given up training.

   Somervell has been training out of the Cambridge Lodge complex since 2006, starting out as private trainer for the late Ada Parnwell before taking out a public trainer’s licence. He has prepared 130 winners, nine in group or listed races, and has two Group 1 victories to his credit with Fleur de Lune taking out the 2013 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie and Addictive Habit winning the 2015 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings in 2015.

   Addictive Habit also included consecutive wins in the Group 2 Couplands Mile (1600m) at Riccarton in 2014 and 2015 and both he and Fleur de Lune won the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa.

   Somervell said this week he has enjoyed training horses on the Cambridge track and the camaraderie that goes with being based there but feels it is now time to move on.

   “Due to a change of circumstances at Cambridge Lodge I am re-locating my team to Hawke’s Bay and I am really looking forward to it,” he said.

   “The co-operation and support I have received from the people involved in the Hawke’s Bay racing scene has been quite overwhelming. The set up at Carlton Lodge looks ideal and Dianne Sergeant has been a big help.”

    He will be operating under the banner of Somervell Racing and among the 12 horses he will be bringing are four that raced at Hastings last Saturday, One Prize One Goal, Impulsive Habit, Stradivarius and Soroc.

   “I’ve also got some nice young horses including a three-year-old half-brother to Fleur de Lune called Yossarian and a Darci Brahma-Fleur de Lune three-year-old filly,” Somervell added.

   “Every one of my outside owners has agreed to stay with me and it is not as if I’ll be starting with a whole lot of new horses.”

   Somervell said Stradivarius, who finished third in a Rating 82 race over 1200m last Saturday, is expected to start on the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, on September 22, while One Prize One Goal and Soroc are likely to line up on the third day, on October 6.


Wait A Sec HB/PB horse of the year

   Wait A Sec was crowned the Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay trained horse of the year for the 2017-18 racing season at last Friday’s annual racing and breeding awards function at the Hastings racecourse.

   The Postponed gelding, prepared by the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, won five of his nine starts last season including the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings and amassed stake earnings of $274,325.

   Wait A Sec is owned by his Hastings breeder Iain Henderson and his Perth-based son Paul. The horse’s dam, Security, was also crowned Hawke’s Bay/Poverty broodmare of the year.

   Wait A Sec was also one of four finalists for Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay owned horse of the year. This category was decided on performances in black type races during the season with the other finalists being Jon Snow, Authentic Paddy and Miss Wilson. The winner, in a close contest, was Authentic Paddy who not only won the Group 1 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie but was also third in the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes and was placed four times at either Group 2 or Group 3 level. He is owned by Hastings sisters Marilyn Te Paa and Christine Gray and their Havelock North brother Tony Gray in partnership with their Paraparaumu-based brother Phillip and another sister Janice Berry, who lives in Lower Hutt.

   John Bary was the leading trainer on number of wins (17) while Patrick Campbell took out the strike-rate award with his 10 wins from only 42 starters giving him a strike-rate of 4.2.

   Chouxmaani Investments, operated by Richard and Liz Wood, took out the awards for both owner of the year and breeder of the year. These two categories were determined on a points basis with emphasis on Group race wins. The Woods are the breeders and owners of Miss Wilson, who won the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha in April and the Group 3 Red Bad Sprint at Hastings last October. She was also runner up in the Group 2 Tauranga Classic.

   Pat Lowry took out the title of Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay breeder of the year on wins with horses he bred winning five races during the season while Tom Lowry was presented with the Horlicks Salver for his outstanding contribution to Hawke’s Bay racing and breeding spanning many years.
   Waipukurau’s Mick Ormond was presented with the Jimmy Choux Trophy for the highest earning three-year-old bred by a Hawke’s Bay breeder. He bred Augustus, who was the winner of two races from the Sydney stable of Chris Waller earlier this year and also finished fourth in the Group 1 QTC Derby.


Magnum outguns Ruakaka rivals

   Magnum, part-owned by Havelock North’s Jason Fleming, indicated he is in for a prosperous spring and summer campaign when scoring a game fresh up win in a $35,000 race at Ruakaka last Saturday.

   The Per Incanto six-year-old was having his first race since April when he lined up in the 1200m open sprint and picked up his second New Zealand success since returning from Singapore at the end of last year.

   Apprentice jockey Ryan Elliot bounced Magnum away smartly from the barrier and soon had him sitting up outside the leader Ugo Foscolo. He quickly mastered that horse at the top of the home straight but was then momentarily headed by Rikki Tikki Tavi and looked likely to have to settle for the runner up position. But, under a strong ride from Elliot, Magnum managed to produce an extra effort in the final stages to wrest back the lead for a head victory.

   It was Magnum’s sixth win from 20 starts, with four of those victories being in Singapore. He spent his early education in the care of Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan before heading overseas and she has again been entrusted to train the horse. Fleming is one of eight shareholders in the horse, with Little Avondale studmaster Sam Williams and prominent bloodstock agent Michael Wallace among the others.

   Magnum was foaled at Masterton’s Little Avondale Stud and his dam Sound Lover was the winner of five races including a Group 3 event at Ellerslie.

   Sound Lover is a full-sister to Candide, who won both the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) during the 1987-88 racing season.


Hartley headed for bigger things

   Hawke’s Bay-bred Hartley stamped himself as a horse headed for open class with another dominant winning performance at last Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   The Azamour four-year-old was coming off a fresh up win over 1200m at Waverley on August 18, where he raced away for a 1-1/4 length victory.

   His winning margin wasn’t so emphatic in a $25,000 Rating 72 race over 1300m at Hastings last Saturday but he wasn’t fully extended by jockey Rosie Myers and crossed the line with his ears pricked, half a length in front of second placed Beauden.

   Hartley now has a record of three wins, a second and a third from only eight starts and winning jockey Rosie Myers predicted a big future for the gelding.

   “He’s an exciting horse and seems to be getting better and better all the time,” she said.

   Hartley is trained at Woodville by Neil Connors, who races the horse in partnership with his wife. They bought him for $23,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Karaka mixed bloodstock sale after he was offered on behalf of his Pourerere breeder Sue Harty.

   Hartley is out of the Towkay mare Madam Butterfly, who won five races for Harty but unfortunately died earlier this year after producing a foal by Sweynesse.


Extra Waipukurau race day

   Hawke’s Bay racegoers will be treated to an extra race day in the district this month.

   With the Otaki racetrack still out of commission the September 27 meeting scheduled for that course has now been transferred to Waipukurau.

   It will be an industry day with a seven race programme planned at this stage.

   The two-year-old race over 800m at this meeting has been removed and an additional $15,000 two-year-old race will be added to the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 22.


Promising Mihaul put down

   Talented galloper Mihaul was euthanized on Monday after sustaining multiple knee fractures at last Saturday’s Hawke’s Bay race meeting.

   The Moira and Kieran Murdoch-trained five-year-old went amiss over the concluding stages of a Rating 82 race over 1200m and, despite efforts to repair the fractures in his left foreleg; the gelding could not be saved.

   The hitherto unbeaten galloper won his first five starts, the first two for New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock.

   The Kathy Stanley-owned gelding later joined the Murdoch stable after more than 18 months on the sidelines and looked to be fulfilling his potential with three comfortable victories earlier this year.

   “His knee fracture was extensive and would have been very difficult to repair enough for him to have a good quality life,” Moira Murdoch said.

Several eye-catching winners at Hastings jumpouts 4 Sep 2018

   Impressive wins by Vino Blanco, Whowouldknow, Tuigirl, Hugo The Boss, Scandalo and Peso were the highlights from the Hastings jumpouts held today (Monday).

   There were 12 heats run on the course proper, where the markers were out 10 metres and the track provided dead footing.

   Vino Blanco easily recorded the fastest time of the three 750-metre heats, clocking 45.6s when winning by a length from Pep Torque, with Real Beach and Hunta Pence heading the others home.

   Vino Blanco is a five-year-old mare in the Lowry/Cullen stable who was impressive when winning a maiden race over 1200m at Taupo in October last year and looks to have come back even stronger this season. She is likely to kick off a fresh campaign in a Rating 65 race over 1300m at the Taupo meeting on September 21.

   Whowouldknow scored a decisive 2 length win in one of the 1000-metre heats and recorded a good time of 1:01.9. The Rios five-year-old beat home the John Bary-trained Louboutin, with the Lowry/Cullen stablemates Nedwin and Guipuir next home.

   Tuigirl scored dominant win in another 1000m heat. Her winning time was not that fast but she looked to have plenty in reserve when winning by a length from a Roc de Cambes three-year-old gelding, with Champagne Bride third.

   Tuigirl is a three-year-old filly by Niagara in the Lowry/Cullen stable who finished a creditable fourth on debut over 1200m at Woodville on August 9. She may be entered for this Saturday’s Wanganui meeting.

   Hugo The Boss was an all the way winner of his 1000-metre heat and clocked the fastest time of 1:01.5. The Stratum five-year-old is the winner of three races and showed he  has come back from  a winter spell in good order by comfortably beating the fast finishing Lady Guinness by three-quarters of a length, with Eastern Warrior close up in third place.

   Scandalo, who is likely to kick off a fresh campaign in the Open 1200m sprint on the second day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 22, didn’t record a quick time but looked good in winning his 1000m heat while Peso proved too fit for his four rivals in the sole 1400m heat, racing clear in the final stages to win by 6 lengths. Trainer Paul Nelson is unsure where the in-form seven-year-old will start next, saying there seems to be a lack of suitable races for a staying type horse rated on 78 points.

   The first heat was a 400-metre sprint up the straight by two runners from John Bary’s stable and was not recorded. The other results are as follows.



Heat 2, 750m: Jakkalberry 2yr-old filly (K Hercock) 1, Pins 2yr-old filly 2, Zed 3yr-old gelding 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, Neck. Time: 50.5s. Winner trained by Kate Hercock, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Anzhelika (T Allan) 1, Per Incanto 3yr-old gelding 2, Bullbars 4yr-old mare 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, 3 lengths. Time: 46.1s. Winner trained by Stephen Carey, Hastings.

Heat 4, 750m: Vino Blanco (T Allan) 1, Pep Torque 2, Real Beach 3. Six starters. Margins: 1 length, 3 lengths. Time: 45.6s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: Rip Van Winkle-Dorotea D’Or 3yr-old filly (D Turner) 1, Performante 2, Call Me Jack 3. Five starters. Margins: 4 lengths, 3-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:02.3. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: Devi (L Hemi) 1, La Tourneau 2, End Of Story 3. Six starters. Margins: 2 lengths, 3-1/2 lengths. No time taken. Winner trained by Steve Ellis, Waipukurau.

Heat 7, 1000m: Whowouldknow (L Hemi) 1, Louboutin 2, Nedwin 3. Five starters. Margins: 2 lengths, 2 lengths. Time: 1:01.9. Winner trained by Kate Hercock, Hastings.

Heat 8, 1000m: Tuigirl (T Allan) 1, Roc de Cambes 3yr-old gelding 2, Champagne Bride 3. Six starters. Margins: 1 length, 2-3/4 lengths. Time: 1:03.2. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 9, 1000m: Rawhide (T Johnson) 1, Shez Ekstra 2, Shady Lady 3. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, 2 lengths. Time: 1:02.9. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 10, 1000m: Hugo The Boss (T Johnson) 1, Lady Guinness 2, Eastern Warrior 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, head. Time: 1:01.5. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 11, 1000m: Scandalo (D Turner) 1, Vickezzmoet 2, Chouxperb 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, 1-1/2 lengths. Time: 1:02.9. Winner trained by Patrick Campbell, Hastings.

Heat 12, 1400m: Peso (H Durrant) 1, Do Ya 2, Not Allowed 3. Five starters. Margins: 6 lengths, 1 length. Time: 1:28.2. Winner trained by Paul Nelson, Hastings.


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