IN Racing
Black type race now beckons for in-form Hastings-trained mare
John Jenkins | January 20, 2024
Fancy Like Lass and jockey Kate Hercock win in a $65,000 R75 1000m at Trentham

Progressive Hastings-trained mare Fancy Like Lass could now be headed for a stakes race after she recorded her fourth win from only nine starts at last Saturday’s Wellington meeting.

The four-year-old mare scored a decisive three-quarter length win in a $65,000 Rating 75 race over 1000m at Trentham, her second success from two starts on the that track.

The training partnership of Mick Brown and Sue Thompson are keen to get some black type next to her name so they have decided to set their sights on the Listed $90,000 Lightning Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on March 16.

“We’ll give her a couple of weeks off and then set her for that race,” Brown said this week.

“She has won over 1200m so that shouldn’t be a problem and she has shown she likes the straight run at Trentham.”

Fancy Like Lass has provided a huge windfall for her Hastings owner Margaret Harkema, who paid just $2100 for her from the equine auction site Gavelhouse in March 2022.

The mare has now recorded four wins and three seconds for stakes earnings of $119,840.

Fancy Like Lass has been plagued with problems from the time she entered the Brown/Thompson stable as a youngster, but their hard work and tremendous patience has seen the mare quickly progress through the grades.

The Helmet mare has suffered from hoof problems, breathing issues and a nervous disposition which her trainers have spent numerous hours sorting out.

“She is still scratchy in her action when she first goes out on the track and makes this breathing noise before the start of a race but is okay once she gets going, “ Brown said.

“It seems to be a nervous thing and just one of many things we have had to sort out with her.”

Hawke’s Bay jockey Kate Hercock has been aboard Fancy Like Lass in all four of her wins and is building a close affinity with the mare.

She knew the horse prefers reasonably good footing and, as the inside part of the Trentham track was starting to chop out badly after steady morning rain, she was keen to get her mount away from the inside after they drew barrier five.

Hercock kept angling out until she got to the extreme outside when the field straightened up for the run to the line and Fancy Like Lass started to stretch out well over the final stages to out-finish her rivals.

Fancy Like Lass is out of the Choisir mare Mandalong Belle, who recorded one win, two seconds and a third from only 14 starts in Australia.


Stakes win for Hastings-based sire

Hastings-based stallion Mongolian Khan was represented with his first black type race winner when Aberlour took out last Saturday’s Listed $80,000 Gore Guineas.

The son of Fastnet Rock has not had a lot of runners and Aberlour has been the main flag bearer for the stallion after two wins, two thirds and a fourth from only five starts.

Aberlour was one of four winners on the day for northern-based jockey Jasmine Fawcett, who bounced the filly out well from the 1335m start and had her in a clear lead coming to the home turn.

They were headed soon after entering the home straight by race favourite Hakadecree but Aberlour kicked back strongly in the final stages to wrest back the lead and score by a long neck.

Aberlour is part-owned and trained by Riverton-based Kelvin Tyler, who rates the filly very highly.

“She is a really god quality filly and she is plenty tough,” Tyler said.

“She is from a good family and she is very talented and genuine.”

Tyler was part of a family group that bred Aberlour out of the Postponed mare Sophie Louise, who was the winner of one race from only four starts.

Tyler will now look at several of the upcoming three-year-old races on the southern circuit for the filly, with the Listed $120,000 Southland Guineas (1600m) at Invercargill on February 17 her next main target.

“After that there is a good race at Dunedin (Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes, 1400m) and we may look to step her up over further later in the autumn.

Aberlour is a half-sister to Tobilicious, a five race winner who finished second in the 2020 running of the Group 2 Couplands Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton before going on to run fourth in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham the following year.

Aberlour’s sire Mongolian Falcon stands at the Kahuranaki property of Vicki Wilson for a fee of $2500, GST included.

A son of champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock, Mongolian Falcon was the winner of three races, including the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and the Listed Harrison Slipper (1200m) at Matamata.

He is out of the Group-performed Galileo mare Amazing Beauty, whose only other progeny to race is the multiple winner Mongolian Beauty.
  Vicki Wilson said this week that Mongolian Falcon mainly covered her own mares this season and got eight in foal.

He will also be represented by two yearlings at next week’s Karaka sales, both fillies.

One of them is out of the Savabeel mare Tansava, making her a half-sister to Amend, who was a last start winner in a Rating 75 race over 1200m at Hastings on January 6.

The other is the first foal out of the Rip Van Winkle mare Rippin, who was a two-time winner when trained at Hastings by Guy Lowry.

“Both yearlings are sharp fillies and should come to hand quickly,” Wilson said.


Jimmy Choux succumbs to cancer

Jimmy Choux, undoubtedly one of the best thoroughbreds produced from Hawke’s Bay in the past two decades, unfortunately had to be euthanized last Monday after developing cancer of the nose. He was 16 years old.

The son of Thorn Park had been based in Australia in recent years and stood at Roselee Park Stud last year at a fee of A$6600.

Jimmy Choux was bred and owned by Havelock North couple Richard and Liz Wood and was prepared throughout his racing career by Hastings trainer John Bary.

He raced at the highest level from a two-year-old to a four-year-old, winning 12 times, five of them at Group 1 level.

He was crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old in the 2010-11 racing season when his wins included the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).

He then went on to win two more Group 1 races at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival the following season, the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and the NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic (2040m).

Jimmy Choux was also Group 1 placed on four occasions, one of them being a game second to Pinker Pinker in the 2011 Cox late (2040m).

Upon retirement he first stood at Matamata’s Rich Hill Stud before being sold to Australian interests.

The best of his progeny was Bostonian, who won 10 races including three at Group 1 level, the Doomben 10,000, Kingsford-Smith Cup and Sunshine Coast Guineas.

Two Illicit (eight wins) was another Group 1 winner for the stallion, with her success at the elite level coming in the Captain Cook Stakes at Te Rapa.

Supreme Heights (eight wins), Open Minded (nine wins), Midnight Runner (nine wins), Chouxting The Mob (seven wins), Manolo Blahniq (four wins) and Dennis Choux (four wins) are other well performed gallopers from his progeny, the latter scoring an impressive win in the last race at Wednesday’s Belmont meeting in Perth.

“It is a sad demise really,” Richard Wood said upon hearing the news that Jimmy Choux had succumbed to cancer.

“He was a great horse who gave us a huge amount of thrills.”


McDonald has two plum rides

Leading Sydney jockey James McDonald has been ticking up the air miles of late and will add some more to his tally when he lands back in New Zealand this weekend to ride at today’s TAB Karaka Millions race meeting at Ellerslie.

The expat Kiwi hoop heads to Auckland in re-hot form after he scored another Group 1 triumph in Hong Kong last Sunday when guiding Voyage Bubble to victory in the Stewards’ Cup (1600m) at Sha Tin.

It will be the first time McDonald has been back in his homeland in nearly five years and he is being welcomed home with some quality rides.

He has secured the coveted ride on the Stephen Marsh-trained Velocious in the $1million TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) and the filly looks certain to start favourite after coming up with a good barrier draw.

The daughter of Written Tycoon currently heads the betting market following impressive wins in her first two starts, one of them in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m), before a last start third in the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day.

“She is going really well, her form is outstanding,” McDonald said. I get a text from Stephen (Marsh) every week that she is in really good form. I wouldn’t swap her for anything.”

McDonald will also jump aboard the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Orchestral in the $1.5million TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) and the last start winner is vying for favoritism with Molly Bloom.

“She ran an absolute screamer last start where she won very easily. She is ready to peak, and with Roger James training her, I think she is as good as anything in the race,” McDonald added.