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   Shez Ekstra and Allacciato, two members off the Lowry/Cullen stable preparing for races next week, were both striding out well at the finish of a strong workout together at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided good footing after plenty of rainfall over Christmas.

   Shez Ekstra and Allacciato worked in from the 1000m peg in 1:6.7, running the first 400m in a leisurely 28.8 before speeding up over the last 600 in 37.9. Both horses were working well.

   Shez Ekstra will make a fresh start in the three-year-old race over 1400m at Tauherenikau on January 2 where Rosie Myers will ride her while Allacciato will kick off a fresh campaign in a maiden fillies & mares 1400 at Hastings on New Year’s Day. Bridget Grylls has been booked ride her.

   Polizzi and If Only I Knew were two others who hit out well when running 800m together in 51.7, the last 600 in 36.9. They are both in Kate Hercock’s stable with Polizzi likely to line up at Hastings on New Year’s Day and If Only I Knew at Tauherenikau the following day.

  Getsuyobi and Je M’appelle Jazz took the time honours for the morning when they sprinted 800m together in 50.9, the last 600 in 36.9. They were both scratched from today’s Rotorua meeting and will start instead at Taupo this Sunday.

   Peso, preparing for the City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, was kept under a good hold when working over a round and was timed to run the last 1000m in 1:11.9 and final 600 in 41.7. He went a much improved race for second over 2000m at Awapuni last start and should be at peak fitness for the 2400m Ellerslie feature. Rosie Myers will again be the rider.

   Vickezzmoet finished ahead of Matt Kane at the end of 1000m in 1:6, the last 600 in 38.4. Vickeezmoet will line up in the Rating 65 1400 at Hastings on New Year’s Day with Bridget Grylls the rider.

   Estefania, a possible starter in the Rating 65 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau, worked over a round on her own and was timed to run the last 1200m in 1:20.4, the final 600 in 38.5.

   Sheer Elegance, another horse trainer Lee Somervell intends starting at Taupo on Sunday, clocked 51.1 for a solo 800m gallop, the last 600 in 37.5. She has been disappointing in her races to date but won a recent Hastings jumpout over 750m, beating subsequent impressive winner The Fugitive.

   Last start winner Real Beach was not extended when running a solo 800m in 55.7, the last 600 in 40.7. She is likely to start next over 2100m at Awapuni on January 5.

   Jaguary, preparing for the Maiden 2050 at Tauherenikau, worked over a round on his own and was timed to run the last 1200m in 1:23.3 and final 600 in 39.8. Rosie Myers has been booked to ride him.

   Uncle Bro, who will line up in the Maiden 1600 at Hastings on New Year’s Day, worked over 1000m on his own in 1:9.2, the last 600 in 40.5 while Carillion and a Per Incanto-Tick Tock Time three-year-old gelding ran an easy 1000m in 1:14.9, the last 600 in 41.1. Carillion contests the Rating 65 race over 100m at Hastings with apprentice Hunter Durrant the rider.


Hastings youngster The Fugitive too slick for rivals 27 Dec 2018

   Exciting Hastings two-year-old The Fugitive has the Group 1 $200,000 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in March as his main New Year assignment.

   The son of Australian-sire Wanted created a huge impression when leading all the way for a dominant 2-1/2 length debut win over 1100m at Awapuni last Saturday and looks a future star.

   The gelding gave his connections and backers a bit of a scare when he got away from a barrier attendant just as he was about to be loaded into his stall and cantered off down the track. Fortunately he was quickly caught by the clerk of the course and was cleared to race after a veterinary inspection.

   In an amazing show of early speed The Fugitive began like a bullet from the barrier and proved far too slick for his eight rivals. Myers kept him just over a length in front until the home turn where she kicked him clear and they never looked like being caught.

   Qiji Spirit proved the best of those chasing him home, also producing an impressive performance to come from second last on the home turn to get second by a short neck from Platinum Touch.

   The Fugitive’s win was especially significant for his Hastings trainer John Bary as it provided him with his 200th training success. It was his 11th win for the season and he is currently in the top 20 on this season’s premiership.

   Bary, who has 34 horses in work, has labelled The Fugitive as the best juvenile in his stable.

   “He’s my number one two-year-old, he’s always been at the top of the pecking order just on professionalism on the track,” he said. “We have just been waiting to unleash him really.”

   While only having the one start to date, Bary is already holding the colt in high esteem, mentioning him in the same breath as Group 1 performer The Hombre and five-time Group 1 winner Jimmy Choux.

   “I feel he is reminiscent of The Hombre and Jimmy Choux in their two-year-old days,” Bary said.

   “Time will tell, we don’t know what we beat last Saturday, but he’s the real deal, I have got no doubt about that.”

   The Fugitive is likely to start next in a $30,000 two-year-old race over 1200m at Trentham on January 12 and then the Group 3 $70,000 Reid & Harrison Limited Slipper (1200m) at Matamata on February 23 before the Sistema Stakes (1200m) on March 9.

   “The Group One in Auckland is the main aim,” Bary said. “Jimmy (Choux) ran third in it and he’s the only other runner I’ve had in it.”

   The Fugitive was bred by Hawke’s Bay couple Richard and Liz Wood and was named by latter. They race the horse on a 50/50 basis with their good friends, Havelock North couple Andrew and Lauren Scott.

   The Woods bred and raced Jimmy Choux and it was when that horse went to stud that they decided to purchase some well bred mares to mate with him, one of them being The Fugitive’s dam Diva von Tessa.

   Richard Wood recalled this week that New Zealand bloodstock agent Paul Beamish put him on to the mare, saying that she was for sale in Victoria and was unraced after being injured.

   “She is from the family of Black Caviar as her dam Baltics is a half-sister to Helsinge, who is the mother of Black Caviar,” Wood said.

   The Woods paid $150,000 to purchase Diva von Tessa and The Fugitive is the third foal they have bred from the mare. The first was a colt by Jimmy Choux who they sold for $210,000 as a yearling. He was named Cosmo Peridot and has recorded two wins and three minor placings in Japan.

   The second foal was Jimmy The Jet, also by Jimmy Choux, who suffered a slight injury as a young horse and subsequently only made $45,000 when sold as a yearling at the 2017 Karaka sales. He is now being prepared by Australian trainer Tim Martin and has been placed in two Sydney barrier trials.

   Richard Wood said The Fugitive was unwanted as a young horse and was withdrawn from a 2017 weanling sale.

   “We decided to keep him and he’s just got better and better. I suppose you could say that I have been one of the luckiest people in racing,” he added.

   The mare Diva von Tessa is back in New Zealand and has a filly foal at foot by successful Australian sire Not A Single Doubt and is now in foal to Your Song.


HB stallion Citi Habit has died

   Citi Habit, one of few remaining thoroughbred stallions standing at stud in Hawke’s Bay, died suddenly on Friday of last week.

   The 22-year-old was based at Montana Lodge, the property of his breeders Graham and Isabell Roddick, and was still in active service.

   “He was still serving a few mares each year,” Isabell Roddick said.

   “I fed him on the Thursday night and he seemed good as gold but when I checked on him the following morning he was lying dead in the paddock.

   “He must have had a heart attack.”

   Citi Habit was a son of Citidancer and a half-brother to champion galloper Rough Habit. He was a top class performer on the racetrack, recording six wins and eight minor placings and amassing more than $342,000 in stakemoney.

   His wins included the Group 3 Merial Metric Mile at Awapuni and the Group 3 Chairmans Handicap in Brisbane while he was also runner up in both the Group 2 Brisbane Cup and Group 2 P J O’Shea stakes in Queensland.

   At stud Citi Habit bred a number of winners, the most recent being Nitro Ted who posted his sixth victory when successful over 2400m at Trentham on December 8.

   Cafe Culture, owned and trained by Hawke’s Bay’s Margaret Larsen, was another good performer by Citi Habit and won five races from only 14 starts while others by him included Stormy Habit (three wins), Defenciti (three wins) and Skytower (two wins).


Plans for Xpression unchanged

   Star Hastings-trained three-year-old Xpression is still on target for the Group 1 $225,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 12 despite a below par performance at Awapuni last Saturday.

   The Showcasing filly only managed third of five runners over 1400m, 2-1/2 lengths behind race winner More Winder.

   “It was a conditioning run for her as she had been freshened but she did race below her best,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week.

   “She was a bit slow in her recovery after the race but has picked up again since and seems perfect.

   “We’ll do some more tests on her over the next few days but, at this stage, her next race will be in the Levin Classic.”

   Xpression has not finished further back than third in her seven starts, with three wins, a second and two thirds to her credit. She finished third behind Media Sensation and Valalie in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton two starts back.

   Dual stakes-placed filly Mohaka, a stablemate of Xpression, will return to the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen in the coming weeks in preparation for classic targets in the autumn.

   The Nadeem three-year-old finished unplaced in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) last-start, after placing in her previous four starts, and her connections said she can be forgiven for that run.

   “Mohaka is still spelling. I’d say the track wasn’t in her favour that day in the Guineas and it was probably one too many (races for her),” Lowry said.

   “She’s likely to come back in within the next few weeks and we’ll probably aim at some of those staying races in the autumn for the three-year-old fillies.”


Popular HB race meeting

   New Year’s Day races at Hastings, one of the most popular family days on the Hawke’s Bay Racing calendar, promises to attract another bumper crowd next Tuesday.

   Eight races have been carded, with the first timed for 12.55pm.

   There will be a big screen in operation, where patrons can view the action from not only Hastings but also the premier meeting at Ellerslie. There will also be free entertainment for the kids, with the meeting being part of the Inter-islander promotion.

   There will be an early-bird gate charge of $10 which will be increased to $15 on race day and there is free admission for those under 18.


Calder making most of his return

   Eight months since moving back to New Zealand from Macau jockey Andrew Calder has quickly re-established himself as a strong addition to the Kiwi riding ranks.

   Calder, who served his apprenticeship from the Hastings stable of Dianne Sergeant, spent seven years riding in Macau. He has won 17 races since his return to New Zealand in May, including one at Group 2 level. 

   “I’m staying with my father-in-law, Richard Collett, so I’ve been riding work for him and showing up to every trial and race meeting in the northern area and slowly building up contacts,” Calder said. 

   “I was gone for quite a long time, so you do lose your support, but most of the trainers have been quite receptive.

   “When I came back in winter it was a little bit slow. I was just getting one or two rides a meeting, but since the tracks have firmed-up I’m getting a lot more support.

   “The apprentices aren’t getting as many rides and trainers are using senior jockeys more.”

   Calder said that being able to ride as light as 54kgs has provided a number of opportunities to gain rides. He has no plans to head overseas again as he is enjoying setting-up a life for his family in Pukekohe with Natasha and eighteen-month-old twin boys Tye and Jax.

   “I’m really settled here now and I’m going to make a conscious effort to improve and get into a better spot on the premiership,” he said. “I will just work on getting winners and making contacts.”


Seven HB wins chalked up for the week 20 Dec 2018

   Hawke’s Bay owned and trained horses have had another outstanding week with seven wins on New Zealand racetracks in the space of five days.

   Champagne Bride, trained at Hastings by John Bary, broke through for a maiden win at Hastings on Wednesday of last week while the Lowry/Cullen stable also produced Upswing for a debut victory at the same meeting.

   Hastings owner-breeder Chris Russell picked up wins with Nigella Jazz at Wingatui last Friday and Moss Jazz at Invercargill on Saturday while the Lowry/Cullen stable brought up their second success for the week when Real Beach scored decisively at Awapuni on the same day.

   Cutadeel, bred and owned by Hawke’s Bay couple Mike and Sharyn Craig and raced by them in partnership with family members and friends, took out the Listed $50,000 Barfoot & Thompson Salver at Ellerslie on Sunday while Molto Veloce, part-owned by Hawke’s Bay man Charlie Whyte, was successful in a $27,500 Rating 65 race at the same meeting.

   Champagne Bride capped off a second and two fourths from three previous starts this season with a half-length win over 2000m at last week’s Hawke’s Bay Christmas meeting. The Roc de Cambes four-year-old was unlucky when finishing fourth in two 1600m races at Waipukurau in the spring and then only went down by half a head over 2100m at Hastings on November 11.

   She started a warm favourite last week and scored a deserved win, aided by a perfect ride from jockey Johnathan Parkes. He quickly settled the mare into the trail, third on the fence, and bided his time until just before the home turn before getting urgent. The outsider and pacemaker Iridesa tried to pinch a break on the field swinging into the home straight but Champagne Bride ranged up on her outside soon after and worked clear in the final stages.

   Champagne Bride was bred by Hawke’s Bay Racing chairman Elliot Cooper and is raced by the Sasanof Syndicate, managed by Mike Sanders. Cooper and his wife Mary are shareholders along with Jason Fleming, Carolyn Cooper, Bruce and Felicity Meehan and Carl and Muff Knapp from Hawke’s Bay, John Young (Auckland), Dean and Anna Bailey (Te Awamutu) and the Schmidt family.

   Sanders said this week Champagne Bride has come through the win well and will now line up again at Hastings on New Year’s Day, in a Rating 65 race over 2100m.

   Champagne Bride is out of the Traditionally mare Traditional Bride and a half-sister to Vannoss, who has also been a winner this season from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

   The Lowry/Cullen stable lined up two horses in the final event at last week’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, in Jaguary and Upswing, and it was the less fancied of the two that prevailed in the 1600m event.

   The four-year-old Niagara gelding appreciated the rain that fell during the last three races, relishing the downgraded slow-7 track conditions to score a decisive length win while Jaguary finished sixth.

   Upswing was having his first start but had shown good ability in Hastings jumpouts and finished third in a 1200m Otaki trial in October. He is owned by his Auckland-based breeder Trish Dunell, who is well known for her racing photography business.

   She bred Upswing out of the Secret Savings mare Asaweb, who is now deceased but has also left a half-brother by Showcasing called Webster who has won four races in Singapore.

   Guy Lowry said this week Upswing will probably now be turned out for a spell and brought back for the autumn.

   “He is a horse that needs to strengthen up a bit more and is best suited by an easing in track conditions,” Lowry said.


Double success for HB owner

   Hastings -based Chris Russell has been enjoying a tremendous run with his thoroughbred interests of late and has now bred five individual winners of seven races this season.

   Russell picked up two wins in two days in the South Island last weekend, with Nigella Jazz leading all the way in a maiden 1400m race at Wingatui on Friday and Moss Jazz repeating the feat in a Rating 72 event over 1100m at Invercargill on Saturday.

   Russell bred both horses and still retains a share in them. They were both formerly trained in Hastings but were sent south to the Riverton stable of Stephen Blair-Eddie earlier this year, with the trainer and one of his stable clients now having a racing share in both.

   Nigella Jazz was having her sixth start when she lined up at Wingatui last Friday, with her best previous placing being a third over 1200m at Winton in October. Jockey Lee Callaway bounced the Niagara mare out brilliantly from an outside draw and had her quickly across the field and in front. She had a handy advantage rounding the home bend and defied the others to run her down, crossing the line a head in front of Lunar Lady.

   Nigella Jazz is the first foal out of the Coats Choice mare Shezalljazz, who was the winner of five races. She has since produced a three-year-old full-brother to Nigella Jazz and a two-year-old filly by Reliable Man.

    Moss Jazz recorded her third win since transferring to the South Island when she also led practically all the way at Invercargill last Saturday. The Tavistock six-year-old was again ridden by apprentice Amless Bohorun, who has been the successful jockey in all three of her wins.

   Bohorun bounced the mare away brilliantly from the barrier to take a clear lead at the end of the first 100m. He then eased his mount in the middle stages, reserving enough energy for a sprint to the line.

   Acekingsuited headed Moss Jazz early in the home straight but the latter rallied gamely, wresting the lead back in the final stages for a three-quarter length win.

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

   Chris Russell also shares in the ownership of two other winners he has bred this season in Maria D’Or and Southern Jazz while he also bred and sold the good jumper Hesalljazz, who took out a hurdle race at Te Aroha in September.


Real Beach’s owners in the swim

   Hastings-trained Real Beach made up for some unlucky recent performances with a strong win in a $27,500 Rating 65 race over 2100m at Awapuni last Saturday.

   The Nadeem five-year-old mare was having her fourth start in a new campaign and was stepping up to a middle distance for the first time this season. She found 1100m too short when resuming at Woodville back in October and then covered plenty of extra ground when  third over 1600m at Hastings last month and again over 1600m at Wanganui on December 1.

   Jockey Dylan Turner was able to give the mare an economical run from a good barrier draw on Saturday and she finished the race off strongly to win by three-quarters of a length.

   It was Real Beach’s second win from 14 starts and her first since she took out a 1600m maiden race at Hastings 12 months ago.

   She is raced by former Hastings trainer Kelly Burne in partnership with her Perth-based son Vinny Meenehan, Kevin Papuni and Trevor Burbery from Hastings, Paul Toothill (Wairoa) and Pat Baker and Mike Taylor from Wellington.

   Guy Lowry, who now trains Real Beach in partnership with Grant Cullen, said this week the mare has come through the win in great order and will now contest a $25,000 Rating 72 race over 2100m at Awapuni on January 5.


Cutting a fine figure

   Hawke’s Bay-owned Cutadeel took another step towards a tilt at the Group 1 $1million Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie in March next year with a game win in the Listed $50,000 Barfoot & Thompson Salver there last Sunday.

   The Dundeel gelding showed great tenacity to stave off several challengers over the final stages of the 2100m event for a neck victory, his third success from only five starts.

   Cutadeel is prepared by the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and is rated by Baker as a promising stayer in the making.

   “He’s not very big but he’s a nice neat horse and a real good mover who can really stay,” Baker said.

   “He’s been nominated for the New Zealand Derby so hopefully he can get there.”

   Cutadeel is owned by Hawke’s Bay couple Sharyn and Mike Craig and raced by them along with other family members and close friends.

   Adrian and Angela Herd, who are Sharyn Craig’s son and daughter-in-law, have a racing share along with her other two sons, Brendon and Darren.  Mike Craig’s Wellington-based son Jamie and his wife Fleur also have a share while the other members of the syndicate are Hawke’s Bay women, Kathleen Wright and Cheryl Leonard.


Another star for HB owner

   Hawke’s Bay’s Charlie Whyte looks to have another exciting galloper in Molto Veloce, who made it two wins from only five starts when successful in a $27,500 Rating 65 race over 1200m at Ellerslie last Saturday.

   Whyte, a former board member of Hawke’s Bay Racing, raced the talented filly Honey Rider with close friend Andrew Lockyer and she won them four races including the 2016 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings.

   Molto Veloce is prepared by Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh and Whyte races the Pins filly with her Cambridge breeder Tony Rider.

   She is out of the Fast ‘N’ Famous mare Youtoofast, who recorded three wins and five minor placings when trained by the Hastings partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

   Molto Veloce’s win last Sunday earned Stephen Marsh a new Harley Davidson motorcycle. The prize, valued at $25,000, was sponsored by Harley Davidson Auckland Limited and was presented to the winning trainer.


Cooksley suspended

   Veteran rider Grant Cooksley will take no part in the busy Christmas-New Year racing period after being suspended for 16 race days following an incident at Ruakaka back on November 16 which resulted in a fall.

   Cooksley admitted a charge of careless riding in that he permitted his mount So Glorious to shift inwards early in the home straight when insufficiently clear of Shafiq Rusof’s mount Boundtobehonored which clipped heels and fell, with Tantalising, ridden by Danielle Johnson being brought down as a result.

   While both horses escaped injury, Johnson, who was third on the national jockeys’ premiership at the time, suffered multiple fractures to her collarbone, while Rusof suffered fractured ribs.

   Cooksley will be able to resume riding after the conclusion of racing on January 8.


   Class three-year-old filly Xpression looked set to star again on the racetrack at Awapuni this Saturday when turning in an excellent solo gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Xpression worked in from the 1000-metre peg in 1:2.4, running the first 400m in 26.7 before sprinting home the last 600 in 35.7.

   The Showcasing filly also had an exhibition gallop in company with Lady Guinness between races at last Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting and looks to have freshened up well since her game run for third in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 17. She will contest the three-year-old race over 1400m at Awapuni.

   Estefania was another who stretched out well this morning when she worked over a round, running the last 1200m in 1:23 and final 600 in 38.4. She only managed sixth over 1400m at Hastings last week but was found to have a slight blood disorder after the race. She may now be stepped up to 1600m in a Rating 65 race at Tauherenikau on January 2.

   Tuigold and a Glass Harmonee two-year-old gelding, both in the Lowry/Cullen stable, worked together over an easy 600m in 43.9. Tuigold was an impressive winner of a 750m jumpout at Hastings last Thursday and is likely to resume racing at Wairoa in the New Year.

   Carillion was also kept under a hold when running 800m in 58.9, the last 600 in 43.9 while Manawatu Cup entrant Hunta Pence was restricted to pacework. He will have his final strong workout on Wednesday.



Tuigold and Allacciato, two horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable who showed good ability earlier this year, both recorded nice wins at today’s Hastings jumpouts.

   There were five heats run up against the running rail on the course proper, which provided slow footing after overnight rain.

   Tuigold contested one of the three 750-metre heats and scored a half length win over Matt Cain, with Quick Choice a head back in third place.

   Tuigold was a winner over 1450m at Wairoa back in February and he is being prepared for a return to racing at the same venue this season.

   Allacciato won the second of the two 1000m heats by 2 lengths and clocked a good time of 1:01.8. She had two starts in September, finishing an unlucky third over 1350m at Wanganui in the second of them.

   Other winners at the jumpouts were Sheer Elegance and Carillion over 750m and Penny Royal, who scored a 6 length win over 1000m.

   Promising three-year-old King Louis lined up in one of the 750m heats where he finished last of three runners but was only a long neck and a head from the winner. He looked big in condition and will have taken plenty of improvement from the run.



Heat 1, 750m: Sheer Elegance (L Hemi) 1, The Fugitive 2, Super Easy 3yr-old gelding 3. Four starters. Margins: Neck, 2-1/2 lengths. Time: 45.9. Winner rained by Lee Somervell.

Heat 2, 750m: Carillion (K Hercock) 1, Vickezzmoet 2, King Louis 3. Three starters. Margins: Long neck, head. Time: 44.9s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 3, 750m: Tuigold (Sammy) 1, Matt Cain 2, Quick Choice 3. Four starters. Margins: ½ length, head. Time: 46.1s. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 4, 1000m: Penny Royal (H Durrant) 1, Nom du Jeu 3yr-old gelding 2, Chocolate Cake 3. Four starters. Margins: 6 lengths, 2-3/4 lengths. Time: 1:02.9. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.

Heat 5, 1000m: Allacciato (H Durrant) 1, If Only I Knew 2, Shez Ekstra 3. Three starters. Margins: 2 lengths, 1 Length. Time: 1:01.8. Winner trained by Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen, Hastings.


Hugo The Boss in control at Waipukurau 14 Dec 2018

    “He got one for good attendance,” Hastings trainer John Bary quipped after Hugo The Boss led all the way for a dominant length victory in a Rating 65 race over 1200m at Waipukurau last Sunday.

   Hugo The Boss was recording his fourth success but his first since he took out a Rating 65 event over 1000m at Tauherenikau last January.  In the interim he had nine starts for a second, a third and two fourths.

    “He’s been pretty honest but just needed to get another win to get his confidence back and he got that today,” Bary said.

   “Hopefully that will be a start of better things.”

   Apprentice jockey Madan Singh took the Stratum five-year-old straight to the front from the number one barrier and the gelding maintained a strong gallop to the line to win by a length. The race resulted in a Hawke’s Bay-trained quinella with Pep Torque, prepared by Waipukurau’s Kirsty Lawrence, finishing second.

   Bary’s racing manager Mike Sanders said on Tuesday that Hugo The Boss has come through the win in tremendous order and he and Bary were now mulling over where the horse will start next.

   “He could go to Awapuni on December 22 for a Rating 72 1200 or we might wait until Hawke’s Bay on New Year’s Day and line him up in the Open 1200 that day as it usually gets a weak field,” Sanders said.

   Hugo The Boss was a $100,000 purchase by John Bary from the 2015 Karaka yearling sales. The horse is now raced by the Best Dressed Syndicate of which Bary is a shareholder. The other members are his Hastings-based mother Ann, Alan and Paula Keall and Laurie Parker from Taradale, Innes Nesbitt (Hastings), Narendra Balia and Blair and Denise Martin (Auckland), Gavin Dunnett (Christchurch), Lawrie Bolton (Tauranga) and Heath Newton, who lives in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

   Hugo The Boss is out of the Zabeel mare Dressed, who was a winner over 1600m in Australia.

   He also comes from the family of Virage De Fortune, who won eight races including the Group 1 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes in Sydney.


Akela Belle kicks a goal for HB owners

   A Hawke’s Bay syndicate that kicked many goals as individuals on the soccer field has been quietly achieving the same success as a united group on the racetrack.

   The Hawke’s Bay Footy Boys Syndicate, a group of guys who are ex-players and members of the Napier City Rovers Soccer Club, are shareholders in last Sunday’s Waipukurau winner Akela Belle and were also involved in the good performer Our Gazza.

   Akela Belle broke through for a maiden victory in a 2200m maiden event at Waipukurau in what was her second run over a middle distance.

   The Mastercraftsman mare, trained at Awapuni by Lisa Latta, was assisted in her success by a perfect ride from top woman jockey Lisa Allpress. She settled the mare back third last in the early stages of the race and bided her time before starting to improve starting the last 700m.

   Akela Belle gathered momentum coming down the hill to quickly join the leaders swinging into the home straight. She then set down for a tussle with Cape Ceilidh over the final 300m before getting her head in front on the line.

   Akela Belle was having her fifth start, with her previous best placing being a last start fifth over 2100m at Hastings last month. She 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.

   The mare 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.

   The Hawke’s Bay Footy Boys Syndicate also had a shareholding in Our Gazza, who recorded 10 wins from the Lisa Latta stable including one over hurdles.

   Akela Belle is expected to start next in a Rating 65 race over 2100m at Hastings on New Year’s Day.


Trainers’ bonus to Auret

   Marton-based trainer Fraser Auret left the Waipukurau racecourse last Sunday $7500 richer.

   The club put up a $7500 prize for any trainer who could produce three winners over the eight race programme and Auret managed to snare the prize when Dashper led all the way for a dominant victory in the final event.

   Auret had also taken out race three with Not Santa and the feature race at the meeting, the Leopard Hotel Xmas Cup, with Commanding Prince.


Melody Belle pleases in trial

   Triple Group 1 winner Melody Belle pleased her connections when winning a 1000m trial at Te Aroha on Tuesday.

   It was the second trial this preparation for the four-year-old daughter of Commands who was freshened after an undefeated spring campaign, where she won the Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) fresh-up at Te Rapa, followed by Group 1 successes in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings.

   “We were pleased with how she trialled at Matamata, and she’d trained on well since then,” trainer Jamie Richards said.

   “She’s trialled well again and everything is on track. She did a bit in the trial, and they ran time, but she had a blow and that will tighten her up nicely.”

   Melody Belle will be set for more elite level targets this season, with the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s day the first on her hit-list.

   “She’s a bigger, stronger mare now and handling her work really well,” Richards said.


Magnum primed for return

   Former Singapore galloper Magnum had his spring campaign cut short through injury, but will make a return to racing in the Group 3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa tomorrow.

   The Lauren Brennan-trained gelding, part-owned by Havelock North’s Jason Fleming, was in fine form during the early spring recording a fresh-up win at Ruakaka in September before running third behind Te Akau Shark in the Group 3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings in October.

   However he punctured the sole of his hoof during that last-start effort and his connections had to cut short the rest of their spring racing plans with the six-year-old.

   “He won his first start at Ruakaka over 1200m then going into the Red Badge Sprint, we were just as happy with him going into that,” Brennan said.

   “It was just unfortunate that he stood on something in that race and punctured his sole.”

   Magnum has made a pleasing return for Brennan, winning a 1000m trial at Matamata two weeks ago.

   “I was very happy with the trial, it was his first run in nearly two months,” Brennan said.

   The son of Per Incanto could be in for a lucrative summer, with the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 19 on his radar.


Media Sensation eyes more riches

   Group 1-winning filly Media Sensation will head to Ellerslie on Sunday for an exhibition gallop ahead of her next black-type assignment at the same venue on Boxing Day.

   The Peter and Dawn Williams-trained runner has pleased her connections since her victory in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) win last month and is set to line-up in the Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on December 26.

   “I couldn’t be more happier with her. She has come through her last race perfectly. She hasn’t missed a beat since she has been back home,” Peter Williams said.


Waller nominated for Halberg Award

   Expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller has been nominated for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year at February’s 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards in Auckland.

   The Hall of Fame trainer, who is among 14 nominees for the award, has won the last seven trainers’ premierships in his adopted home of New South Wales and has risen to prominence of late through the deeds of wonder mare, Winx.

   The darling of Australian turf has won 29 consecutive races, 22 of those at Group 1 level, including four Cox Plates (2040m).

   Waller was honoured by his compatriots earlier this year when he was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

   The nominations for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year include: Allan Bunting (rugby), Chris Waller (horse racing), Clark Laidlaw (rugby union), Dale Stevenson (athletics), Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts), Jason Pocock (surf lifesaving), Jeremy McColl (athletics), Joe Schmidt (rugby union), Kiwi Campbell (waka ama), Leon Birnie (football), Marcelo Lopes (mixed martial arts), Raylene Bates MNZM (para athletics) and Roly Crichton (para swimming).



   Scandalo, who will be stepped up in distance at Saturday’s Manawatu meeting, strode out well in the second of two 600-metre runs at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Scandalo ran his first 600 metres in a leisurely 45.8 but then put the speed on over the second one in 36. The Shocking gelding is coming off a good last start second over 1550m at Awapuni where he finished the race off strongly and will contest the Manawatu Cup Prelude (2000m) there on Saturday. Chris Johnson will again be the rider.

   Soroc, another headed to Awapuni on Saturday, worked in from the 1000-metre peg in 1:5.7, running the first 400m at three-quarter pace before sprinting home the last 600 in a quick 35.4. He found 1550m a bit too far and was also checked in the running at Awapuni last start but drops back to a Rating 72 1400 on Saturday.

   Real Beach worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000m peg, quickening over the last 800 in 52.3 and final 600 in 38.3. She was scratched from Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting and will start in the Rating 65 race over 2100m at Awapuni on Saturday instead.

   If Only I Knew had trainer Kate Hercock aboard when running an easy 800m in 56.1, the last 600 in 40.9 while Carillion was kept under a firm hold when running 600m in 43.9.

Stone bruise delays Miss Labasa’s progress 7 Dec 2018

   A niggling stone bruise prevented unbeaten Hastings filly Miss Labasa from contesting last Friday’s Group 3 $70,000 Wellington Guineas at Otaki but trainer John Bary is confident he will have her fully fit again for important three-year-old races in the coming months.

   Bary said the stone bruise, which was causing the filly obvious discomfort on the eve of the Otaki feature, had still not burst at the beginning of this week but he was hopeful the filly will be 100 per cent fit again by this weekend.

   “At this stage the immediate aim is the Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni next Saturday week but we have just been waiting for the stone bruise to burst out,” Bary said.

   “Hopefully it will clear up and they will allow me to give her a gallop between races at Waipukurau this Sunday.

   “If she isn’t right by then we might be able to gallop between races at Hastings the following Wednesday.

   “The good thing about her is that she is naturally clean-winded anyway so she doesn’t need a lot of work to keep her fit.”

   Miss Labasa is certainly an exciting three-year-old and Bary has some big plans for her later in the season. The Swiss Ace filly won her debut over 1400m at Tauherenikau in October by 3-1/4 lengths and followed that up with a game win over 1600m at Hastings on November 11.

   “Hopefully she will get to the Eulogy and then the aim is the Eight Carat Stakes at Ellerslie on Boxing Day,” Bary said.
   “We want to give her a run at Ellerslie as she is Karaka Million nominated and that race is run there at the end of January.”

   Bary said providing Miss Labasa makes the right progress she will then head to the Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings in February and then on to the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March.

   Another well performed galloper from the Bary stable, High Spirits, has also been sidelined with an injury.

   The Darci Brahma mare, winner of four races from 27 starts, was to have contested last month’s New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton following an impressive victory over 2400m at Trentham. But she unfortunately got caste in her box and whacked a tendon in one of her legs.

   It wasn’t a tear or a hole and she was never really lame on it but there was obvious bruising there and so we decided to turn her out for a spell until Christmas time,” Bary said.

   “It will mean that she won’t be ready for the Wellington Cup in January but we might be able to look at the Auckland Cup in March.

   “It hasn’t been a great time for the stable but hopefully things will improve.”


First South Island success

   Former Hastings-trained  Xcuses Xcuses recorded her first win in the South Island when taking out a $26,000 Rating 72 race over 1400m at last Sunday’s Cromwell meeting.

   It was the No Excuse Needed mare’s fifth success but her first since she prevailed in a Rating 75 race over 1200m at Awapuni in March last year.

   Back then Xcuses Xcuses was prepared by Hastings trainer John Bary who bred and owned the mare in partnership with long time stable client Ivan Grieve.

   The pair decided to lease her out to a South Island syndicate earlier this year and she was transferred to the Rangiora stable of John Blackadder in March.

   “We thought if we sent her down south she might be able to pick up some black type and we could then sell her as a broodmare,” Bary said this week.

   He added that Xcuses Xcuses need a firm track to show her best and finally got conditions to suit last Sunday.

   Australian-born jockey Jake Bayliss settled Xcuses Xcuses in the first half dozen in the early stages of the Cromwell race and then angled her into the clear early in the home straight. She then finished the race off strongly for a convincing 2-3/4 length win.

   Xcuses Xcuses was the first foal out of the Shinko King mare Xpectacular, who won one race from the Bary stable.

   The second foal was Rawhide, who has been placed twice from 10 starts, while the third foal is the one race winner Chouxperb.


By-monthly award winners

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters are the recipients of the Kevin Woods Memorial by-monthly trophy for the months of September and October.

   The award is presented by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association and will be presented to the Walters at next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.

   The couple own a 10 per cent share in the multiple Group 1 winner Melody Belle, who is trained at Matamata by Jamie Richards.

   The Commands four-year-old won the first two legs of the Group 1 triple crown at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on September 1 and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 22.

   She has not raced since that last success but was impressive when winning a 1000m Matamata trial on November 27 and is expected to resume racing in the Group 1 $200,000 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.


Twilight race meeting

   The final Hastings race day of the year will be a twilight meeting next Wednesday, with the first of eight races timed for 3.07pm and the last at 7.15pm.

   It is a Christmas at the Races meeting and one not to be missed, with live entertainment, great food, exciting thoroughbred action and all the joys of Christmas.

   The gates will be open from 2pm with a $10 gate charge and there will be a limited BYO for patrons down on the public lawn.


Delay over revamped turn

   The reconstructed home turn at Awapuni racecourse in Palmerston North will make a race day return on March 1 next year, however, it is reliant on a satisfactory trial day in January.

   Trials were held on the reconstructed section on Tuesday of last week, but a small section of the track did raise a slight concern for RACE Group tracks manager Kim Treweek.

   “The majority of the new section raced really well (at the trials) but there was a 50m inside section, around the 600m, which was a bit softer and this created some inconsistencies,” Treweek said.

   “Horses had been working around the turn for a number of weeks but we had 32mls of rain in the 48 hours before the trials and that showed that it needed a bit more time. We want everything to be 100 percent before we commit to racing on it.”

   As a result, the 2100m races scheduled for the Christmas meeting at Awapuni, including the Group 3 Manawatu Cup, will be extended to 2200m.


Close Up retired

  The racing days are over for Close Up, the horse who motivated Shelley Hale back into training after a serious illness.

   Close Up was scheduled to run in the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie last Saturday, but instead he began his retirement on Hale’s property.

   “He’s feeling the wear and tear on his fetlock joints so we’ve decided to retire him,” Hale said.

   “He had a trial at Matamata last week and I was happy enough with his run (for third), but there was a bit of swelling afterward.

   “It’s not as bad as we first thought, but we don’t want to risk racing him anymore.”

   Close Up credited Hale with her first Group 1 success when he won last year’s Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings in the hands of regular rider Grant Cooksley.

   Either side of that win he had been runner-up, chasing Underthemoonlight home in the Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa in the lead-up, then going down narrowly to Gingernuts in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings.

   Close Up won 10 of his 34 starts and was placed on a further 10 occasions.


Weatherley making hay while he can

   New Zealand apprentice Sam Weatherley is making ever post a winner on Australian racetracks while he can.

   “I don’t know how much longer I have left with my weight and height,’’ Weatherley said recently.

   “It’d be good to make a career and a name for myself while I can.

   “I don’t know how much growing I’ve got, if I can stay like I am then I’ll be all right. If I grow any more we might have a couple of issues.’’

   Weight got the better of his father Darryn, whose father Dan was also a jockey, and, like his dad, a career in training may also be in Sam’s future.

   But, at the same time the likes of Hugh Bowman and Tye Angland are taller than average and have, not without some weight battles, managed to carve long careers in the saddle.

   Weatherley, 19, was a new addition to the Sydney riding ranks in June on a three-month loan with Chris Waller.

   He made such an impression he’s transferred over full-time with an eye on winning a Sydney Champion Apprentice title to go with his two New Zealand awards.

   In his first year of riding he won 67 races – 19 more than his nearest apprentice rival – while last season he racked up 66 winners at home including his first Group 1 on outsider Enzo’s Lad in the Telegraph Handicap at Trentham in January.

   He rode city eight winners from 43 rides at the end of 2017-18 in Sydney and has quickly established a healthy lead on his apprentice peers this season.


Stablemates Keilib and Not Allowed, race-rivals at Waipukurau on Sunday, both reeled off good 600-metre sprints at this morning’s Hastings track session.

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

   Keilib worked in at three-quarter pace from the 800-metre peg and sprinted home the last 600 in 37.9. He contests the Rating 72 race over 2200m at Waipukurau on Sunday, a race he won last year. Leah Hemi has been booked to ride him.

   His stablemate Not Allowed had blinkers on for the first time when he also worked in from the 800-metre at three-quarter pace, sprinting home the last 600 in 37.5. Rosie Myers will ride him in the same race.

   Real Beach, preparing for next Wednesday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting, was one of several horses restricted to just three-quarter pace, running her last 600 in 46.4. She was an unlucky fourth over 1600m at Wanganui last Saturday.

   Band, another entered for Waipukurau on Sunday, hit out well over 1000m in 1:6.3, the last 600 in 38.4. She is an O’Reilly-Music four-year-old mare who has finished first and third in two barrier trials and makes her race debut in a Maiden 1200.

   Peso, who will start next in the Manawatu Cup Prelude (2200m) at Awapuni on Saturday week, was kept to just three-quarter pace when working over 1200m, the last 600 in 45.1. He disappointed in the Counties Cup last start but looks in good order.

   Matt Kane ran a solo 800m in 56.4, the last 600 in 41.2 while a Niagara four-year-old mare and a Niagara three-year-old filly worked together over 600m in 43.3.

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