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(By John Jenkins)


   Stablemates Hunta Pence and Satu Lagi, likely starters at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day, hit out strongly when working the reverse way on the course proper at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Most of the fast work was carried out on the plough, which provided good footing.

   Hunta Pence and Satu Lagi were the only horses to gallop on the course proper (firm) and they worked in from the winning post. They were timed from the 600m peg to the 1200 in 35.9s, with both horses stretching out well at the finish.

   Trainer Patrick Campbell says a lack of suitable races for the two horses in the Central Districts has meant that they will have to head to Ellerslie where Hunta Pence will contest the Open 1600m race and Satu Lagi will run in a Rating 82 event over 1200m.

   One Prize One Goal, one of three or four horses trainer Lee Somervell intends running at Awapuni on Saturday, worked on his own over 1000m on the plough in 1:08.4, the last 600 in 38.6. Dylan Turner has been booked to ride him in the Rating 72 race over 1400m.

   Stradivarius, entered for the Open 1400 at Awapuni, clocked 1:09.6 for an easy 1000m, the first 400 in 30.2 and the final 600 in 39.4. Madan Singh has been booked to ride him.

   Chalk clocked 1:07.2 for a solo 1000m, the last 600 in 37.8 while Magic Incanto and My Jakky, two horses being prepared for the Hawke’s Bay meeting on November 10, sprinted 600m together in 37.6.

   Veuve Clicquot, another entered for Awapuni on Saturday, ran a solo 1000m in 1:07.5, the last 600 in 38.2.

   Penny Royal was another who galloped 1000m and recorded 1:08.5, the last 600 in 38.5 while a Fastnet Rock four-year-old gelding recorded 1:09.1 for the same distance, the last 600 in 38.9.

   Shout and a Rock ‘N’ Pop-Mink four-year-old mare worked together over 1000m in 1:09.4, the last 600 in 39.2.



Racing: Riva Capri 22/10/19



(By John Jenkins)


   Riva Capri, preparing for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton next month, turned in an excellent workout at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Riva Capri finished ahead of a Hallowed Crown three-year-old gelding at the end of 800m in 52.5, the last 600 in 37.7 and she looked to be travelling very keenly at the finish.

   The Atlante filly was a last star fourth in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) on October 5 and is expected to have a 1000m jumpout at Woodville this Friday to further her preparation for the trip south. The $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) is run on the last day of the New Zealand Cup carnival, on November 16.

   Atlanta Peach was another who worked well this morning when she ran a solo 1000m in 1:10.9, the last 600 in 37.7. She is another who could have a jumpout at Woodville this Friday although co-trainer Guy Lowry said this morning there is a chance she may contest Saturday’s Group 3 $70,000 Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham instead.

   Maria Dior, who resumes from a spell in the Rating 72 1200m race at Woodville on Thursday, was not hurried when running a solo 800m in 54.8, the last 600 in 38.4. She showed plenty of promise last season, filling a first four placing seven times from 10 starts.

   Yossarian, who looks to be coming up well in a new campaign, ran an easy 600m on his own in 39.9 while Real Beach was kept to not much more than three-quarter pace when running 600m in 42.8. She has not raced since contesting the Hawke’s Bay Cup in April and looks to have done well during her winter spell.

   Alpine Charm and an Atlante three-year-old gelding worked together over 600m in 39.9s and Alpine Charm is another headed to the Woodville jumpouts on Friday.

   My Jakky worked on her own over 1000m in 1:4.9, the last 600 in 37.8. She is a Jakkalberry mare trained by Fred Pratt and was due to resume at last week’s abandoned Waipukurau meeting.

   Saskatchewan and a Charm Spirit-Tequila three-year-old filly worked together over 800m in 52.5, the last 600 in 39.6 while Uncle Bro was kept to just a bit quicker than three-quarter pace when running a solo 800m in 56.4, the last 600 in 42.6.

  Resolution and a Fastnet Rock four-year-old gelding worked at three-quarter pace over 1000m, the last 600 in 46.9 while Vannoss, entered for Woodville on Thursday also ran the last 600m of his work at three-quarter pace.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 18 Oct 2019

Stakes race for Hastings-trained Cinzento

(By John Jenkins)


   Hastings-trained filly Cinzento will now step up to the Group 2 $100,000 James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa on October 28 after breaking through for a maiden success at Taupo on Wednesday of last week.

   The John Bary-trained daughter of Dalghar capped off three previous minor placings with a game winning performance in the 1300m maiden three-year-old race at Taupo, overcoming difficulties in the running in doing so.

   Cinzento drew the widest of the nine runners and was taken back to a clear last in the early stages by jockey Donavan Mansour. She then started a forward move around the field entering the last 600m but was carted out very wide on the home turn when Laureate, on her inside, made the bend awkwardly.

   By the time Mansour got the filly balanced up again she was many lengths off the leader Wild West, who looked to have established a winning break. But Cinzento hit top gear in the last 200m, charging home to snatch a short-head victory on the line.

   Mansour was having his second consecutive ride on Cinzento and said the win made up for an unlucky last start sixth over 1200m at Hastings on September 21, where the filly was held up in the home straight and blundered 250m from the finish.

   Cinzento is owned by the Challenge No.10 Syndicate, a 60-member group managed by Adrian Clark. The syndicate members include Brian and Lorraine Henneker from Napier and Taupo-based Allan and Judy Payne and both couples have enjoyed good success with Challenge Syndicates in the past. For three other members, it was their first ever winner.

   Clark purchased Cinzento off for $5000 after an unfortunate incident with another syndicate filly.

   “This syndicate had two fillies, one was by Atlante the other was Jennifer Eccles and the Atlante went through a fence,” Clark said. 

   “I said to the syndicate I have to buy you another horse to replace it as a goodwill gesture.  

  “I found this horse on gavelhouse and loved her. She was raw and she was cheeky.”

   Cinzento won an 850m Woodville trial in November last year before a debut second over 1000m at Otaki. She followed that up with a fourth in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham but tended to want to over-race in her next few starts.

   “She hasn’t been an easy horse, but John and his team have moulded her, and the penny dropped two starts ago at Hastings, when she settled a lot better,” Clark added.

   “Now that we have got her to settle, she deserves a go at a stakes race, so we’ll run her in the Sarten Memorial on Labour Day.”

   Cinzento’s Taupo success was the first official win for the Challenge No.10 Syndicate although Jennifer Eccles was first past the post in an 1100m three-year-old fillies race at Hastings on August 31, only to be relegated to second for alleged interference. The daughter of Rip Van Winkle, prepared at Cambridge by Shaun Ritchie, then finished a creditable fourth in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings on September 21.

   Jennifer Eccles holds a nomination for next month’s Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and will have her next start in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on October 26.

  “When I last looked, she was 18th in order of entry in the Thousand Guineas so, hopefully, a first three placing in the Soliloquy should get her a run in the race,” Clark said.

   “Mind you, she would need to perform well at Ellerslie to make it worthwhile putting her on a plane to Christchurch as it costs a lot of money to get a horse down there.”


Cinzento and jockey Donavan Mansour get up in the last stride for a short head win over Wild West and Leith Innes in a 1300m maiden race at Taupo on Wednesday of last week. The Dalghar filly is now being aimed at the Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa on Labour Day.


Some of the happy members of the Challenge No.10 syndicate are pictured alongside syndicate manager Adrian Clark (right) and their first winner in Cinzento.


The Chosen One rehandicap

   New Zealand galloper The Chosen One has been given a half-kilogram penalty for next month’s Melbourne Cup (3200m) for his victory in last Saturday’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield.

   The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained stayer also passed the first ballot clause with the win and now has 52kg in the Melbourne Cup on November 5 and is 37th in the order of entry.

   In winning the Herbert Power, The Chosen One won exemption into tomorrow’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), and under the conditions of that race could not be penalised and will run with 52kg.

   "The Chosen One was, however, eligible to be penalised for the Melbourne Cup and it was appropriate to acknowledge he is a quality four-year-old with an emerging form line,” VRC manager of racing Greg Carpenter said.

   "While he already meets most rivals from Saturday on worse weight terms in the Melbourne Cup, he was strong at the end of the contest on Saturday, so the decision was made to issue a 0.5kg penalty to amend his Melbourne Cup weight to 52kg."

   The Chosen One is at a $26 quote for the Melbourne Cup.


The Shark no certain Cox runner

   The Moonee Valley Racing Club faces a major selection dilemma next week when assembling the field for this year’s A$5 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 26. 

   With the retirement of star mare Winx, who won the Cox Plate for a record-breaking four years in a row, the weight-for-age ranks in Australasia are looking decidedly even. 

   Factoring in spots taken by overseas-trained invited runners, plus the winners of exemption races means several of Australasia’s best weight-for-age gallopers may be left out of this year’s race.

   Exempt race winners this year include Harlem (Australian Cup), Homesman (Feehan Stakes) and Cape of Good Hope (Caulfield Stakes) and that trio remain paid-up acceptors for the Cox Plate.

   There are a further three horses that have accepted invites from the MVRC to run in the Cox Plate – Danceteria (David Menuisier), Kluger (Tomokazu Takano) and Lys Gracieux (Yoshito Yahagi).

   It leaves just eight spots remaining in the capacity 14-horse field with the MVRC using their discretion to select the remainder of the runners next week, with around 23 horses holding legitimate claims for a place in the race. 

   Amongst those contenders is the Jamie Richards-trained Te Akau Shark, who turned in a strong performance to run a narrow second in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) when carrying four kilograms more than the winner Kolding.

   The star Kiwi with a cult-following has won five of his nine career starts and finished second in a further three, but without a Group 1 win on his CV, the prospects of the $9-chance gaining a start remain at the discretion of the committee, who have a difficult task to select the final field early next week. 

   Group 1 winners Avilius, Mystic Journey, Hartnell, Humidor, Gailo Chop, Gatting, Kings Will Dream, Fierce Impact, Verry Elleegant, Castelvecchio and Flit all remain in contention.

   “The committee is going to have their work ahead of them to knock this down to 14 horses, plus emergencies,” Moonee Valley chief executive Michael Browell said. 

   “It is a good problem to have. We have had smallish Cox Plate fields in recent years, mainly due to the Winx impact.

   “We have guidelines that aren’t written in stone, but it does come down to final committee discretion. 

   “There has been plenty of discussion and debate over the merits of a horse like Te Akau Shark, but it might be that the committee do consider an x-factor component as to whether or not a horse like Te Akau Shark makes his way into the final field.” 


Dundeel’s fourth Group 1 winner

   Arrowfield Stud-based stallion Dundeel, by High Chaparral, was credited with his fourth Group 1 winner last Saturday courtesy of Super Seth’s remarkable win in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

   The Anthony Freedman-trained three-year-old was purchased for $280,000 by Dean Hawthorne at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the Arrowfield Stud draft and has now won four of his seven starts.

   Dundeel’s other elite level winners are Yourdeel, Castelvecchio and Atyaab and he is standing at Arrowfield for a fee of $A66,000. Several Hawke’s Bay people still retain shares in Dundeel, including Havelock North couples Murray and Jo Andersen and Dave and Jenny Morison.


Travelling Light glows

   Lightly raced three-year-old Travelling Light indicated she is on target for some bigger assignments when she produced a powerful sprint in difficult conditions for a hollow victory at Matamata last Saturday.

   The Ben Foote-trained El Roca filly had been a stylish winner over 1300m on a good surface at Taupo last month after being unbeaten in two trials preceding that debut effort.

   Saturday’s heavy-10 underfoot conditions added intrigue to the three-year-old 1400m contest however Travelling Light handled the testing ground with aplomb as she travelled like a winner behind the pacemaker Gigolo George throughout.

   Angled into the clear on the point of the home turn by rider Sam Collett, Travelling Light quickly burst past race favourite Harlech before cruising clear to win untouched by just over six lengths.

   Foote had been confident of a good performance but did harbour some concerns about the heavy track.

   “She’s not an extravagant filly, as she does just what she has to at home, but she has shown us plenty all the way through.

   “She travelled up really well and the turn of foot in the ground was quite surprising actually, but just showed what she is capable of.”

   Foote will now aim Travelling Light at the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie tomorrow week before deciding on whether she makes a trip south to contest the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton next month.

   Travelling Light is the third foal of their handy racemare Cissy Bowen who won five times from 30 career starts. She is also a half-sister to stakes performer The Great Southern who finished third in the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) as a three-year-old.




(By John Jenkins)


   Tuigirl, a likely starter at Otaki on Sunday, worked well in company at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided good footing after four millimetres of rain over night.

   Tuigirl worked with Mohaka from the 1000m peg and were timed to run their last 800m in 54 and the final 400 in 24s.

   Tuigirl was an unlucky last start sixth over 1600m on the last day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and will be entered for the Rating 65 Fillies & Mares 1600 at Otaki on Sunday.

   Mohaka, who was a close last start second, is being prepared for the Wellington meeting on October 26.

   Estefania, preparing for the Rating 65 race over 1950m at Rotorua on Saturday, ended her work this morning with a sprint up the straight. She was not far away when sixth over 1600m at Te Rapa last start and is a past winner on the Rotorua track. Any rain will help her chances.

   Time honours for the morning went to Maria D’Or and Zappeur, two horses in Patrick Campbell’s stable, who worked together over 1000m in 1:3.8, the last 600 in 36.4.

  Uncle Bro, entered for the Rating 65 1600 at Waipukurau on Thursday, had an easy workout on his own over 1000m in 1:10.6, the last 600 in 39.9.

   Jonny Russ, another entered for Waipukurau, sprinted 600m on his own in 36.9 while a Star Elipse and a Showcasing three-year-old filly clocked 1:13.1 for 1000m, the last 600 in 40.1.

   An Atlante-Springvale Lass three-year-old gelding and a Per Incanto-Queen Ali three-year-old gelding clocked 54.9 for 800m, the last 600 in 39.5. They are both in the Lowry/Cullen stable.

   Resolution and a Fastnet Rock four-year-old gelding worked together over a round on the plough and were timed to run home he last 1000m in 1:17.4.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 10 Oct 2019

HB couple following their mare to Melbourne

(By John Jenkins)

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters were this week finalizing travel and accommodation arrangements for themselves as they make plans to follow their wonder mare Melody Belle across the Tasman again.

   It was confirmed earlier this week that Melody Belle will now head to the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, where she will contest the Group 1 $A1million Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on November 2 and then possibly the Group 1 $A2million MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) a week later.

   Both races are run under weight-for-age conditions and regular jockey Opie Bosson has been confirmed to ride her in both events.

   The Walters own a 10 per cent share in Melody Belle, who brought up her 14th career win and took her stake earnings to more than $2million with another commanding performance in last Saturday’s Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic (2040m), feature race on the last day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival.

   The couple are the biggest shareholders in the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate which races the five-year-old under the management of Auckland’s John Galvin. There are 34 individual shareholders, with the Walters being the only Hawke’s Bay people involved and they have rarely missed being on course to witness her 24 starts.

   They were in Brisbane in May 2017 when their pride and joy won the Group 2 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm and also travelled to Sydney in the autumn of last year when she was unplaced in two starts at Randwick.

   Trevor Walters said this week that he and Debbie have been to Melbourne before, but this will be the first time they will have set foot on the famous Flemington course.

   “We are definitely going to be there and are very excited about it,” he said.

   “I think she’s proven everything she can in New Zealand so why not take on the best in Australia.

   “I can see her competing well in the Empire Rose Stakes on the first day and that should tune her up nicely for the MacKinnon Stakes on the last day.”

   Melody Belle earned two slices of New Zealand racing history with her dominant 3-1/2 length victory in last Saturday’s Livamol Classic.

   She became the first horse to complete the Hawke’s Bay weight-for-age Triple Crown during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival-the Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Livamol Classic. Eight horses had previously won two of the three.

   It was also the ninth Group 1 win of Melody Belle’s glittering career, which is a new record number of Group 1 victories in New Zealand. She had previously shared that record with Mufhasa, who won eight in New Zealand and another two in Melbourne.

   Melody Belle was sent out a raging hot $1.30 favourite to make history last Saturday and she did not disappoint.

   Rider Opie Bosson settled her in midfield, against the rail, as Mongolian Marshal and Peso went to the front in the early stages. Mauna Kea charged forward to take a clear lead into the back straight, then Peso worked back up alongside him to regain control.

   Bosson moved Melody Belle away from the inside and into clear air with more than 1200 metres to run, and she cruised forward to slide into second place at the top of the home straight.

   It was plain sailing from there as Melody Belle swept past a brave Peso, striding clear over the final stages to the cheers of a delighted Hastings crowd.  

   “She’s such a darling,” Bosson said. “We got bumped around a little bit in the first half of the race, but I ended up getting her out of trouble and then she just cruised into it. I just love her.”

   “To win these three Group 1 races at 1400, 1600 and 2040 metres, it takes an amazing horse and an amazing training effort by Jamie Richards.”

Melody Belle has her ears pricked as she crosses the line well clear of second placed Peso in last Saturday’s Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic. She created history in the 2040m event, completing the elusive Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown and bringing up her ninth New Zealand Group 1 success.

Peso could head to Aussie

   Hastings trainer Paul Nelson is contemplating a possible Australian campaign for class galloper Peso after saying the horse could be weighted out of some of the major upcoming New Zealand cups races.

   Peso showed he is right at the top of his game when finishing a gallant second behind Melody Belle in last Saturday’s Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings but Nelson, who co-trains the horse with Corrina McDougal, says there are not a lot of options left for the horse in this country from now on.

   The horse still holds a nomination for the Group 3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton on November 16 but Nelson doubts whether that will now be an option.

   “He’s going to be weighted out of most of the big cup races here,” he said.

   Peso was on a Rating of 90 points when he carried 54kg into second place in the Group 3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and has since gone to 97 points, following his win in an open 2000m race at Hastings on September 21 and his second placing last Saturday.

   Nelson says the present handicapping system seems to favour fillies and mares over the colts and geldings and is a reason why we no longer have the depth in our open class handicap races.

   “Mares get into a race with a one or two kilogram advantage and so that makes it hard for the geldings,” he said.

   If Peso does head to Australia, he is likely to target some the minor cups races there while, if he remains in New Zealand, he could be aimed at the Group 1 weight-for-age Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

   Peso proved no match for outstanding mare Melody Belle in last Saturday’s premier race at Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival but produced a game performance, taking a clear lead with 800m to run and fighting right to the line after being headed early in the home straight.

   “I thought for a moment that he was going to make it interesting when he dug in about 300 metres out but she (Melody Belle) was just too good in the finish,” Nelson added.

   Peso, who is owned by Paul Nelson and wife Carol, earned $47,500 in finishing second while the connections of first placed Melody Belle picked up $148,500.     


Wait A Sec back on track

   Tomorrow could be ‘D-Day’ for Hastings-trained Group 1 winner Wait A Sec when the horse has an important trackwork gallop at Hastings.

   The Postponed nine-year-old, winner of the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings two years ago, was side-lined with an injury after finishing last of 13 runners in the Metric Mile (1600m) at Awapuni on September 13 and his connections are hoping he is now back to full fitness again.

   “He was very sore after Awapuni. He obviously had a problem in one of his hind legs and could hardly walk when he cooled down,” the horse’s co-trainer Grant Cullen said this week.

   “He spent a couple of weeks locked up in a box since then and has obviously had a fair bit of treatment which seems to have brought him right.

   “We still don’t know what the problem was. We are not sure whether he spread himself when he jumped out the barrier or injured himself in the running. But he seems okay now and he’ll have a gallop at the Hastings track this Saturday.”

   Providing Wait A Sec comes through that gallop well he will then have a jumpout at Levin next Wednesday and then be aimed at a return to racing in the Group 3 $70,000 Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham on October 26.

   “He’ll run in the Thompson and then hopefully in the Feilding Cup,” Cullen added.

   The Listed $50,000 Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup (2200m) is run on Saturday. November 2.

   Wait A Sec, who is owned by his Hastings breeder Iain Henderson and raced by him in partnership with his Australian-based son Paul, has a record of 13 wins, five seconds and six thirds from 48 starts and has stake earnings of $394,270.

   The horse spends the majority of his life on the Dannevirke property of Grant Cullen’s partner Nikki Lourie, who is an equine physiotherapist and mixes the horse’s training with working around the hills and dressage.

   Wait A Sec suffered a tendon injury after winning the Wairoa Cup (2100m) in February last year which meant he never raced again until the first day of this year’s Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival, on August 31. He finished last of 12 runners over 1600m that day and then filled the same position at Awapuni last start.


HB-bred Hartley in top form  

   Hawke’s Bay-bred Hartley completed a winning double at this year’s Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Spring carnival when he dead-heated with Cutting Up Rough in the final event last Saturday.

   The big Azamour five-year-old competed on all three days of the carnival, finishing seventh over 1300m on the first day before scoring a game win over 1400m on the second day.

   Woodville trainer Neil Connors stepped the horse up to 1600m in a $40,000 Rating 82 event last Saturday and he showed tremendous fighting qualities again. He looked beaten when Cutting Up Rough ranged up outside him inside the last 100m but put in a mighty late lunge and the two horses crossed the line locked together.

   Hartley was bred by Pourerere-based Sue Harty in partnership with the late Colin McKay and is out of the Towkay mare Madam Butterfly.

   The horse was offered for sale as a weanling at a 2015 mixed bloodstock sale and was bought by Connors for $23,000. He has now recorded five wins from 16 starts and Saturday’s win took his stake earnings to more than $85,000.

   Madam Butterfly, who was the winner of five races, died last year but has also produced a two-year-old by Sweynesse that was bred by Harty in partnership with Explosive Breeding Limited, a company managed by Hastings-based Neville Robertson.

   “The Sweynesse two-year-old is a magnificent looking horse but he is a very big horse who is going to take time,” Harty said this week.

   “He’s been gelded and will be broken in around Christmas time and we will look at racing him next year.”

Cutting Up Rough (outside) and Hartley cross the line together at the finish of the Rating 82 race over 1600m at Hastings last Saturday. The photo-finish print could not separate the pair and a dead-heat was declared.

Jaguary brings up his fourth win  

   Jaguary, formerly trained at Hastings by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, continued a purple patch of form in Australia when winning over 1950m at Morphettville last Saturday.

   The Niagara four-year-old has proven a revelation for Adelaide trainer Travis Doudle, having won four of his five starts since crossing the Tasman as a maiden after five runs from the Lowry/Cullen stable.

   Doudle purchased the gelding for less than $40,000 from his Auckland owner-breeder Trish Dunell, and believes the horse has the ability to go right to the top.

   “He’s a very talented horse who we liked from the minute he first arrived,” Doudle said.

   “The plan has been to get him into the spring stayers’ series so he will qualify for that in a fortnight and then go to the final on Melbourne Cup day.

   “After that there could be a cheeky race for him in Melbourne.”


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 4 Oct 2019

London Express one that got away from the boys

(By John Jenkins)

   Four close friends who have raced several horses together spanning more than 25 years are now rueing the fact that they agreed to have London Express put into the ownership of their wives and partners instead.

   The four-year-old Shamexpress mare brought up her fourth victory from only 12 starts when taking out a $30,000 Rating 82 race over 1200m at New Plymouth last Saturday and also has five minor placings to her credit and more than $100,000 in stake earnings.

   Hawke’s Racing CEO Andrew Castles, the chairman of Rita in Dean McKenzie, New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock and Auckland’s Gary Milne are the four men while their partners are Tess Castles, Anna McKenzie, Emma Davies and Anna Milne.

   It was Emma Davies who initially picked London Express out as a likely type and persuaded the men that the girls should form a syndicate to race her.

   The four women now lease a 50 per cent share in the mare, with the other 50 per cent raced by the horse’s Taranaki owner-breeders.

   “I think the boys are squirming a bit now,” a delighted Tess Castles said this week.

   “It is probably one that they wish they never relinquished.”

   London Express was resuming from a short break when she lined up on her home track last Saturday, her last race appearance resulting in a seventh over 1400m there in July.

   Davies rides a lot of trackwork for her partner Allan Sharrock and suggested that the horse be tried in a one-eyed blinker when she resumed.

   It certainly made a huge difference as, after getting back fourth last in the early stages, apprentice rider Kozzi Asano was able to quickly improve London Express through the field coming to the home turn before angling her into the clear early in the straight.

   London Express showed a great turn of foot on the heavy-10 track conditions to dash clear of the opposition over the final stages and score by 2-1/2 lengths.

   Trainer Allan Sharrock provided the winning quinella in the race with Mars Bars running home nicely for second, 2-1/4 lengths clear of third placed Secret Allure.

   Tess Castles has had small shares in other horses in the past, but nothing compares to the enjoyment she and her partners are getting from London Express, whose previous wins include the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui as a two-year-old.

   “She is not very big but she tries really hard,” Tess Castles added.

   “She won her first jumpout by 7 lengths and the guys probably knew then that they had made the wrong decision in not racing her.

   “She is giving us a great thrill and one of our group, Anna McKenzie, is presently over in the United States but made sure she listened into last Saturday’s race.

   London Express is now likely to step up to open class in a $35,000 1200m sprint at Otaki on October 20, although there is an outside chance that she may instead run in the Group 3 $70,000 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua the previous day.

   Trainer Allan Sharrock still thinks the horse is six months away from reaching her peak and, with the onset of firm tracks, he is likely to turn her out for a spell after one more run and bring her back in the autumn.

London Express shows great stretch for a small horse as she dashes clear of her rivals in a $30,000 race over 1200m at New Plymouth last Saturday in the hands of promising apprentice Kozzi Asano.

Pacorus back in winning vein

   It has been a long time between celebration drinks for the connections of Pacorus but the horse returned to his best with a game win in a $35,000 Open 2200m race at Ellerslie last Saturday.

   The eight-year-old Tavistock gelding, part-owned by Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison, was chalking up his 10th win from 50 starts but it was his first success since he took out the $40,000 Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga in June 2017.

   The Morisons bought Pacorus for $15,000 from the 2013 Karaka yearling sales and the horse has now won more than $250,000 in stake money. They have retained a 20 per cent share in the horse, with the other 80 per cent spread among some of their friends and clients of the horse’s Cambridge trainer Chris Wood.

   The Morisons are no strangers to racing success as they shared in the ownership of champion galloper Dundeel, whose glory days on the racetrack saw him rack up 10 wins, six at Group 1 level, and amass stake earnings of more than $5.3million.

   Dundeel is now standing at Arrowfield Stud in New South Wales, Australia, and the Morisons still retain a small shareholding in the stallion.

   Pacorus relished the heavy-10 track conditions at Ellerslie last Saturday and his win followed a good second over 2200m at Ruakaka on September 14.

   Rider Darren Danis positioned the horse perfectly fourth on the fence from the start last Saturday and bided his time until the home straight. He then pushed the gelding through a gap and he shot to the front inside the last 300m.

   Mont Ventoux lodged a likely challenge in the final stages but Pacorus maintained a strong run to the line to win by a long neck.

   “He tried really hard,” successful rider Darren Danis said after the win.

   “We got into the perfect position and, when he got the split, he was really strong to the line.”



Pacorus and jockey Darren Danis hold off the challenge from Mount Ventoux (Christopher Dell) for a long neck win in the 2200m open handicap at Ellerslie last Saturday. It was the horse’s first victory since June 2017.

Authentic Paddy retired

   Hawke’s Bay-owned warhorse Authentic Paddy has been retired from racing after a career of 101 starts that netted 11 wins and 35 placings and just over $780,000 in stake earnings.

  Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta announced this week that the 10-year-old has run his last race, bringing down the curtain on the career of one of the most popular New Zealand-trained thoroughbreds of the past decade.

   Hastings sisters Marilyn Te Paa and Christine Gray and their Havelock North brother Tony Gray own Authentic Paddy in partnership with their Paraparaumu-based brother Phillip and their sister Janice Berry, who lives in Upper Hutt.

   The family members became involved in racehorse ownership through their late uncle Don Robinson, who bred Authentic Paddy as well as his younger half-brother The Rippa.

   “When our uncle passed away we bought Authentic Paddy and The Rippa off his estate,” Te Paa said.

   A consistent black-type performer, who was always relied upon to give his best, Authentic Paddy’s biggest and last victory came in the Group 1 $200,000 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie in December 2017.

   It was a most deserving Group 1 success for the Howbaddouwantit gelding after five placings at the elite level, including two previous third placings in the Zabeel Classic.

   Prior to his Group 1 triumph Authentic Paddy had won the Group 3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) at Riccarton. He was also runner-up in consecutive runnings of the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and third in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.

   Trainer Lisa Latta and the horse’s owners made the decision to retire the horse while he was still in perfect health, with his last race resulting in a seventh out of eight over 2000m at Hastings on September 21.

   “He’s been battling in his last few races,” Latta said.

   “He’s been such a good horse to us that we don’t want to see anything go wrong with him. He’s been retired to a good home and will be well looked after.”

   The great galloper will see out his days on a neighbouring farm to one of his Hawke’s Bay owners.


Danzdanzdance in Waller stable 

   Recently crowned 2018/19 New Zealand Champion Middle Distance horse Danzdanzdance will do her future racing from the Sydney stable of ex-pat kiwi Chris Waller.

   The multiple New Zealand Group 1 winner has been prepared for the majority of her career from the Ruakaka stable of Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley but was transferred into Waller’s care last Monday.

   The Mastercraftsman five-year-old is raced by a large syndicate of owners, headed by former international model Kylie Bax, who purchased the mare from the Blandford Lodge draft for $5000 at the 2016 National Yearling Sale.

   Speaking on behalf of the ownership group, Bax explained the rationale behind the move.

    “We have taken the decision to move Danzdanzdance to Chris Waller primarily to assess her future racing and breeding options in Australia,” Bax said.

   “Chris and Michelle have done a wonderful job to develop her into a genuine Group One contender and we can’t thank them enough.

   “She is however at a little bit of a crossroads as to where she goes from both a racing and breeding perspective, so we wanted to keep her in Australia to examine the best options for her, rather than bring her back to New Zealand, especially after her last start performance which certainly didn’t go as planned.”

   Bax was referring to the mare’s last place finish in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 21 where she trailed the field throughout in a lacklustre display.

   “She had her excuses last time as she was heavily in season,” Bax said.

   “We know that’s not her real ability so we would like Chris to assess her now and provide us with his opinion on where we head with her.”

   The winner of the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) last season, Danzdanzdance was also placed third behind Avilius and He’s Eminent in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) during that campaign and has won four of her 16 career starts.


Pleasing run by Rondinella

   A slashing run for second in last Friday’s Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at The Valley was just what the doctor ordered for trainer Roger James and his quality mare Rondinella.

   James, who prepares the five-year-old Ocean Park mare at Cambridge with training partner Robert Wellwood, was keen to see just how his charge would handle the unique Moonee Valley track as well as her first attempt at racing under lights.

   After being held up at a vital stage approaching the home corner, Rondinella saw daylight a fraction too late as she charged through a gap to finish second to Group 1 winner Princess Jenni.

   James was delighted with the run which was the mare’s second in a campaign that has the iconic Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) back at The Valley on October 26 as her main aim.

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