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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 27 Nov 2020

Feature black type race plans ahead for Shezzacatch

(By John Jenkins)

   Exciting Hastings-trained filly Shezzacatch made it two wins from as many starts with another impressive performance in a $25,000 three-year-old race over 1300m at Awapuni last Saturday.

   The daughter of Savabeel only got home by half a neck but the margin flattered her rivals as jockey Lisa Allpress didn’t over-tax her in the final stages once she knew she had the race won.

   Shezzacatch was also in need of the run as it was her first start for two months.

   She created a huge impression on the first day of this year’s Bostock New Zealand Spring Carnival at Hastings when, as a maiden having her first start, she upstaged several more experienced and better performed three-year-olds in the $50,000 El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m), winning at odds if 36 to one.

   In stark contrast to that day, Shezzacatch started an odds-on favourite at Awapuni last Saturday.

   After being a shade slow to begin, the filly got back to third last in the early stages and started to over-race.

   Allpress got her to settle a lot better coming to the home turn and stuck to the inside, quickly making up several lengths on the leaders. She then angled her for a run between horses inside the last 300m and the filly dashed through to take the lead.

   Such was Shezzacatch’s lightning acceleration that she quickly put a length on the rest of the field but then two others, Love For All and Perfect Scenario, started to mount a challenge late and closed the margin significantly on the line.

   Shezzacatch is prepared at Hastings by the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and they were both pleased with the filly’s performance.

   “I thought her run was good,” Lowry said.

   “She had full blinkers on and probably didn’t see the other horses coming at her late. She ran through the line well when the others came up alongside her, so I thought that was quite good.

   “She will benefit a lot from the run and certainly wasn’t cranked up.”

   Shezzacatch will have her next start in the Group 3 $70,000 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Awapuni on December 12 and another good run then will see her aimed at the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January.

   “The problem will be where to run her between the Eulogy and the Levin Classic,” Lowry said.

   “There isn’t a lot of suitable races around and we may have to give her a jumpout somewhere and a trial to keep her fitness up.”

   Shezzacatch is by Savabeel out of the O’Reilly mare Elusive Nature and was bred by Cambridge-based Tony Rider, a loyal client of the Lowry/Cullen stable.

   He races the filly in partnership with Guy Lowry and his wife Brigid, along with their close friends Paul and Maree Apatu, Grant and Ali Syminton, Sam and Anna Wood and John and Diane Bongard.

   Shezzacatch’s dam Elusive Nature was unraced but is out of the Elusive City mare Elusive Dreams, who was a four race winner and is also the dam of Savvy Dreams, who only won twice but finished third in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham and recorded three Group 1 fourth placings, in the South Australian Derby (2500m) in Adelaide, Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham and Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie.

Shezzacatch responds to a hands and heels ride from jockey Lisa Allpress to stave off her rivals in a 1300m three-year-old race at Awapuni last Saturday. It was the Hastings-trained filly’s second win from as many starts.


Chasing Trentham Group 1 success

   Talented galloper Rock On Wood has two Trentham Group 1 assignments on his agenda in the coming months.

   The Redwood six-year-old, who brought up his seventh win from only 16 starts when successful in the $32,500 Bulls Country Cup (1400m) at Awapuni last Saturday, will now tackle the Group 1 $200,000 Rydges Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham next Saturday.

   Safely through that Levin trainer Leeanne Elliot will then aim the horse at the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham in January, a race he finished an unlucky fourth in last season.

   Rock On Wood was recording back-to-back wins in the John Turkington/Wai Pine Bulls Country Cup, after beating Wyndspelle by a long neck last year. He was ridden in both wins by the trainer’s son Ryan Elliot.

   Rock On Wood only got home by half a head in last Saturday’s feature race at the Rangitikei meeting but it was a game performance as he had to lump 61.5kg and was conceding second placed Weaponry seven and a half kilograms in the handicap.

   Elliot let his mount settle at the back of the five horse field and bided his time until the home straight before asking him for an effort. The horse gradually got the upper hand over his rivals and went to the line strongly.

   Rock On Wood, whose other performances last season included a third in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa, will go into next Saturday’s Captain Cook Stakes a bit more forward than this time last year.

   “He has had two races under his belt this time in, for a second and a win, and this time last year he had just had he one, so he is a little more forward,” she said.

Trainer Leeanne Elliot leads her pride and jockey Rock On Wood away following the horse’s second consecutive win in last Saturday’s Bulls Country Cup at Awapuni.


Synthetic track gets a thumbs up      

   The Cambridge Jockey Club’s new synthetic track has received the tick of approval from jockeys and trainers alike after the first set of official trials were run on it last Tuesday.   

   Leading jockey Samantha Collett was having her second experience of riding on the track, after previously riding at jumpouts earlier this month, and heaped praise on it.

   “I think it is really fantastic,” she said. “The club can be really proud of what they have produced.

   “I was fortunate to have a few rides on it at the jumpouts prior to the trial meeting and it really impressed me then.”

   The jumpouts were conducted in inclement weather and Collett said the track handled just as well then.

   “You could feel the moisture under the horses feet but there were no inconsistencies. It seemed to ride just as well both times.”

   Collett said the track is a godsend for trainers in the region and horses will benefit a lot from trialing and racing on the surface all year-round.

   Trainers spoken to said the track is very forgiving and provides a nice even surface that can be used all year round, especially in the winter months when the turf tracks start deteriorating.

   The first race meeting on the new surface is not scheduled until May of next year.

   Collett said there wasn’t a noticeable difference in the amount of kick-back from the synthetic surface in comparison to New Zealand’s regular turf tracks and the universal consensus in the jockeys room was positive.

   New Zealand’s second synthetic track will soon start construction at the Riccarton racecourse in Christchurch, while another is mooted for the Awapuni track in Palmerston North.


Jockeys to get a pay rise

   Jockeys will receive a pay increase from February 1 next year with flat riding fees going up from $145.23 to $160.00 and jumps race riding fees moving from $197.10 to $220.00.

   In making the decision New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing considered the fact that riding fees had not been increased since August 2018 and also took into account consultation with the NZ Trainers’ Association, NZ Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Federation and the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

   The increase in riding fees is across the board, with the rider engagement fee going up to $80 from $72.61 for flat races and the rider engagement fee for jumps races going from $98.55 to $110.00. Riding fees at trials have also had minimal increases.

   Aligned to the pay increase was a reminder from NZTR to jockeys that there is an expectation that they fulfil obligations around media and communication with owners.

   “Jockeys have an important part to play in the promotion of our industry and, as such, they do need to be aware that a component of their role is to make themselves available to undertake interviews and assist in raising the profile of themselves and the industry overall,” NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said.

   The fee increases will remain in place until the end of the 2021-22 racing season.


Cambridge stablemates favoured 

   The Cambridge training partnership of Roger James and Robert Wellwood will likely line up two of the first three favourites for the next Group 1 race of the season, next Saturday’s $200,000 Rydges Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

   The duo is set to contest the feature event with in-form runners Concert Hall and Hypnos with both horses rated strong chances after coming off impressive last-start wins.

   The TAB has opened a Fixed-Odds Futures market on the race with Concert Hall the present favourite at $3.50 and Hypnos on the third line of betting at $6.00. Splitting them is last Saturday’s impressive Awapuni winner Rock On Wood at $4.00.

   Concert Hall and Hypnos will go into the race with similar form lines.

   Hypnos finished runner-up when fresh up at Hastings in early October before winning the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) there on October 17 and then the Group 2 Coupland’s Mile (1600m) at Riccarton earlier this month.

   Concert Hall has also been on song, winning the Group 3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham and Group 2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) at her last two starts after finishing runner-up over 1400m at Ellerslie first up. 


Hastings Trackwork 24 Nov 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Pleasing workouts by Overstayer and Mohaka and a fast 1000m gallop by Pablo Esk were among the highlights at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Overstayer had co-trainer Mick Brown aboard when working in from the 1000m peg and was stretching out well over the last 800m in 52.8, the last 600 in 39. The big chestnut has not raced since finishing fifth over 2100m on the last day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and looks to have freshened up well. He will have a jumpout at Waipukurau next Monday in preparation for a return to racing at Hastings on December 9.

   Last start Feilding Cup winner Mohaka showed she has trained on the right way since when striding out nicely in a quiet workout over 1000m, the last 800 in 55.2 and final 600 in 41.2. She will now be aimed at the Group 2 Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on December 12.

   Pablo Esk, entered for today’s Otaki meeting, took the time honours for the session when running a solid 1000m in 1:03.9, the last 600 in 36.6. He went a much improved race for third over 1200m at Hastings last start.

   Uncle Bro worked over a round and was timed to run the last 1200m in 1:27.9, the last 600 in 43.6. He could race next in a Rating 65 race over 1560m at Rotorua on Wednesday of next week.

   Velarde, another likely starter at Rotorua next week, was let off with an easy workout today and ran home his last 600m in 42.9. He finished fifth over 1560m at Rotorua last week where he got too far back in the running and then had trouble getting clear in the straight.

   Free Thyme ran a solo 1000m in 1:07.1, the last 600 in 40.4 and is likely to have a jumpout at Waipukurau next Monday before returning to the racetrack. His stablemate Serengeti clocked 52.6 for a solo 800m, the last 600 in 38.3.

   Bellesgirl was let off with an easy 1000m at three-quarter pace, the last 600 in 43.9 while  Blarney also worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m peg and was timed to run the last 400m in 27.9.

   Bellesgirl has been freshened since finishing fifth over 1600m at the end of last month while Blarney could resume from a break in a maiden 2100m race at Hastings on December 9.

   Tuigirl was keen to go a lot faster when hard held over 1000m, the last 800 in 59.6 while Hazel’s Girl ended her work with 400m in 26.1.

   An Alamosa four-year-old gelding and an Ekraar two-year-old filly worked together and came home their lasty 400m in 26.7 while a Per Incanto-Queen Aly four-year-old gelding was timed to run 800m in 56.5. He was an impressive winner at last week’s Taupo trials.

   Parenui ran an easy solo 800m in 59.4, the last 600 in 43.2 while a Savabeel-Miss Pro O’Reilly three-year-old gelding clocked 57.8 for 800m the last 600 in 42.1.A Vadamos two-year-old filly and one by Rageese worked quietly together over 800m, the last 600 in 40.6 while a Sacred Falls-Rosehip three-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable ended her work with 400m in 29.2.

Hawkes Bay Racing Column 20 Nov 2020

King Farouk finally gets it right with Waverley win

(By John Jenkins)

   Hastings-trained King Farouk has frustrated his connections in the past but the talented five-year-old finally put it all together with a decisive maiden win at Waverley last Sunday.

   The Jimmy Choux five-year-old, trained by his co-owner James Bridge, has promised plenty but has been his own worst enemy on occasions. He was side-lined by injuries as a young horse and then ruined his chances by being slow away in three previous starts this campaign.

   The gelding finally began on terms with the rest of the field at Waverley and, after settling midfield in the early stages of the 1400m race, he started to move into a more forward position coming to the home turn.

   In-form apprentice Hazel Schofer was aboard King Farouk and angled the horse to the outside at the top of the home straight and he unleashed a powerful finish to win by three-quarters of a length.

   It was the horse’s first win from seven starts, with his best previous best placing being a second over 1200m at Awapuni in May last year.

   James Bridge bought King Farouk for $1500 from the thoroughbred auction site Gavelhouse and races him in partnership with his father John and other Hawke’s Bay friends, Danny Blair, Buck Dailey and Richard Liley.

   The horse showed immediate potential with two trial wins before a debut second over 1200m at Wanganui in May last year. But he then suffered an injury that side-lined him for 18 months.

   King Farouk resumed this season with a second in a 1000m trial at Foxton in early September and then competed in strong special condition races on all three days of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

   He finished sixth of 12 on the first day, where he missed the start and was last on the home turn before running home strongly late.

   He then lined up over 1300m on the second day where he was again slow away before rushing around the field to dispute the pace coming to the home turn and then weakened to finish eighth of 11.

   The horse’s connections were hoping his starting manners would improve when he stepped out over 1400m on the last day at Hastings but he again gave the others a head-start as they jumped away and was well back on the home turn before running on late for eighth out of 14.

   “We knew he only had to do things right at the start and he would be hard to beat and that’s what happened at Waverley the other day,” a happy co-owner John Bridge said this week.

   King Farouk is certainly bred to win races. His sire Jimmy Choux chalked up 12 wins, five of them at Group 1 level, while his dam Keffiya had 16 starts for four wins, two seconds, two thirds and three fourths.

   John Bridge said King Farouk is likely to have his next start in a Rating 65 race over 1300m at Hastings on December 9 and his connections are hoping that he has finally learnt that he can’t give his rivals a head-start and then try and beat them.

King Farouk stretches out under the urgings of apprentice jockey Hazel Schofer to score a three-quarter length win in a maiden 1400m race at Waverley last Sunday.

John Bridge, part-owner of King Farouk, discusses the horse’s success with winning jockey Hazel Schofer after the race.


Form reversal by Miss Labasa

   Hastings-trained Miss Labasa produced a total form reversal when she led practically all the way in taking out a Rating 74 race over 1400m at Rotorua on Tuesday.

  The five-year-old mare, prepared by John Bary, was the winner of three races from 11 previous starts but had not graced the winner’s stall since taking out a 1400m three-year-old race at Awapuni in January last year.

   She was having her third start in a new campaign following a distant last of 11 runners at Hastings on September 19 and a 13th out of 14 over 1600m at Hastings a month ago.

   At Rotorua on Tuesday the mare jumped away quickly from the inside barrier and jockey Samantha Collett had her clear in front at the end of the first 200m. From there Collett dictated the pace of the race and then kicked her mount clear again rounding he home bend.

   Miss Labasa was starting to tire in the final stages but managed to hold on to win by a neck from the fast finishing Saignon, with three-quarters of a length back to third placed Valetti.

   Miss Labasa was a $30,000 purchase for her Auckland-based owner Narendra Balia from the select session at the 2017 National Yearling Sale.

   She is out of the Charge Forward mare Savoia, who is also the dam of top South Island performer Starvoia, winner of six races including the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui.


Sir Nate back in form after absence

   Sir Nate, who promised plenty when winning four times as a young horse including one at Listed stakes level, made a long awaited return to that sort of form when successful over a middle distance at Awapuni on Friday of last week.

   The Nadeem gelding, trained on the Awapuni track by Lisa Latta, is raced by a syndicate that includes two Hawke’s Bay people, Kathryn Donoghue and Merv Dudley.

   Sir Nate won his first two starts as a two-year-old including the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham and went on to win another race as a juvenile. He was then successful in a Rating 72 race over 1600m at Trentham as a three-year-old before finishing third in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.

   He was unplaced when stepped up in distance in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and he failed to recapture his best form last season.

   But the now five-year-old returned to his best with a game win in the $32,500 open handicap over 2100m on his home track last week.

   The horse began well from the barrier but clipped heels and dipped with a round to go when crowded by Skyphyta, who had come across from a wide draw to take the lead.

   It caused Sir Nate to fire up and he over-raced for the next 300m before jockey Kozi Asano finally got him to settle down third. He then angled him out to challenge for the lead on the home turn and the horse wore down Skyphyta in the run to the line to win by a long neck.

   The addition of blinkers to Sir Nate’s gear probably had a bearing on his improved showing and he also appreciated the reasonably firm track conditions. He certainly has the ability to go on with it now.


Home track success well received

   It has been a long time between celebration drinks for the connections of Akela Belle but the six-year-old mare finally prevailed again when taking out a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 1550m at Awapuni on Friday of last week.

   The Mastercraftsman mare was recording her third victory, the last one being in a Rating 65 race over 2100m at Hastings on January 1, 2019.

   She was having her 16th start since then when stepping out on her home track last week and had indicated another win was not far away by recording a fourth and a third in two previous starts this season.

  She had to overcome difficulties in the running to win last week and credited Palmerston North apprentice Faye Lazet with her first riding success.

   Trained at Awapuni by Lisa Latta, Akela Belle is raced on lease by a large group of people with the 16-member Hawke’s Bay Footy Boys Syndicate having a 25 per cent share.

   The syndicate is managed by Napier-based Heath Caldwell with the other members being Dave Caldwell, Leon Birnie, Perry Cotton, Stuart James, Ian Gearey, David Gearey, Richard Gearey, Mike Daly, Stu Wilson, Russell Booth, David Winson, Steve Clark, Simon Pain, Robbie Parker and Dean Johnston.

   Akela Belle is out of the Al Akbar mare Akela, who was the winner of six races up to 1400m and finished second in the Group 3 Fayette Park Stakes (1400m) at Hawera.


HB syndicate shares in Riccarton win

   Plushenko’s last to first win in a $40,000 race over 2500m at Riccarton last Saturday had six Hawke’s Bay people jumping for joy.

   The six make up The Water Bar Napier No. 2 Syndicate, which has a significant racing share in the Rock ‘N’ Pop six-year-old, who is trained at Waiuku by Grant and Tana Shaw.

   The six are Donna and Mark Carter and Morgan Cook from Napier and Irene and Graeme Downey and their son Josh from Hastings.

   Plushenko was recording his fourth win from 33 starts and his second from his last three outings, after taking out a 2100m event at Te Rapa last month. In between the two wins he had finished a creditable sixth in The Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) on the first day of the New Zealand Cup meeting at Riccarton.

   Plushenko performs best when ridden cold in the early stages of his races and experienced jockey Lisa Allpress adopted perfect tactics, letting the horse drop back to a clear last before setting him alight with 600m to run.

   Allpress managed to pick a path through the field and Plushenko ranged up to challenge for the lead inside the final 300m before surging clear late to win by half a length.


Hickey new Owners President

   Bernard Hickey is the new president of the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association, replacing Tony Lyndon who has stood down after holding the position for more than three decades.

   The club’s annual meeting was held last Sunday with Hickey being appointed president and Hastings thoroughbred trainer Lee Somervell is the new vice-president.

   Tony Lyndon retires as president after 31 years at the helm. He has been an integral member of the Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred racing scene during that time and was awarded the Horlicks Salver several years ago in recognition of his many years of great service to the industry.



Hastings Trackwork 17 Nov 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Shezzacatch, preparing for Saturday’s Rangitikei meeting, turned in an excellent solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Shezzacatch had apprentice jockey Jordan Bassett aboard when working over 1000m in 1:05.9, the last 600 in 37.9. She was striding out well all the way and has obviously thrived since winning a 1000m jumpout at Hastings on Monday of last week.

   The Savabeel filly hasn’t raced since winning on debut in a Listed three-year-old race over 1200m on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival two months ago but is ready to perform well in the set weights and penalties three-year-old race over 1300m at Awapuni this Saturday.

   Sanlorenzo and Saskatchewan were two others who worked well at this morning’s session. They were paired up and sent over 1000m in 1:06.5, the last 600 in 36.6.

   Saskatchewan turned in a much improved performance for sixth over 1400m at Hastings last week and is likely to race next at Wanganui on Saturday week.

   Pablo Esk, another who went a much improved race for third at Hastings last week, also worked over 1000m this morning and was timed to run the last 800 in 51.4 and final 600 in 38.3.

   Free Thyme was not hurried when running 1000m in 1:11.6, the last 600 in 41.6 and he could race next at either Rotorua on December 2 or Hastings on December 9. His stablemate Serengeti also worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m and was timed to run the last 600 in 42.7.

   An Alamosa four-year-old gelding and an Alamosa three-year-old filly worked together over 400m in 26.2 while Magic Incanto was kept to just three-quarter pace when running a solo 1000m.


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 13 Nov 2020

Real Slim Tradie stands up tall with Hastings win

(By John Jenkins)

   Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence has some high aspirations for Real Slim Tradie, who broke through for a game maiden win at last Sunday’s Waipukurau Jockey Club’s meeting at Hastings.

   The Showcasing three-year-old followed up a debut second over 1200m at Trentham last month with a three-quarter length victory over 1300m at Hastings and gives every indication that he will only get better with more time and racing.

   Lawrence, whose husband Steve is among the sizeable number of owners in the horse, said this week she is keen to step him up into black type races in the future.

   “I know it might sound like a bit of a dream but we are going to have a crack at the Wellington Stakes at Otaki at the end of this month,” Lawrence said.

   “And today I chucked in a nomination for the Group 1 New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie in March next year.

   “He might not get to the derby but they are only three once and so I thought we might as well put in a nomination,” she added.

   The Group 3 $70,000 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes is run over 1600m at Otaki on November 26 and is a traditional stepping-stone to some of the major three-year-old races later in the season.

   Lawrence and husband Steve purchased Real Slim Tradie off the Gavelhouse website in March this year, paying $4500 plus GST for the now three-year-old.

   “He had been given a two-year-old Ready To Run preparation but was passed in at that sale for $20,000,” Lawrence said.

   “It took us a while to get him home and then we were held up due to the Covid lockdown so we just concentrated on getting him to relax.

   “He’s a bit spooky still and is a bit dumb and does things wrong but he’s developing and strengthening and is sure to get better with time.”

   Steve Lawrence is a painter by trade and he and Kirsty have managed to get a number of other tradesmen to take up a share in the horse.

   “Some of them are first time owners and there are others who have had horses but never a winner so it was a huge thrill for those who were able to get on course to see the win last Sunday,” Lawrence added.

   The full list of shareholders is Steve Lawrence, Phil and Jo Hayes, Peter and Sonya Barry, Andrew Rochester, Kate Boyden, Sam Elkink, Dion and Chel Adams, Hamish and Shane Overend, Trent Miller and Mark Bland from Hawke’s Bay and Kawerau-based Brent Mitchell.

   Real Slim Tradie certainly has some good breeding to back up his ability. He is out of the Elusive City mare Acapela, who was the winner of four races and finished a close fourth in the Group 2 Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga.

   A full-sister to Real Slim Tradie is Flaunting, who included the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui among her two wins and was also second in the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Otaki as a two-year-old.

   Kirsty Lawrence said Real Slim Tradie is not a typical Showcasing type, with that sire’s progeny normally being short-coupled horses and predominantly sprinters.

   “He is more of a long lean horse and more of a real stayer so stepping him up to 1600 metres shouldn’t be a problem and hopefully he will get further.”

   Ryan Bishop rode Real Slim Tradie to victory last Sunday. The horse was a shade slow to begin and was caught three-wide, in midfield, for almost the entire race. He was even wider turning into the home straight and looked to be labouring with 300m to run before producing an extra effort in the final stages to win well.

   Lawrence said the horse is a big strider who wasn’t that happy in the slow track conditions and that he should be even better on firmer footing.

   Real Slim Tradie is one of nine horses Kirsty Lawrence has in work at the moment but one of only two at racing stage, the other being Pep Torque.

   She alternates Real Slim Tradie’s training between working on the Waipukurau track and beach work and says the variation seems to work well with the horse.

Trainer Kirsty Lawrence leads Real Slim Tradie back to the winner’s stall following the horse’s game maiden victory at Hastings last Sunday.

The connections of Real Slim Tradie show their elation following the horse’s success at Hastings last Sunday.

Basarwa fulfilling his promise

   Hastings-trained Basarwa followed up an impressive trial win at Foxton last month with a decisive winning debut on his home track last Sunday.

   The three-year-old Atlante gelding, prepared by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, started a warm favourite for a maiden 1200m race after cruising to a 3 length win in  a 1000m heat at the Foxton trials on October 29.

   Johnathan Parkes had ridden the horse in the trial win but had to forgo his mounts at Hastings last Sunday so Vinnie Colgan was the replacement jockey.

   Basarwa was hampered at the start and back third last on settling. He was under a ride and still a long way off the leaders coming to the home turn but, once Colgan got him to the outside in the straight, he finished the race off strongly to win by 1-1/4 lengths.

   Basarwa is owned by prominent Wellington thoroughbred owner-breeder Lib Petanga and Masterton bloodstock agent Bruce Perry and they bred the horse out of the O’Reilly mare Kalahari Princess.

   The horse’s grandam was the Maroof mare Zoilus, who was the winner of five races in Australia.

   Perry said this week that he and Patenga bought Kalahari Princess in-foal to Tavistock from Tim Bodle of Whakanui Stud.

   They sold the resultant colt for $80,000 at the 2017 Karaka yearling sales to Australian-based trainer Trent Busuttin but the horse was injured and is unraced at this stage.

   Basarwa is the only other living foal produced by Kalahari Princess, who has since been on-sold, and Perry and Patenga decided to race him together.

   “We thought he wasn’t going to make much at the sales so we might as well put him into work,” Perry recalled.

   Co-trainer Guy Lowry said Basarwa still has a lot to learn but shows plenty of potential and he and partner Grant Cullen are already planning some black type races for the horse.

   “He will run next in either a three-year-old set weights and penalties race over 1400m at Trentham on December 5 or a Rating 65 race over 1400m at Hastings four days later,” Lowry said.

   Providing the horse makes the necessary progress, he could then be aimed at the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January.

Hastings-trained Basarwa and jockey Vinnie Colgan cross the line for a decisive 1-1/4 length win in a maiden 1200m race at Hastings last Sunday.


Melody Belle returns home

   Star Kiwi mare Melody Belle returned home from her hit-and-run raid to Melbourne on Thursday and will now have a three week spell before being prepared for what will be her last racing campaign.

   Ridden by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jye McNeil, Melody Belle added more Australian black-type to her CV with another game performance in finishing third behind Arcadia Queen and Fifty Stars in last Saturday’s Group 1 $2million MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

   John Galvin, who manages the Melody Belle Fortuna Syndicate that owns the multiple New Zealand Horse of The Year and 12-time Group 1 winner, said connections were pleased with the Jamie Richards-trained mare’s performance.

   “Jye said she gave him a great ride in the race. He thought he was on the winner on the turn but she was just a bit flat-footed when the other two horses went past her.

   “He said that if the track had been just a bit off that she would have had a better turn of foot.”

   Galvin said that, although the trip didn’t pay-off in terms of a victory, it was certainly financially worthwhile with a further $A180,000 banked for third, taking the mare’s total earnings to more than $4million.

   While there are no comparisons between Melody Belle and champion mare Sunline, the current day star would equal that great mare’s Group 1 tally of 13 should she add another win at the elite level.

   “Jamie and I have yet to discuss a clear set of plans for her, but our priorities will be to race her in New Zealand until we equal or surpass the ‘Sunline Record’ for Group 1 wins.

   “The Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) is shaping as a nice Group 1 mission for her on February 13 and she would need a lead-up race.

    He added that the Haunui Farm WFA (1600m) at Otaki or the Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie could be other Group 1 assignments in the New Year.

   After that an autumn swansong in Sydney could be on the cards, with the mare then destined to go up for sale at public auction.

   Although she’s sound and we think she could race on as a seven-year-old, she’s had five full seasons of racing,” Galvin said.

   “She doesn’t owe any of us a cent and we don’t want her limping into retirement.”

   The daughter of Commands is raced by a 34-strong syndicate, with Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters owning a 10 per cent share. She is sure to be a highly sought after broodmare upon retirement.

   “It’s been a great thrill for us all. I’m sure there’s going to be a few tears in the eyes when she has her last race but she’s brought so much pleasure to so many people,” Galvin added.


Hastings Jumpouts 9 Nov 2020


(By John Jenkins)


   Classy three-year-old filly Sheezacatch provided the star turn at today’s Hastings jumpouts when she cruised to an impressive win in a 1000m heat

   There were eight jumpouts held up against the running rail on the course proper, which provided slow footing.

   Sheezacatch contested the open heat and apprentice jockey Jordan Bassett hardly moved a muscle on her as she strode clear of her three rivals to win by 1-1/2 lengths from Motivation, with a further 1-3/4 lengths back to Cinzento. Her winning time of 1:03.5 was nearly a second faster than the other two 1000m heats.

   Sheezacatch has not raced since making a winning debut in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) at Hastings on September 19. The Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen trained three-year-old was given a fortnight in the paddock following that victory and has come back in excellent order.

   Lowry said the filly will now contest a 1300m three-year-old set weights and penalties race over 1300m at Awapuni on November 21 as a lead up to the Group 3 $70,000 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Awapuni on December 12.

   Free Bee and Fur were other good winners at the jumpouts.

   Free Bee, a filly from the first crop of Rageese, was also an easy winner of her 780m heat. The two-year-old ran hugged the running rail kept up a strong run to the line to win by six lengths in a time of 52.3s.

   Free Bee is prepared by Sue Thompson and Mick Brown and is out of the Volksraad mare Bizz, making her a half-sister to the New Zealand Cup winner Bizzwinkle.

   Fur overcame a slow start in her 1000m heat before sweeping past her three rivals in the home straight to win by 1-1/4 lengths. She is a mare by Rock ‘N’ Pop who was unplaced in two starts for the Lowry/Cullen stable last season.




Heat 1, 780m: Burgundy 2yr-old gelding (Sammy), Vadamos 2yr-old filly 2, Darci Brahma 2yr-old filly 3. Three starters. Margins: 4 lengths, 6 lengths. Time: 52.9s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 2, 780m: Not A Single Doubt 2yr-old filly (L Hemi) 1, Belardo 2yr-old filly 2, Prince Conti 3yr-old filly 3. Three starters. Margins: 2-3/4 lengths, 2 lengths. Time: 53.9s. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 3, 780m: Free Bee (L Zydenbos) 1, Sophs Away 2, Catch And Release 3. Three starters. Margins: 6 lengths, 20 lengths. Time: 52.3s. Winner trained by Sue Thompson & Mick Brown, Hastings.

Heat 4, 780m: Rock ‘N’ Pop 3yr-old gelding (L Zydenbos) 1, Rainbow Dundee 2, Vin Rouge 3. Four starters. Margins: ¾ length, ½ length. No time taken. Winner trained by John Bary, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: No Rock No Pop (L Zydenbos) 1, Flare 2, Per Incanto-Queen Aly 4yr-old gelding 3. Five starters. Margins: ¾ length, ½ length. Time: 1:04.7. Winner trained by Lee Somervell, Hastings.

Heat 6, 1000m: Fur (J Bassett) 1, Ask Pa 2, Tavistock 3yr-old gelding 3. Four starters. Margins: 1-1/4 lengths, 1 length. Time: 1:04.2. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 7, 1000m: Sheezacatch (J Bassett) 1, Motivation 2, Cinzento 3. Four starters. Margins: 1-1/2 lengths, 1-3/4 lengths. Time: 1:03.5. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 8, 1200m: For Pepe’s Sake (J Bassett) 1, Ghibellines 3yr-old gelding 2, Reliable Man 3yr-old gelding. Four starters. Margins: 1 length, long neck. Time: 1:20.3. Winner trained by Fred Pratt, Hastings


Hawkes Bay Racing Column 6 Nov 2020

Mohaka’s Feilding Cup win was special in many ways

(By John Jenkins)

   The win by Hastings-trained Mohaka in last Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Feilding Cup at Awapuni was especially significant for several reasons.

   Not only was it senior jockey Darryl Bradley’s 100th black type win but it also brought up the 200th success for the Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen. And it was Lowry’s second victory in the 2100m event after he prepared Lilakyn to take out the race in 2005.

   Another significant thing, but on the downside, was that the event carried a stake of $60,000 when Lilakyn won it and it is now worth $10,000 less.

   It was an outstanding training feat by the Lowry/Cullen stable as Mohaka was stepping up hugely in distance after winning over 1200m at Woodville in September and having had only two 1400m runs since.

   Bradley was having his first ride on the mare and he let her roll to the lead with a round to go, dictating the pace from then on. He had her travelling on a nice rein starting the last 800m and put a break on the field by sticking hard up against the inside fence and zipping around the home bend.

   It proved the winning move as Mohaka quickly had a three length advantage and, although Lubaya started to mount a strong challenge in the final stages, she was able to hold on by a short neck.

   Bradley said there was definitely no pre-race plan to lead but he had no option.

   “We jumped out that well and she felt so strong there was no point in dragging her back. I had to use my initiative and had to make the horse feel relaxed and happy in the running," he said.

   "She was travelling really comfortable and, at the half-mile, I thought 'jeez this is good'. I still had plenty of horse underneath me."

   Bradley began race-riding in the early 1980s and, while there had been some stellar career highlights including a Group 1 Doomben Cup on Sapio, it had been three years since he had last won a black-type race, hence why he gave a special victory salute after crossing the line aboard Mohaka.

   Despite finding it harder to land the plum rides in recent times, the 54-year-old former champion jockey feels he is still riding as well as ever.

   He has been one of New Zealand's most successful jockeys and is eighth on the all-time list for most wins in New Zealand behind David Walsh (2451), Chris Johnson (2447), Lance O'Sullivan (2355), Noel Harris (2167), Bill Skelton (2156), Michael Coleman (2131) and David Peake (2093).

   He has now ridden 1811 career winners in New Zealand  with his best season being in 1998-99 when he won the NZ jockeys premiership with a career-best 133 wins. He also broke the 100-win barrier in the 2003-04 season with 106 wins, while in 1999-00 he finished on 99 wins.

   He has also ridden 17 winners in Malaysia and three in Mauritius.

   Despite his record, Bradley said he was finding it hard to get regular rides. Where he was once riding in as many as 600 races a season, he was now averaging between 100-150 and supplements his income by being the track manager at the Foxton racecourse.

   But he says he has no plans to retire from race-riding just yet.

   Mohaka was chalking up her third win from 19 starts but has also recorded 10 minor placings, including three in Listed black type races as a three-year-old. She finished second in the Warstep Stakes (2000m) and third in the Zacinto Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton and was also third in the Wanganui Guineas (1340m).

   Guy Lowry is the first to admit that Mohaka has not been an easy horse to train. She is a former barrier rogue and sometimes needs the encouragement of a whip just to get her in to action at Hastings trackwork sessions.

   The mare was on a quick back-up last Saturday after finishing fifth over 1400m at Trentham the previous Saturday and, although stepping from a sprint to a middle distance was always going to be challenging, Lowry said he was following the methods used by the late champion Australian trainer Bart Cummings.

   Lowry spent several years working for the Cummings stable as a young man and says that is where he learnt the art of training racehorses.

   “It was very common for Bart to give a horse a 1200m sprint, a 1400m sprint and then straight into a 2000m race,” Lowry said this week.

   “This mare had three sprint races before stepping to 2100m and it has always been our plan to get her back up to a middle distance.”

  Mohaka was bred by Lowry’s Taupo-based father Pat who races her in partnership with two other Taupo people, Len Vickers and Lissie Hobson, as well as Hawke’s Bay couple Fred and Juliet Coates.

   The daughter of Nadeem mare is out of the No Excuse Needed mare Diplomacy, who was the winner of four races and does have some staying blood in her pedigree.

   Lowry said Mohaka will now be given a two week spell and then be aimed at the Group 2 $100,000 Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on December 12 followed by the $50,000 Taupo Cup (2000m) on December 30.

   Winning the Taupo Cup would be special for the mare’s breeder Pat Lowry, who is a past president of the Taupo Racing Club.

   Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen began training in partnership 10 years ago, after both had successfully trained on their own. They have produced a steady stream of winners since including a Group 1 winning double in the Telegraph Sprint at Trentham, with Irish Fling (2014) and Adventador (2016), and the 2017 Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings with Wait A Sec.

Hastings-trained Mohaka stretches her neck out to cling on for victory after leading practically all the way in last Saturday’s Feilding Cup at Awapuni.

The Hastings training partners Grant Cullen and Guy Lowry brought up their 200th win together when Mohaka took out last Saturday’s Feilding Cup.


More success for HB owner

   The good run being enjoyed by Hastings thoroughbred owner Peter Grieve continued last Saturday when Toscanini won a $A38,000 maiden race over 1250m at Newcastle, in Australia.

  Grieve is a part-owner of The Cossack and got to lead the horse back to the winner’s stall after he won the $125,000 Great Northern Hurdles (4200m) at Ellerslie on October 17.

   He is also part of a large group of people that race Toscanini from the Warwick Farm stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

   The three-year-old Fastnet Rock colt was having his fifth start and had previously recorded two seconds, a third and a fifth.

   He was a $270,000 purchase from the 2019 Karaka yearling sales and is out of the High Chaparral mare Soubrettes, whose five wins included the Group 3 Stewards Handicap (1200m) at Riccarton.

   Toscanini was ridden to victory last Saturday by former New Zealand jockey Rory Hutchings, who settled the horse into a perfect trail behind the leader before lodging his claim early in the home straight. The colt raced away over the final stages for an impressive 1-3/4 length win.


Three new NZTR board members

   The Members’ Council of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) announced three new appointments to the NZTR Board on Wednesday.

   The new appointees - Darryll Park, Andrew Fairgray and Mike Clarke - will take up their positions following the NZTR annual meeting on Tuesday, November 17.

   At that time chairman Dr Alan Jackson and board members Victoria Carter and Rick Williams will depart.

   Dr Jackson stated that, while it has been a challenging time to lead the organisation in difficult times, he has been proud of the collective efforts of his fellow board members.

   “My five-year stint as the NZTR Chair has included the introduction of the Health & Safety in the Workplace Act, the Messara Review, the Racing Industry Act and, in the final few months, the Covid-19 crisis,” Dr Jackson said.

   Departing deputy chair Victoria Carter has played a significant part in representing New Zealand racing on the international stage during her seven years on the Board, specifically around participant welfare.  A highlight being chairing a welfare panel at the Asian Racing Conference.

    The third Board member to leave this year, Rick Williams, has been a major contributor in the area of the business of racing, including work on venues and integrity.

   Those replacing this trio were appointed following a robust interview process for the positions, which attracted 32 applicants.

   Darryll Park (Christchurch) is a seasoned Director with experience with the Crusaders Rugby Franchise. He has previously held executive roles within Air NZ and Christchurch & Canterbury Marketing and is a life member of the Canterbury Jockey Club.  He is a fellow of the NZ Institute of Management and an Accredited Member of the Institute of Directors.

   Andrew Fairgray (Auckland) brings a blend of entrepreneurial, data and IT knowledge to the Board table.  Having held lead roles with 2degrees, where he is currently Chief Business Officer, Vodafone and Alcatel, Andrew is also a former Board member of the Auckland Racing Club and is a racehorse owner.

   Mike Clarke (Auckland) is a partner at KPMG with a background in accountancy and management training.  His expertise is in the areas of gaming, IT, hospitality and tourism and he is also a previous owner of racehorses.

   As flagged in Wednesday’s announcement, the Members’ Council has proposed amendments to the constitution which would allow the NZTR Board to comprise between five and seven directors. 

   Should this constitutional change be approved it is the Members’ Council intention to appoint Bruce Sherwin to the Board.

   Bruce Sherwin (Hamilton) provides extensive racing knowledge across a broad number of areas and jurisdictions.

   On behalf of the Members’ Council, chairman Paul Humphries said the Council was very impressed with the quality and depth of the applicants for the roles.

  “The combination of the new appointees and the incumbent NZTR Board members – Jason Fleming, Cameron George and Bruce Sharrock – provides the right blend of abilities, skill sets and racing knowledge to shape and lead the industry through changes going forward due to the Racing Industry Act 2020 coming into effect,” he said.


Robertson new Racing Minister

   For the second term in succession, the Deputy Prime Minister will also be the Minister for Racing in New Zealand. 

   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed the ministerial positions for the new Government, with Grant Robertson being promoted to Deputy Prime Minister.

   In addition to Deputy PM duties, Robertson will continue to serve as Finance Minister and also focus on infrastructure, sport and recreation and racing.

   Robertson replaces Winston Peters, who played a key role in ensuring the racing industry received a $72.5 million COVID-19 emergency support package in May, a lifeline for the industry and its 15,000 full-time employees.


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