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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 29 Nov 2019

Top galloper Magnum enjoying a dual role

(By John Jenkins)


   Magnum, a game winner of a $40,000 open class race at Pukekohe last Saturday, will revert to competing in the showring this weekend.

   The seven-year-old Per Incanto gelding, part-owned by Havelock North’s Jason Fleming, is entered for the ‘Best Thoroughbred Life After Racing’ section at Sunday’s Waikato A& P Show.

   Among the horses he will be competing against there are the former outstanding galloper Mufhasa, whose 20 wins included 10 at Group 1 level, and the 2010 New Zealand Derby winner Military Move.

   Magnum was recording his seventh win when he got up in the last stride to snatch a nose decision over Contessa Vanessa in last Saturday’s 1600m open event at Pukekohe. It was his first success since taking out a 1200m open sprint at Ruakaka in September last year, but he had recorded several good minor placings of late and been plagued by wide barrier draws.

   Fleming is one of five people still involved in the ownership of Magnum after some of the other shareholders dropped out.

   “He’s been a good horse but seems to always to find one better than him on the day,” Fleming said this week.

   “He’s had bad draws which hasn’t helped but he drew well last Saturday and it was a good ride from Opie Bosson, who thinks he’s got a fair bit of talent.”

   Magnum is at his best when he can be given a bit of racing room and held up for one final sprint. Bosson positioned him in fifth place and one off the fence until the home turn and waited for as long as he could before asking him for the supreme effort.

   Contessa Vanessa looked to have the race is safe keeping when two lengths clear inside the final 200 metres but Magnum launched late to get in the deciding stride.

   The horse’s Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan was both pleased and relieved to get the win with the son of Per Incanto.

   “I am glad he got up, even by a whisker,” Brennan said. “We have always thought he would get the mile, just the way he is so relaxed. But he has got to have everything go his way.”

   Magnum will now head south to Awapuni on December 21 where he will compete in front of his Central Districts-based owners in the $100,000 Kamada Park Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m). 

   “David Wallace, Jason Fleming, Sam and Catriona Williams live down that way, so it will give them a day out to see their horse. 

   “We know he is going to be competitive over that distance, he runs well at Awapuni and it gives him a month to freshen-up.”

   Brennan said she would then look towards an autumn return with the lightly raced seven-year-old.

   “We might give him a little break over Christmas-New Year, we will just see how he runs first,” she said. “We know tracks around that time are going to come up quite firm and it would be nice to get some dead tracks in the autumn for him before it gets too wet.”

   Magnum, who was born at Masterton’s Little Avondale Stud, did his early racing in Singapore where he recorded four wins and seven minor placings from 15 starts. He then returned to New Zealand where he was put in the care of Brennan and his victory last Saturday took his stake earnings to close to $500,000.

   “Lauren does a lot of alternative training with the horse and it seems to work for him,” Fleming said.

   “He does a lot of trekking up the hills and a lot more than just trackwork.”

   Fleming says he has cut back on his thoroughbred interests in recent years but has shares in a few young horses coming on and is a shareholder in the John Bary-trained Champagne Bride, a mare by Roc de Cambes who has won one race at 2000m and was a good last start third over 1600m at Woodville.

   “I think she could be a good stayer,” Fleming added.

   Trainer Lauren Brennan is happy with the way her other stable star, Vigor Winner, has returned home after his runner-up performance behind True Enough in the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton on November 13.

   “Luckily, he got to fly back a few days later, so it saved him the float trip home,” Brennan said. 

   “It was just unfortunate that he got pipped. It is a long straight at Riccarton and the winning post didn’t come up soon enough for us.”

   The performance affirmed the four-year-old’s ability over a mile and Brennan now has her sights set on Group 1 targets for the son of Declaration Of War.

   “I am pleased he got the mile; I was starting to think before the Coupland’s that he may be a 1200 or 1400m horse,” she said.

   “We will give him three weeks out, freshen him up and aim him for the Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham in January.

   “He likes those big, roomy tracks and I think left-handed way of going is probably better for him as well.

   “We know he runs well fresh and we may give him another trial before the race, but that will be his next start.”


Charlotte third in Pony Final

   Fourteen-year-old, Charlotte New, rode the race of her life to finish in third place in the Sheikha Lateefa Bint Mansoor Bint Zayed Al Nahyan International Pony Race Final at the Abu Dhabi Sports and Equestrian Centre Racecourse last weekend.

   A crowd of over 12000 cheered loudly as the fifteen pony riders started the 400m race.

   Louis Bouton from France was a tearaway leader and won the race from Evan Nicholas of Romania with Charlotte and her pony Kulla in third place.

   Other countries competing were USA, Algeria, Russia, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden and the UAE

   Sheikha Lateefa, daughter of the UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansoor, presented the trophy to Charlotte.

   Charlotte's proud mum Kylla was in the winners’ enclosure to share the moment with her daughter.


Two HB race days together

   Hawke’s Bay racegoers are in for a Christmas treat with two days of racing on two different tracks in the space of four days coming up.

   The Waipukurau Jockey Club’s annual Christmas meeting will be held on the Waipukurau track on Sunday, December 8, and three days later Hawke’s Bay Racing will hold a twilight meeting at Hastings on Wednesday, December 11.

   The feature race at the Waipukurau meeting will be the $16,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Qualifier, a 2200m event for Rating 72 horses.

   There will also be a Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Qualifier over 1400m for Rating 65 grade horses at the Hawke’s Bay meeting, with the other main race being a Rating 72 sprint over 1200m.


Endless Drama steps out in Perth

   Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is stepping into unfamiliar territory with Endless Drama this weekend.

   Endless Drama, winner of the Group 2 Easter Handicap (1600m) and the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) this year, is in Perth for an attack on the Group 1 $A1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot tomorrow.

   “I’ve never taken a horse to Perth before or been there myself so it’s new to me,” Pike said.

   He and jockey Leith Innes were on a flight to Perth on Wednesday.

   Pike decided on the Winterbottom Stakes for Endless Drama after weighing up all Australian possibilities for the son of Lope De Vega.

   “It looked a nice option for him and outside of Melbourne it’s a tier down,” Pike said.

   “The club was keen to get him there when taking into account his form around Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark and they’ve paid all the transport as well as some other costs.”

   Endless Drama beat Te Akau Shark (second) and Melody Belle (fourth) in the Foxbridge Plate before finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings, won by Melody Belle.

   “He was caught wide in the Tarzino and we battled foot problems with him from then on,” Pike said.

   “He’s been off for a while, but he goes well fresh and as long as he gets a reasonable draw he should be a big chance.”

  The Winterbottom Stakes field will include the James Cummings-trained Trekking, to whom Endless Drama finished third in the Group 1 Stradbroke (1400m) at Eagle Farm. 

   Trekking has since won the Group 2 Schillaci (1100m) at Caulfield in October before finishing third to Yes Yes Yes in the $A14 million Everest (1200m) at Randwick and a last-start second to Pierata in the A$1 million Redzel Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill.

   Endless Drama won twice in Ireland, raced in England, chased champion Winx home when third in the 2017 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and won the feature the following year before transferring to Pike last March.


Matthew Cameron sidelined

   Leading jockey Matthew Cameron is likely to be sidelined for at least another couple of weeks after he was injured when unsaddling fifth placed Visenya in race six at New Plymouth last Friday.

   “I came back, dismounted and started taking the saddle off the horse, and then she just brushed her back legs against one of those little hedges they have on the sides of the ‘first’ to ‘sixth’ stalls,” Cameron said.

   “She got a bit of a fright and lunged forward, then kicked with both barrels. She got me in the knee, and straight away I felt something happen, whether it was a pull or a tear to a ligament, I’m not sure yet. But I’ve had it x-rayed and at least there’s no fracture.”

   Cameron was to see a knee specialist yesterday morning where he will get the results of an MRI scan. He will then have a better idea of what the dame is and how long he will be out of action for.

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