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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 8 Nov 2019

Hastings partners now eyeing feature races

(By John Jenkins)

   The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen are on weather watch as they plan feature assignments for two of their stable stars over the next month.

   The stable has Riva Capri and Can I Get An Amen nominated for the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton tomorrow week and are also looking to tackle the Listed $50,00 Wanganui Cup (2040m) on November 30 with Atlanta Peach, who scored an impressive win at Awapuni last Saturday.

   Riva Capri has been ticking over in training since her good last start fourth in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings on October 5 and is booked to travel south next Wednesday while Can I Get An Amen is already in the South Island and finished second in a 1400m maiden race at Motukarara last Sunday.

   “At this stage both fillies are heading for the Guineas if the track is not too firm,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week.

   “Riva Capri hasn’t raced for a while but has done well and has raced well when fresh in the past while Can I Get An Amen is still a maiden and, if she doesn’t make the guineas field, there is a $30,000 maiden race at Riccarton for her.”

   Riva Capri has had four starts for a win, a second and a fourth, with her victory coming in the Listed O’Learys Fillies Stakes (1200m) on a heavy track at Wanganui.

   Lowry says the filly really needs some easing in track conditions to show her best and is hoping there is some rain in Christchurch next week.

   Atlanta Peach has also shown her best form on rain affected tracks, with her five wins being on either dead., slow or heavy ground.

   “We are looking at running her in the Wanganui Cup at the end of the month, providing the track is not too firm,” Lowry said.

   Atlanta Peach produced an outstanding performance to win a $30,000 Rating 82 race over 1600m at Awapuni last Saturday. The mare was last on settling and still a long way from the leaders approaching the home turn.

   Rider Ryan Elliot decided to ride her for luck, picking a path through the field but still keeping her under a hold. He managed to get a late split between horses inside the last 50 metres and Atlanta Peach dived through to get up and win by a head in a close four-way finish.

   “That is the way she has to be ridden,” Lowry said.

   “You have to ride her quiet and have that last crack at them. She’s got a really good sprint if you can hold her up for one last run.”

  Atlanta Peach was recording her fifth win from only 14 starts and her success last weekend followed a creditable eighth in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on October 5.

   The Bullbars mare is owned by Cambridge-based Tony Rider and raced by him in partnership with staff from his Pak N Save supermarket.


Atlanta Peach sticks her head out on the line to snatch victory in a Rating 82 race over 1600m at Awapuni last Saturday. The Hastings-trained mare is now being aimed at the Wanganui Cup (2040m) at the end of this month.


HB owner celebrates again

   Taradale racehorse owner Ken Robson has enjoyed good success with Secret Squirrel from the New Plymouth stable of Bryce Revell and now looks to have another promising galloper in Ekstrememiss.

   The big Cape Blanco mare broke through for her maiden victory over 2000m on her home track last Friday and looks a good stayer in the making.

   Ekstrememiss was having her 13th start, with her best previous placings being two fourths and three fifths.

   Revell decided to step her up in distance last Friday and also added a tongue-tie to her gear and it seemed to have the desired effect. Rider Shaun McKay settled the mare back midfield in the early running before asking her to improve entering the last 600m.

   The mare was under a hard ride coming to the home bend but once McKay angled her to the outside she started to hit top gear, stretching out impressively in the final stages to win by three-quarters of a length.

   “Bryce has always thought a lot of her but she has just taken time,” Robson said this week.

   “At her last start, over 1600 at Woodville, her rider Chris Johnson said she lost her way at the 800 and the track was really too heavy for her. He also said that she would be better suited by 2000 metres.”

   Revell bought Ekstrememiss for $15,000 at the 2017 Karaka yearling sales and then set about syndicating the horse out, with Robson taking up a 10 per cent share.

   Revell was very familiar with the horse’s pedigree as he had trained her dam Ekstreme to win seven races, including the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

   “Ekstreme was a really good mare who won more than $400,000 in stakemoney and Bryce always said he would like to race one out of her,” Robson added.

   Ekstrememiss is likely to have her next start in a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 2100m at Awapuni next Thursday.

Extrememiss pictured on her way to winning a 2000m maiden race on her home track at New Plymouth last Friday. The Cape Blanco mare looks a promising stayer in the making.


Melody Belle rings true again

   Glamour New Zealand mare Melody Belle, part-owned by Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters, will be looking to extend her Group 1 winning record to 11 when she lines up in tomorrow’s $A2million MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne.

   The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year recorded her first Australian success at the elite level when taking out last Saturday’s Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and returns to the same venue for tomorrow’s weight-for-age feature.

   “She broke the pattern of the day,” trainer Jamie Richards said, reflecting on the mare’s outstanding win. “She came from off the speed and quickened well.”

   It was one of the biggest moments in Richards’ fledgling career and he hopes that Group One feeling will return tomorrow.

   “It was a big thrill on Saturday,” he said. “Gingernuts won the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas in Australia when I was training with Steve (Autridge), but to go to Melbourne in the spring, on arguably the biggest day of the year, was very exciting and I was very pleased that she could put it all together.”

   The Empire Rose victory gave Richards, Te Akau principal David Ellis and Fortuna Syndications manager John Galvin, the confidence to press on to the Mackinnon rather than the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.

   “There’s a big difference in the prizemoney,” he said. “It’s very hard to fault her form and we think she deserves an opportunity to have a go at the best of them.”

   Melody Belle will be shooting for her fifth win in a row in the 2000m feature but will need to overcome barrier 15 in the 16 horse field.

   It is not the first time Richards has been met with such a hurdle this spring. Te Akau Shark was dealt the outside barrier in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but a gun ride by leading New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson resulted in a game third-placing. 

   “We are going to need a little bit of luck with the way the barriers have come out, but hopefully there is good tempo in the race and we can get back a little bit, where hopefully she can finish off as strongly as she did last Saturday,” Richards said.

   He has been happy with the way Melody Belle has pulled up after Saturday’s assignment. 

   “She has done well, we have been pleased with her,” Richards said. “She has eaten reasonably well.” 

   Melody Belle is unbeaten over 2000m, winning both the Group 1 Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie and the Group 1 Livamol Stakes at Hastings this year and Richards is hoping to keep that record intact on Saturday.

   “In the Livamol, she probably didn’t beat much that day, but at Ellerslie in the autumn when she beat Danzdanzdance on a heavy track in the Bonecrusher certainly suggested that she has got a bit of stamina and she can handle the trip. The 2000m doesn’t look to worry her.”

   With Melody Belle now having proven herself at the elite level in Australia, the $57,500 Karaka yearling sale purchase by David Ellis is set to return to Australian shores next year in a bid to chase more Group 1 spoils.

   “She will be in the spelling paddock on Monday and she will be coming back to New Zealand for a break,” Richards said. “Hopefully we can crank her up in the autumn and get her back over to Australia.”

   "She's a fabulous horse and she's been so good for my career," Richards added. 

   "We're proud Kiwis and we're glad to be over here representing the country.”

   Waipukurau couple Trevor and Debbie Walters own a 10 per cent share in Melody Belle and have rarely missed being on course to witness her 25 starts, which have reaped 15 wins and three thirds. They were among a large group of Kiwis rejoicing at Flemington racecourse last Saturday and will again be there tomorrow to cheer home their pride and joy.

   Top New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson rode the perfect race to get Melody Belle home first last Saturday and will again be aboard the mare tomorrow, a horse that he now rates as one of the best he has ridden.

   "To do it on both sides of the Tasman and win ten Group Ones, not many can do that," Bosson said. 

  : Melody Belle and jockey Opie Bosson are comfortable winners of last Saturday’s Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington The Commands mare will be shooting for her 11th Group 1 victory in tomorrow’s MacKinnon Stakes (2000m).

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