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A smart 800-metre sprint by Hunta Pence and a solid workout by Cafe Culture were among the highlights in a reasonably busy session at the Hastings track this morning.

   Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided good footing. A penetrometer reading was taken on the course proper during the session and came up as a dead-4 and was to be further irrigated today.

   Hunta Pence sped over 800 metres on his own in very quick 46.6s, coming home the last 600 in 34.8. He is a No Excuse Needed three-year-old trained by Butch Thomas and is entered for a Maiden 1400-metre race at Tauherenikau next Saturday, with Robert Hannam booked to ride him.

   Cafe Culture is another preparing for Saturday’s Wairarapa meeting where he will be stepped up to a middle distance for the first time. This morning he worked over a round on the plough and was timed to run his last 800 metres in 49.2, the final 600 in 36.6. He will contest the Rating 85 race over 2050 metres at Tauherenikau.

   Hoskins rounded off her preparation for Friday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting by working in at three-quarter pace from the 1000-metre peg and speeding up from the 800 in 51, the last 600 in 36.8. She did not have much luck when seventh on debut over 1200 metres at Waipukurau earlier this month.

   Adventador, entered for the 1300-metre open sprint at Hastings on New Year’s Day, was kept under a strong hold when running 1000 metres in 1:13.2, the last 600 in 43.1. All of his best form has been at 1200 metres but he looks in good order and has a great record on his home track.

   The promising three-year-old filly Goodsav ended her work with an easy 600 metres in 40.6s. She has come back well after a brief freshen up and trainer Patrick Campbell has been working her in blinkers, which seems to make her concentrate a bit more. She is being aimed at the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30 and may start in a Rating 75 race over 1600 on the first day of the Wellington Cup meeting as a lead up.

   Chic, a last start winner at Hastings on December 10, was let off with an easy 1000 metres this morning in 1:12.9, the last 600 in 43. She will contest a Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at Hastings on Friday and is one of up to eight likely starters at the meeting from the Lowry/Cullen stable.

   A Redoute’s Choice-Cierzo two-year-old filly strode out well over 800 metres in 50.9, coming home the last 600 in an excellent 36.6s. She is a half-sister to the five time Group 1 winner Jimmy Choux.

   Edge Of Glory was only going slowly in the early stages of her solo 1200-metre workout but sped up over the last 600. She recorded 1:24.3 for the full distance, the first 600 taking 47.2 and the last 600 in 37.1. She is likely to start in the Rating 65 race over 2100 metres at Hastings on Friday.

   Powerade was not hurried when running a solo 1000 metres in 1:11.8, the last 600 in 41.7 while Rocky Ride did similar work and was timed to run his 1000 metres in 1:14.8, the last 600 in 42.7.

   Missy Moo had trainer Sue Thompson aboard when running 1200 metres in 1:22, the last 600 in 38.1 while Broadwalk ran an easy 1200 metres in 1:26, the last 600 in 41.7. They are two other likely starters at Hastings on New Year’s Day.

   Wait A Sec, back in the Lowry/Cullen stable after a good break, ended his work with 800 metres in 52.5, the last 600 in 37. He may have a run at the Hastings jumpouts next Tuesday.

   My Tommy ended his work with an easy 600 metres in 43.7 while In Another Life also work easily over 600 metres in 43.6.

   Illy Lily worked in from the 600-metre peg in 44.2 and was only let stride out over the last 400 metres in 26.8. She could start next in a 1000-metre maiden at Tauherenikau on January 2.


  Cafe Culture rounded off his preparation for Saturday’s Manawatu meeting with another good solo workout at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Once again there was very little in the way of fast work, which was confined to the plough (good).

   Cafe Culture worked over 800 metres in 52.4, running the first 200 in an easy 14.7s and then coming home strongly over the last 600 in 37.7. The big Citi Habit six-year-old has to lump topweight of 61.5kg in the Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at Awapuni on Saturday but should still prove one of the hardest to beat. Rosie Myers will again have the mount.

   Ily Lily was timed to run an easy 600 metres in 43s and was only stride out over the final 400 metres. She is a Per Incanto filly trained by Kim Grant.

   A Tavistock four-year-old mare and a Nom du Jeu three-year-old gelding, both prepared by Corrina McDougal, worked over 1200 metres in 1:29.6, running the first 600 metres in a slow 49.7 before increasing the speed over the last 600 in 39.9.

   Pak A Punch, a Per Incanto three-year-old in the Lowry/ Cullen stable, was restricted to just three-quarter pace, running the last 600 metres in 45s.


Bigger plans now for Hastings-trained Chic 16 Dec 2015

   Promising three-year-old filly Chic will now be aimed at black type races next month following a game return to winning form at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   The Savabeel filly showed great tenacity at the end of the Rating 65 race over 1400 metres, fighting back after being momentarily headed to get the decision by a long head over Docket, with third placed Chop Suey 1-3/4 lengths further back.

   The result was a Hastings-trained quinella, with Chic prepared on the course by the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and Docket from the stable of John Bary.

   Lowry and Cullen have always held Chic in high regard and thought about aiming the three-year-old filly at last month’s Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton after she scored an impressive maiden win over 1600 metres at Tauherenikau in October. They sent her south but she only managed sixth out of 10 in a minor three-year-old race at Riccarton on October 24 so it was decided to bring her home and give her a brief freshen up.

   Last week’s win was her first start back since the break and she will start next in a Rating 75 race over 1600 metres at Hastings on New Year’s Day.

   Guy Lowry said this week the main aim for the filly is the Group 3 $70,000 Wellfield Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30 but she also holds a nomination for the Group 1 $225,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 16.

   “We will decide where she will go after her race at Hastings on New Year’s Day but she is a tough filly and has come through her last start win very well,” he said.

   Chic was bred by Cambridge-based Tony Rider and is now raced by Guy Lowry’s parents Pat and Jane Lowry along with Joanna Lowry, Hawke’s Bay businessman Charlie Bridgeman and the H.O.T. Syndicate.

   The H.O.T. Syndicate is a group of Hawke’s Bay people who have raced other horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable in the past. The syndicate is managed by Megan Harvey, with the other members being her husband Jim, Mick and Dawn Small, Pat Walshe, Patrick O’Rourke, Robert Kale and Sam and Jenny Nelson.

   Goodsav, another talented Hastings-trained three-year-old, is back in work with trainer Patrick Campbell after a two week freshen up and is also now being aimed at the Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 30.

   The Savabeel filly created a big impression when winning her first two starts before an unlucky last start ninth in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki on November 27, where she got badly knocked around during the race.

   Goodsav will contest either a $20,000 three-year-old race over 1400 metres at the Marton meeting on January 9 or a Rating 75 race over 1200 metres at Trentham on January 16 as a lead up to the Desert Gold Stakes.



Steppenwolf was in tune

   Hastings-trained Steppenwolf went some way towards living up to his excellent breeding when scoring a maiden win at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting at Hastings.

   The three-year-old colt is by Stravinsky out of the Zabeel mare Queen of Keros and a grandson of the dual Group 1 winner Maurine.

   Steppenwolf is trained by John Bary and was having his second start, following an unlucky seventh on debut over 1200 metres at Rotorua on November 6. On that occasion he began awkwardly and was caught three-wide in the open for much of the race and still finished not much more than 4 lengths from the winner.

   He stepped up to 1400 metres at Hastings last week and rider Lisa Allpress bounced him out quickly from barrier eight to get across and lead at the end of the first 200 metres. She then dictated the pace before opening up a 3 length margin on the opposition early in the home straight.

   Steppenwolf was starting to tire towards the finish but held out the fast finishing Sacred Shot by a neck, with2-1/4 lengths back to third placed Seraphim.

   Bred by Blandford Lodge Stud, Steppenwolf was passed in for $20,000 at the 2014 premier session of the Karaka yearling sales, with a reserve of $30,000.

   He is now raced by Kylie Bax in partnership with Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, New Plymouth couple Jim and Gloria Martin and Wayne and Denise Darling.

   A half-brother to Steppenwolf, by Cape Blanco, will be part of the Blandford Lodge draft being offered at the select session of next month’s Karaka yearling sales.

   The dam Queen of Keros was a winner at 1400 metres and is a full-sister to the good stayer Six O’Clock News, whose eight wins included a City Of Auckland Cup (2400m). Blandford Lodge sold her for $16,000 at a Karaka mixed bloodstock sale in May and she is now owned by Monovale Holdings.

   The second dam Maurine was the winner of nine races, including two Avondale Cups and was also placed in a Group 1 Air New Zealand Stakes (2000m).


Cafe Culture resumes

   Talented Hawke’s Bay galloper Cafe Culture steps out on the racetrack again at tomorrow’s second day of the Manawatu Racing Club’s Christmas meeting.

  The Citi Habit gelding will contest the $25,000 Rating 75 race over 1600 metres in what will be his first start since winning over the same distance at Woodville a month ago.

   Owner-trainer Margaret Larsen brought Cafe Culture into the Hastings track on Tuesday and gave him a solid 1000-metre workout on the plough. He looked to be striding out well over the stages of the gallop and ran the last 600 metres in 37.9.

   The six-year-old has a record of four wins and two thirds from only seven starts.

   Cafe Culture is topweight with 561.5kg for tomorrow’s Awapuni race and one of his main opponents is likely to be Tiger Tim, another Hastings-trained last start winner. The big Alamosa four-year-old is stepping back up in distance after his nose victory in a 1340-metre race at Wanganui on November 28.

   Bary gave Tiger Tim a run at last Friday’s Hastings jumpouts, where he finished third behind Don’t Change and Hugo The Boss in a 750-metre heat.

   Hugo The Boss will also line up at tomorrow’s Manawatu meeting as he furthers his preparation for the Listed $1million Karaka Million (1200m) on January 24.

   He has apparently taken no harm from the unfortunate events at Trentham where he tailed the field home in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes. He was subsequently declared a late scratching after it was confirmed his gate had flicked back and struck him in the head and knee.

   “He had a quiet jump-out last Friday and he’s showing no ill effects at all,” Bary said. “It was unfortunate, but something you can’t do anything about.”

   Hugo The Boss had previously been a runaway debut winner over 1000 metres at Tauherenikau.


Ellerslie to honour Cassidy

   Recently-retired champion jockey Jim Cassidy will be guest of honour at Ellerslie’s premier day on March 5.

   “The ARC is excited to welcome Jimmy as our special guest for BMW Derby Day,” chief executive Cameron George said. “Jimmy is a legend of the turf on both sides of the Tasman and it’s only fitting the ARC acknowledges his career.”

   A member of the Racing Hall of Fame in both Australia and New Zealand, the 52-year-old won two Melbourne Cups, two Caulfield Cups, a Cox Plate, a Golden Slipper and 104 Group 1 events.


Group One winner to Australia

   Top filly Risque will do her future racing in Australia under the guidance of Victorian trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

   She was prepared to win the Group1 NZ 1000 Guineas for Dick Karreman’s The Oaks Stud by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.

   “She had some time in the paddock and has been on the walker before going back into full work, but Dick has made the decision to send her to David Hayes,” racing manager Rick Williams said.

   “I can understand his reasoning - there are so many opportunities for her over there. It’s called reality.

   “Whether she’s prepared for the ATC Oaks or perhaps the South Australian Oaks or the Queensland three-year-old races will be up to David to decide once he gets her going.”


Vavasour aimed at two miles

   Waikato Cup winner Vavasour might get two cracks at 3200 metres in the autumn.

   The four-year-old is an $8 favourite for the Group1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup on March 12 and the Group 1 Sydney Cup, on April 9, is also on her radar.

   The Sydney Cup had a stake of A$1 million in 2014, but increased to $A1.6 million this year and has had another stakes boost for 2016.

   Meanwhile, Vavasour will be one of the beneficiaries of the change in conditions for the Auckland Cup this term.

   The Redoute’s Choice mare carried 59kg when winning last weekend’s Group 3 Waikato Cup, but will drop to 55kg in the Auckland Cup, which will be run under set weights and penalties for the first time.



Star galloper joins Marsh

   Singapore Horse of the Year War Affair is now in the stable of expatriate Kiwi trainer Bruce Marsh.

   The multiple Group One winner was one of five horses moved by the Warplan Racing Stable from Alwin Tan to Marsh.

   The winner of 14 of his 20 starts, War Affair hasn’t raced since he finished runner-up in the Group 1 Singapore Derby in July.

Parkes adds another cup success at Waipukurau 10 Dec 2015

Wanganui jockey Johnathon Parkes is fast gaining the tag as the “Cups King” of Waipukurau.

   The 26-year-old got Hastings-trained No Change home a clear cut winner of the $10,000 Leopard Hotel Christmas Cup at last Saturday’s Waipukurau meeting and has now won five cup races on the track in the last three years.

   The Waipukurau Jockey Club stage two race days a year, with the John Turkingtons Waipukurau Cup being the feature race at the club’s March meeting.

   Parkes rode Show The Beel to win that 2200-metre event in 2012 and added a second success in the race aboard Slazenjah in March this year. His win on No Change last Sunday brought up his third successive Leopard Hotel Christmas Cup victory, the others being aboard Pearls in 2013 and Casino Jack last year.

   Parkes certainly has a great affinity with the Waipukurau track as Slazenjah was one of four winners he kicked home at last March’s Waipukurau meeting, the others being Not Allowed, Ripe and Werther.

   No Change credited Hastings trainer Paul Nelson and his wife Carol with their second cup win on the track after No Cash won them the 2011 Waipukurau Cup.

   The Nelsons bred No Change, who is a seven-year-old gelding by Shinko King out of the Grosvenor mare Grosveness. He has now won them five races from 29 starts and could now target some of the major cup races in the Central Districts over the next couple of months.

   “I think you should look at something decent with him now,” Parkes told Paul Nelson after last Sunday’s win.

   “The way he is going he would have to be a chance in a bigger cup race.”

   Nelson said he may now consider both the Group 3 $100,000 Manawatu Cup (2300m) at Awapuni on December 19 and the Listed $55,000 Marton Cup (2200m) on the same track on January 9 for the horse.

   Parkes got No Change to settle perfectly 7th and one off the fence in the early stages of last Sunday’s 2200-metre race and then brought him out wider on the turn to lodge his claim. The Shinko King seven-year-old kept up a strong run to the line to win by 1-3/4 lengths from Savarhys, who just managed to nose out Maitre Du Jeu for second.

   Grosveness, the dam of No Change, died earlier this year but has also left four other good performers from the Nelson stable in Ho Down (8 wins), No Cash (7 wins), No Governance (3 wins) and No Credit (2 wins).

   The Nelsons now have an unraced three-year-old by Mettre En Jeu out of Grosveness coming on.


Mixed results

   Hastings trainer John Bary and his Australian-based client Heath Newton experienced bitter-sweet results on New Zealand racetracks last weekend.

   Newton, who lives in Wagga Wagga, is a major operator in the Australian meat industry. He owns the John Bary-trained The Bandito, who  broke through for a well deserved maiden win at last Sunday’s Waipukurau meeting. But 24 hours earlier the two men were rueing their misfortune when stablemate Hugo The Boss was declared a late scratching in the Group 2 $100,000 Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham after the starting gates malfunctioned.

   Newton owns a 10 per cent shareholding in Hugo The Boss as a member of the Best Dressed Syndicate that races the two-year-old from the Bary stable.

  The Stratum colt was a $100,000 purchase from the premier session at last January’s Karaka yearling sales and is out of the Zabeel mare Dressed.

   Hugo The Boss scored an impressive debut win over 1000 metres at Tauherenikau on October 8 and Bary had high hopes of another top performance in last Saturday’s 1200-metre stakes race at Trentham. But, when the starter pushed the button to release the field, the front gate in Hugo The Boss’s stall sprung back and struck the horse severely on the head and leg.

   Jockey Jonathan Riddell managed to get Hugo The Boss balanced up and into a reasonably handy position after about 200 metres but the horse was never striding out freely at any stage and dipped twice before Riddell eased him out of the race over the final stages.

   A judicial inquiry after the race found that Hugo The Boss was not afforded a fair start and he was declared a late scratching.

   Whilst the large number of punters that backed Hugo The Boss into favouritism were happy to get their money back trainer John Bary was justifiably furious that such a barrier malfunction could cost his horse so much. He had a valuable colt contesting a Group 2 event worth $100,000 and was using the race as a lead up to the $1million Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 24.

   Bary said this week that Hugo The Boss had a noticeable green strip of paint down his offside knee following the race and also had some swelling and bruising to his head. He said the horse was lucky not to suffer any serious injury but is concerned over what sort of affect the incident could have on such a young inexperienced horse.

   “You have just got to hope that it won’t have a lasting effect on him,” Bary said.

   He added that he will now give the horse a quiet jumpout, probably at Hastings today, to try and get his confidence back.

   The Bandito capped off a string of minor placings with a decisive 1-1/4 length win over 1200 metres at last Sunday’s Waipukurau meeting.

   The Pins four-year-old was having his fifth start in a new campaign and the victory followed two seconds and a third.

   Winning jockey Rosie Myers said The Bandito was not an easy ride as he tended to want to over-race in the running but the horse still maintained a strong finish to comfortably hold out the first starter Beefeater and Elusive Boxers.

   The Bandito was initially a $50,000 purchase from the 2013 premier yearling sale at Karaka. He was re-offered for sale at that year’s Two-year-old Ready To Run sale but passed in at $75,000, with a reserve of $100,000.

   His dam Reputedly was an unraced Quest Of Fame mare who has now had six foals to race and all of them have been winners, including the Group 3 Australian winner Stickpin.


Winning double  

   The Te Awamutu father and daughter training partnership of Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney campaigned horses for the first time on the Waipukurau track last Sunday and came away with two wins, two fourths and a sixth from five runners over the eight race programme.

   They won with The Keept Lady in a Maiden 1400-metre race and Royal Power in a Maiden 1600-metre event and were in line for a $3500 trainers’ bonus going into the last race.

   The Waipukurau Jockey Club, in conjunction with Dunstan Horsefeeds, puts up a bonus for the first trainer to achieve three wins on a Waipukurau race day. The Sanders/Sweeney stable won races five (The Keept Lady) and seven (Royal Power) but could only manage a sixth with Keandra in the final event.    


Lengthy ban for Waddell

   Jockey Jason Waddell has been handed a lengthy disqualification from charges laid by the Racing Integrity Unit.

   He has been found guilty of improper riding following an incident at the Avondale trials in September and acting detrimentally to the interests of racing.

   Waddell was given a six month disqualification on the first charge and 12 months on the second with both to be served concurrently.

   He will have to undergo counselling and present a psychiatric or psychological report that addresses anger management and abuse issues if he applies to have his licence renewed.


Tauranga outing for Xtravagant

   Runaway New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Xtravagant will make an appearance at today’s Tauranga race meeting.

   The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained Group 1 winner will have an exhibition gallop between races ahead of his return to racing in a three-year-old event over 1400 metres at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

   Xtravagant’s main summer aim is the Group1 $225,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 16 and his connections will then decide on a Melbourne or Sydney campaign for the colt.


Noble accepts new training role

   Lance Noble is to close his Matamata stable next year to take up a challenge further north.

  The 48-year-old has accepted the position as private trainer to breeder-owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay at their state of the art operation at Karaka.

   Noble has trained more than 400 winners with the high-class mare and multiple Group 1 winner Viadana his flagship performer.

   “We have notified our staff and clients of our plans, which essentially mean closing our Matamata stable at the end of March and moving to Karaka,” he said.

   “It’s a fresh challenge which, now that we’ve made our decision, we’re very much looking forward to.”




   Cafe Culture showed he has trained on well since his last start win when working strongly on his own at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Cafe Culture worked in from the 1200-metre peg and was timed to run the last 1000 metres in 1:5.3 and final 600 in 37.2. He pulled up well after the workout and is likely to start next in a Rating 85 race over 1600 metres at the Manawatu meeting on December 12. His owner-trainer Margaret Larsen says she would like to then step the horse up to a middle distance.

  Gold Moet was another who worked keenly this morning when running 1000 metres in 1:2.2, the last 600 in 36.5. He has been disappointing in his three starts this campaign, where he has disputed the pace until the home turn and stopped. He will be given another chance at the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Thursday week.

   His stablemate Zed Leppelin had trainer Sue Thompson aboard when working over a round and was timed to run from the 1200-metre peg in 1:23.4, the last 600 in 39.1. He could start at either Trentham this Saturday or the Hawke’s Bay meeting next week.

   Shezgorgeous, a likely runner in the Rating 85 1400 at Trentham this Saturday, was restricted to just three-quarter pace and was timed to run her last 600 metres in 45.7s.

   Oscar’s Shadow was another who was kept to not much more than three-quarter pace when running 10900 metres in 1:12, the last 600 in 41.3.

   Speed King work over a round at three-quarter pace, quickening slightly over the last 600 in 40.3 while Irish Star ran an easy 800 metres on his own, the last 600 in 40.3. He is a three-year-old colt by Starcraft out of Irish Belle, making him a half-brother to the Telegraph Handicap winner Irish Fling.

   Satin Ridge underwent a round of strong half-pace  before speeding up over a second round and coming home the last 800 metres in 53.3, the final 600 in 39.8. He is unlikely to start again until closer to Christmas.

   Beautiful Man worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000-metre peg in 1:10.6, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 40.2 while stablemate Chic underwent similar work and clocked 1:12.4 for 1000 metres, the last 600 in 40.6.

   Razzle Dazzle Man and Rocky Road worked together over 800 metres in 54.2 while Lamborghini and a Guillotine-Mal three-year-old gelding ended their work together with an easy 600 metres in 43.7s.


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