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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.”


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