IN Racing
Big bets landed when Poukawa wins Wanganui maiden debut
John Jenkins | May 18, 2024
Poukawa ridden by jockey Kozzi Asano in the maiden 1200m race at Wanganui on Thursday

An inspired betting plunge came off when Hastings-trained Poukawa recorded an impressive debut win at Wanganui on Thursday of last week.

The Per Incanto three-year-old, prepared by the partnership of Guy Lowry and Leah Zydenbos, was at double-figure odds when betting first opened on the 1200m maiden race but was backed in to start a $4.90 second favourite.

Lowry, who is part of a large group of owners in the horse, said this week they were confident of a big run from the horse but even he was surprised at how quickly the dividend shortened on the tote.

“We thought he would go well,” Lowry said.

“He had a quiet jumpout and an easy trial and we thought he was ready but you never know with a first starter. They can do things wrong.”

 Poukawa was ridden by Kozzi Asano who positioned the horse perfectly from the start, third and one-off the fence.

Poukawa moved up to join the pacemaking Tiger Lily turning into the home straight but was then put under pressure as, first the leader kicked back, and then Bruno entered the fray wide out on the track.

The three horses settled down to a tussle over the final stages, with Poukawa surging ahead close to the line to win by half a length from Bruno, with the same margin back to Tiger Lily in third place.

Poukawa was bred at Masterton’s Little Avondale Stud, which has also retained an ownership share in the horse along with a big group that includes others from Hawke’s Bay.

 Poukawa is certainly bred to be good as he is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Superior Choice and from the family of the smart racemare Vedodara, who won the 1994 running of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and was placed in both the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and Group 1 Ansett Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, in Sydney.

“He is a horse that has always shown plenty and won a jumpout pretty easy when he was a two-year-old,” Lowry said.

“Kate Hercock rode him that day and said that he felt like a good horse.”

Lowry said Poukawa will now be turned out for a winter spell and will not be seen back on the racetrack until the spring.

“He’s still got a bit of strengthening up to do and is still very green,” he added.

Lowry’s black and white chequered colours were seen in action at Morphettville, in South Australia, on Saturday when Zambezi Khan finished a game second behind another Kiwi horse, Positivity, in the $185,000 South Australian Fillies Classic (2500m).

Zambezi Khan started out in Lowry’s stable, recording a win and two fifths from three starts, before she was transferred to Australia. She has since recorded another two wins, two seconds and two thirds and is now prepared by Victorian trainer Paddy Payne, with Lowry keeping an interest in the horse.


Geriatrix now heading to Brisbane

Geriatrix, a $675,000 purchase from the 2022 Karaka yearling sales, will try to recoup some of that outlay when he heads to Queensland in the coming weeks.

The three-year-old son of Almanzor was on trial to join stablemates Molly Bloom and Tomodachi across the Tasman when he lined up in a $35,000 three-year-old race over 1400m at Arawa Park last Saturday and recorded a convincing win.

Geriatrix carries the colours of Havelock North couple Sam and Birdie Kelt and is raced by them in partnership with a group that includes another Havelock North couple, Andrew and Lauren Scott.

He is out of the Showcasing mare Its Our Showtime who raced nine times in New Zealand for two wins, a second and a third, with both wins over 1200m. His latest success took his stake earnings to $86,285.

Experienced jockey Sam Spratt was aboard Geriatrix at Rotorua and settled the colt third last  in the early running, biding her time before asking her mount to improve four-wide from the 500m mark.

Turning for home, Geriatrix only had Fashion Icon and Charmer in front of him and he comfortably ranged up outside those two rivals before kicking clear in the final stages to score by 1-3/4 lengths and record his third win from nine starts.

Andrew Scott, who trains the colt in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan from their Wexford Stable in Matamata, was pleased to see Geriatrix return to winning form after he had finished fifth and seventh respectively in the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) and Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in his last two outings.

“He has shown real glimpses of ability from time-to-time.” He said. “We got a foot problem with him over Christmas-New Year and put him away for about six weeks.

“He has had a good autumn, but he lacked a lot of luck in the Wellington Guineas and then in the Breeders’ Stakes a fortnight ago.”

Geriatrix will now head to Brisbane where O’Sullivan and Scott have highlighted the Group 3 $A300,000 Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 1 and the Group 3 $A200,000 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 15 as two potential targets.


Short break best for Graeme John

A quick six day back-up worked the oracle for Hastings-owned Graeme John when he scored a decisive win in a Rating 65 race over 1200m at Wanganui on Thursday of last week.

The five-year-old Per Incanto gelding is trained at Woodville by Shane Brown and had only finished seventh of 12 runners over 1400m on his home track the previous Friday.

Before that, his races had been spaced and his connections have now come to the conclusion that he could be best when his races are run closer together.

Graeme John is owned by his Hastings breeder Ian Holloway, who races the gelding in partnership with two others, Hastings-based Allan Bartlett and his Kapiti-coast-based brother Roland.

Holloway said this week he thinks Graeme John had been doing a bit too well between races and the quick back-up certainly worked.

“I think he was getting away on Shane a bit,” Holloway said.

“You would think he wouldn’t but he is a pretty good doer.”

Graeme John was one of the slowest to begin from the 1200m barrier at Wanganui last week and was back second to last approaching the home turn.

Apprentice rider Toni Davies then decided to take off on the horse and he looped the field to be the widest horse on straightening for the run home.

Graeme John kept up a strong finish down the outside of the track to get up and win by three-quarters of a length.

It was the horse’s second win from 20 starts but the way he did it suggests it would not be his last.

“He is a horse that has got ability but he beats himself sometimes,” Holloway said.

Holloway bred Graeme John out of the Spartacus mare My Favourite Recipe, who was unplaced in her only race start but is extremely well bred, being out of the multiple stakes winning Sir Tristram mare Tristabelle.

Holloway said finding another suitable race for Graeme John now is a bit of a problem.

“We were going to line him up again at Woodville next week but they have transferred the race he would have been in to Trentham the day before,” he said.

Holloway has bred and raced thoroughbreds for close to forty years with his first winner being a horse called Thrust, who recorded five wins when trained by the then Hastings trainer Mike Lange.

Holloway is also a shareholder in The Mighty Spar, who is the winner of six races in New Zealand and is now racing out of Mark Walker’s Cranbourne stable in Australia, where he has recorded two fourth placings over hurdles in his last two starts.

Holloway also bought two well bred fillies from the premier session at this year’s Karaka yearling sales.

One is by Savabeel out of Residential that cost $100,000 and has been named Stortford Lodge. The other is by Super Seth out of Masquerade that he paid $70,000 for and has been named Shes No Pie.

“Both fillies are out of black type mares and both have already been broken in so hopefully they will race as two-year-olds,” Holloway said.


Trentham jumps races at Woodville

The four jumps races set down for the Wellington Racing Club’s meeting at Trentham on May 25 will now be run at the Woodville meeting the following day.

The centre of the course at Trentham had a penetrometer reading of a Good-2 and would require significant rain (50 millimetres or more) in order to safely hold a steeplechase. And the forecast for the Upper Hutt region in the next week is for mostly dry weather.

Consequently the Open Steeplechase, Open Hurdle, Maiden Steeplechase and Maiden Hurdle races from Trentham on May 25 will move to Woodville the following day.

In turn four races, the Maiden 2100m, Maiden 1300m, Maiden Two-year-old 1200m and Rating 65 1200m will move from Woodville to Trentham on May 25 and all will have relevant stake increases as they will now be run on a Feature raceday.


Taupo races are now $20,000

The stakes for the eight race Taupo Racing Club’s meeting on May 22 will now be $20,000 per race.

There was a communication stating the stakes would be reverting to $17,000. But an extra $3000 per race has been contributed by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, who were originally set down to stage the meeting.

The 2100m races at Taupo will now be run over 2000m while the 1600m races will be run  over 1750m. A maiden two-year-old race over 1100m has also been added.