HB Racing Column 11 Aug 2017
New running rail a feature at Hastings race meetings
(By John Jenkins)
The cream of the country’s gallopers will be on show on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 2 and so will a new plastic running rail.
The movable rail, built by the Australian company Mawsafe Rail, arrived in Hastings last week and track staff erected in on Tuesday, under the supervision of national venue inspector Garry Foskett.
The rail has been positioned in the true position for the first day of the spring carnival and will be moved out several metres for the second day, on September 23. A decision will then be made on where it goes for the final day, on October 7.
Foskett said the rail is the most popular one in Australia and used on the majority of racetracks in Victoria. It is also similar to others already installed at 12 other venues in New Zealand. They are Ruakaka, Ellerslie, Pukekohe, Te Rapa, Te Aroha, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Awapuni, Riccarton, Wingatui and Ascot Park.
“The rail is a lot easier to shift and is seen as the way forward for racetracks in the future,” Foskett said.
“It has the support of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.”
The new rail is a lot less time consuming to erect and, being plastic, it is a lot safer for both horses and jockeys. Once the initial foot holes and legs are put in place the top rail is then attached and clipped in, with the entire operation completed in a matter of hours.
A strengthening modification has been made at the base of each leg to eliminate the chance of the rail blowing over in high winds, which has been the case at some venues in the past.
“It is moving with the times and seen as an alternative to the colour steel rails that have been in use at most New Zealand racetracks,” Foskett added.
The old colour steel running rail that has served Hastings race meetings well in the past will, in time, be moved infield and used as a running rail on the plough training track.
Hawke's Bay race upgraded
The three-year-old race on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival has had an upgrade to Listed status, meaning there will be a black type race for three-year-olds on all three days.
The New Zealand Pattern Committee has upgraded the three-year-old 1200m race at Hastings on September 2.
The El Roca Trophy has been given Listed status and the stake will double, from $25,000 to $50,000. It will continue to be run at set weights, with penalties.
The race has attracted strong fields in each of the past three years and last year was won by Ugo Foscolo, ahead of Hall Of Fame and Mongolian Falcon.
Ugo Foscolo and Hall Of Fame were both Group I winners last season and Mongolian Falcon was a runaway winner of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas at his next start. Serious Satire had beaten Battle Times, Stradivarius and Amarula the previous year and subsequent Two Thousand Guineas winner Turn Me Loose was runner-up in 2014.
The Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes for three-year-old fillies will be run on the second day at Hastings, on September 23, with the Group 2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas a fortnight later.
Because the El Roca Trophy falls so early in the season, the NZ Pattern Committee decided to review the race ahead of the committee’s scheduled meeting on August 18 and released the following statement.
“The NZ Pattern Committee met by teleconference on August 4 to consider the rating of the unlisted Hawke’s Bay RI 3YO SW&P 1200m race to be next conducted on September 2.
“This race has achieved a Pattern Race Rating using the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Ranking measure of 107.25, with the last three editions being 104, 105.5 and 112.25.
”The required threshold to be considered for promotion to Listed status is 100 and for Group 3 status is 105.
“While the NZPC was somewhat uncomfortable at the one-off nature of the consideration of this race, it was felt that the extremely strong rating merited its upgrade to Listed status from the 2017 running onwards.”
Hawke’s Bay Racing general manager Andrew Castles said the club was delighted that the Pattern Committee had taken a common sense approach to announcing the upgrade. “Clearly the race rated well above the required minimum and was going to be upgraded out of their scheduled August 18 meeting."By bringing this announcement forward it allows stakeholders the opportunity to refine their early season programmes and target a race that carries valuable black type, as well as having had a significant stakemoney upgrade.”
HB/PB thoroughbred awards night
The Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay thoroughbred breeders and owners awards function will be held at the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse on the night of Friday, September 1.
The evening will recognise local achievers in the racing and breeding industry from the 2016-17 season.
Tickets are again $85/head and can be purchased from the office at Hawke’s Bay Racing or by contacting Gayle Richardson on 873-4545.
The awards function will again be sponsored by Bramwell Bate and Vet Associates and will be held on the night prior to the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring meeting, which will feature the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy.
Volpe Veloce on top again
Volpe Veloce will head into the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2 in prime condition in her quest for a full house of stakes victories.
Last season’s outstanding three-year-old already has Group 2, Group 3 and Listed successes to her name and will attempt to complete her black type box set in the first Group 1 race of the new season.
Volpe Veloce warmed up for the opening leg of the Hawke’s Bay triple crown series with an effortless win in an Open 1200-metre sprint at Te Rapa last Saturday.
“We’re absolutely over the moon,” said Graham Richardson, who trains Volpe Veloce with Gavin Parker. “It’s a great result and she’s on target.”
Volpe Veloce jumped smartly to race outside the leader and regular rider Johnathan Parkes allowed her a little more rein to hit the front at the top of the straight.
The Wanganui jockey was afforded the luxury of several glances over his shoulder as he let the daughter of Foxwedge coast to the line.
“We wanted to ride her positively and take bad luck out of the equation,” Parkes said.
“She was pretty much bolting at the 600 and I just had to hold her up. She gave me a super feeling on the turn - she’s back big time.”
Harris given Group 1 chance
The behind the scenes work jockey Troy Harris has done with Sofia Rosa could pay huge dividends with the talented jockey booked to ride the mare in the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2.
Harris has yet to ride Sofia Rosa on race day but he rides the Stephen Marsh-trained mare in all her trackwork and was her strapper when she crossed the Tasman to win the Group 1 ATC Oaks in Sydney as a three-year-old.
“She’s had a jump-out and she’s coming up very well. We’re all happy with her and she will be going straight to Hawke’s Bay for the Tarzino Trophy.” said Bruce Perry, racing manager for the mare’s Wellington owner Lib Petagna.
Sofia Rosa’s performance in the opening Group 1 event of the season will decide the rest of her year.
“At this stage, the intention is to race on for another season, but that depends on how she goes and otherwise we could look at putting her in foal,” Perry said.
Sofia Rosa hasn’t raced since she finished third in the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in the autumn.
Top mare perfect fit for Munz
A change in the ownership of Perfect Fit hasn’t altered plans for the Group 1 winner.
Under his GSA Bloodstock banner, Melbourne breeding and racing identity Johnathan Munz has bought into Haunui Farm’s daughter of Elusive City.
“Johnathan has purchased a half share in her,” Munz’s Cambridge-based bloodstock manager Dean Hawthorne said. “She’ll run in the Foxbridge Plate first-up and hopefully the track will be okay for her.
“She doesn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground, but we don’t want it too testing, and if she’s going well then she’ll head to the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings.”
Danis surgery successful
Apprentice Darren Danis has undergone successful back surgery at the Christchurch Hospital.
The 25-year-old fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae in a fall at Washdyke and his father, former jockey and now trainer Luke Danis, said the subsequent operation went well.
“We’ll have to give the injury time to heal now,” he said. “There is of course a long recovery and rehab ahead. On behalf of my family and Darren, I’d like to thank everybody for their prayers.”
New Racing Bill welcomed
The governing bodies of the New Zealand racing industry are united in their support for the new Racing Amendment Bill, introduced by the Minister for Racing, Hon David Bennett.
The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), see the introduction of the bill a major milestone in the process towards enacting legislation that will bring a welcome increase in funding to the industry.
The proposed legislation addresses the rapid and broad growth of online betting and the loss of potential industry income to overseas bookmakers.
“We are delighted to see the recommendations from the Offshore Betting Working Group progressing through to legislation,” says NZRB Chair, Glenda Hughes.
“The support for our industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to GDP each year, is greatly appreciated and we sincerely thank Ministers David Bennett and Nathan Guy, and officials who have brought about this landmark moment,” says Ms Hughes.
“NZRB is also continuing to work on improving its competitiveness to enhance our customers’ experience and ensure they can receive the same level of service and options as they find offshore,” she added.
National venue inspector Garry Foskett clips together a section of the new running rail at the Hastings racecourse in preparation for the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 2. Watching on is Kerry O’Neil while also assisting are Chris King, Craig Berge and Peter Dickie.
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