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Wanganui winners head to the spelling paddock 6 Jun 2019

   The Hastings-trained pair of Hunta Pence and Shez Ekstra, impressive winners at Wanganui last Saturday, have both now been turned out for a winter spell.

   Hunta Pence produced a huge performance to win the $35,000 Steelform Roofing Foxton Cup after looking a forlorn hope when he was struggling in the very testing track conditions and had drifted back to second last in the middle stages of the 2040m event.

   Angled to the outside, and in slightly better ground, jockey Danielle Hirini seemed to inject a new lease of life into the No Excuse Needed gelding and he made up many lengths to range up wide out and challenge the leaders rounding the home turn.

   Hirini angled the horse to the outside fence and he set out after the leader Dr Watson, collaring him inside the last 200 metres, before surging clear for a 3 length win.

   Trainer Patrick Campbell was not on course but watched the race on Trackside TV and was genuinely surprised with the victory after expecting his charge to tail out to the rear, considering how bad he was travelling in the run.

   “I thought he was absolutely no chance at the 1000 metres as he could hardly pick his feet up,” Campbell said.

   “We thought he could handle a heavy track but when I saw how bad it really was, I lost any confidence I had before the race.

   “Danielle said she thought she was going to have to pull him up as he was going that badly but when she managed to get him out wide, he started to pick up for her.

   “He is a good tough horse and I think he showed that at the end so it was a good effort to get up and win like that.”

   Campbell owns a 50 per cent shareholding in Hunta Pence with the other 50 per cent divided amongst six other people. They are Lindsay McIntosh, Dean Smith and Mike and Wendy Timmins from Hastings, Shane Govsky (Napier) and Ashburton-based Norm Stewart.

  The horse has now won eight races from 40 starts.

   Shez Ekstra looks likely to progress through the grades quickly after her decisive 2 length win in the $22,500 Rating 65 race over 2040m.

   The three-year-old Ekraar filly showed toughness by backing up a week after finishing fourth over 1600m on a heavy-10 track at Trentham and win at her middle distance debut.

   Jockey Lisa Allpress settled Shez Ekstra midfield in the early stages before staring her on a forward move from the 800m. They ranged up 4-wide to challenge for the lead rounding the home bend and took the lead soon after.

   Allpress angled Shez Ekstra to the outside fence in the straight and the filly kept up a strong run, under a mainly hands and heels ride, to win by 2 lengths.

   Shez Ekstra, who has now recorded two wins and three seconds from 11 starts, is bred and owned by two long time Hawke’s Bay friends in Paddy Murphy and Grahame Hook.

   Shez Ekstra is trained on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen who have always had a high opinion of the filly and expect her to go on to better things once she matures and strengthens a bit more.


Smokin’ Oak turns his form around

   Some minor gear changes and a change in attitude brought the best out of Hastings-trained  Smokin’ Oak when he took out a $25,000 Rating 72 race over 1200m at Wanganui last Saturday.

   The four-year-old Burgundy gelding went into the race with a string of duck-eggs next to his name but had shown a glimpse of his true ability when leading all the way for a 6 length win in a 750m jumpout at Hastings on May 23.

   Trainer John Bary said then that he had changed a bit of gear on the horse and, when he lined up at Wanganui last Saturday, removing the tongue-tie and adding a nose band, and the horse had to be tough to win after covering plenty of extra ground in the running.

   Rider Robert Hannam had Smokin’ Oak back fourth last and three-wide in the early running before improving wide out coming to the home turn. The horse still had enough in reserve to challenge for the lead early in the home straight before working clear in the final stages to score by 1-1/4 lengths.

   It was his third win from 14 starts and his second in heavy track conditions.

   He is expected to go back to Wanganui for his next start, in a Rating 72 race over 1200m next Thursday.

   Bary purchased Smokin’ Oak for $45,000 at the select session of the 2016 Karaka yearling sales for a prospective owner but when that deal fell through he was left with the horse. He then offered him for sale at that year’s Two-year-old Ready to run sale but he was passed in, with a reserve of $50,000.

   Bary and his racing manager Mike Sanders then set about organising a group to race the horse and he is now owned by the Burger Boys Syndicate, which is managed by Sanders.

   Several members of the syndicate are based in Hawke’s Bay including John and Ross Stace, Doug and Jill Callaghan, Michael and Pam Thomson, Johnny and Pauline Campbell, Mike White and Ian McLean. The other members are Peter, Gerard and Paul Gillespie and their Australian-based sister Anne, Auckland-based Narendra Balia and Mike and Christine Phillips.


Deserved success for HB owner

   Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred owner-breeder Barry Smyth picked up a well deserved win when Mizzena took out the amateur riders’ race at Ellerslie last Monday.

   Smyth, a former long-time board member of Hawke’s Bay Racing, has bred and raced numerous horses over the years but with limited success.

   He bred Mizzena out of the Al Akbar mare Moonlighter and races the Zed mare in partnership with his Sydney-based brother John and six other close Hawke’s Bay friends, Simon and Melissa Tuner, John McKenzie, Ron Robbie, Neil White and Malcolm Campbell.

   Mizzena was broken in by Hawke’s Bay-based Dean Smith, with the help of Lisa Beacham, who is a trackwork rider for trainer Patrick Campbell.

   “She was a real tough horse to do anything with and they nicknamed her “Zena Warrior Queen” so that is how she got her race name Mizzena,” Smyth said.

   “We ended up sending her to Kevin Myers to train and I must thank Rochelle Lockett and her staff as the filly went to her stable for a start, to be educated, and they did a marvellous job.”

   Mizzena was having her fifth start when she lined up in last Monday’s 2200m event and was ridden by the trainer’s son, Luke Myers. He settled the horse at the back of the pack in the early stages of the 2200m event before improving out wide coming to the home turn.

   Mizzena and the well supported Kion worked clear of the others in the home straight and Myers managed to get his mount up for a head decision right on the line.

   Smyth bred Mizzena out of the Al Akbar mare Moonlighter, who recorded one third from seven starts.

   “She was a mare that needed time but the syndicate that raced her didn’t want to wait around so I actually gave her away as a show hack for a while until I was ready to breed from her,” Smyth said.

   Moonlighter has only produced two foals to race, the first being the Iffraaj mare Iffonlynaomi who only had three starts for a third.

   “Unfortunately she had a wind problem and so we never saw the best of her and I ended up giving her away,” Smyth added.

   However he is still breeding from Moonlighter. She has produced a three-year-old filly by Per Incanto who was injured as a young horse and is unlikely to get to the races.

   However Smyth has high hopes for a Rip Van Winkle yearling filly out of the mare, who is presently being broken in and she has also produced  a weanling colt by Per Incanto.


Elle Aye Are relished heavy track

   The heavy-10 track conditions at Ellerslie last Saturday were made to order for Hawke’s Bay-owned Elle Aye Are who registered her fourth career win when successful over 1600m in Rating 82 company.

   The Rip Van Winkle four-year-old, prepared by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, was having her fourth run in her current campaign and overcame a talented field to score a convincing 2 length victory in the hands of Michael Coleman.

   Forsman was delighted to see the rain during the week with Elle Aye Are suited to the testing footing.

   “She showed last winter that she was adept in those sort of conditions so we’ve just been waiting for the wetter tracks to come along for her,” Forsman said.

   “She’s typical of her sire in that she seems to be getting better with age, so I think the best is yet to come for her.”

   Elle Eye Are is owned by Napier couple Alister and Jeannette Cameron and the estate of the late Laurence Redshaw. The latter was a former long time board member of Hawke’s Bay Racing and the horse gets her name from his initials.


Miss Wilson sells for $A900,000

   Group 1 winner Miss Wilson was sold for $A900,000 at last week’s Magic Millions Broodmare Sale in Queensland.

   The daughter of Stratum, bred and owned by Hawke’s Bay couple Richard and Liz Wood, was purchased by Kia Ora Stud’s Andrew Perryman.

   Miss Wilson, who is in foal to the Widden Stud-based sire Zoustar, had 25 starts from the Hastings stable of John Bary for seven wins, four seconds and three thirds. She won the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha and also recorded Group 3 victories in the Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings.

   She is a half-sister to five-time Group 1 winner Jimmy Choux, who is now a Group 1 winning sire.

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