Hastings trainer John Bary has had a change of luck in the past week, picking up a brace of wins after a frustrating string of minor placings in the early part of this season.
Bary produced Royal Destroyer to score a debut win in a maiden three-year-old race over 1200m at Otaki on Wednesday of last week and then had Rockburn dead-heat for first in a Rating 65 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau on Sunday.
Bary has only saddled up three winners so far this season but has also had five seconds and six thirds, with several of those minor placegetters going down by narrow margins.
Bary lined up three horses in the 1200m maiden three-year-old race at Otaki, with Lohnagan the most favoured of the trio. But, while that horse had trouble getting a clear run in the home straight, Royal Destroyer came from last on the home turn and powered down the outside of the track to get up and snatch a last stride win, in the hands of jockey Sarah O’Malley.
Although Royal Destroyer was having his first start, he had two barrier trials back in February and another one over 850m at Foxton in September to help prepare him.
The son of Embellish was bred at Cambridge Stud and is by that stud’s resident sire out of the Stratum mare Markle.
John Bary purchased the horse for $36,000 from the 2021 Karaka weanling sale and then set about syndicating him, retaining a racing share himself.
Bary’s Marton-based father Campbell has taken up a share while the other syndicate members are Lou Crasbourne, Michael Weston and Michael McCrea, all from Hawke’s Bay.
Bary’s racing manager Mike Sanders said this week Royal Destroyer has been a slow maturing type which is why he hasn’t started racing until now.
“He has come on really well in the past few weeks and is a very nice horse,” Sanders said.
“John doesn’t have any immediate plans for him at this stage but just wants to take him through the grades.
“He would like to find another soft option for him but there are not many three-year-old races around.”
Royal Destroyer is out of the Australian-bred mare Markle, who had 10 starts for a win, a second and a third.
Bary has always had a high opinion of Rockburn and the four-year-old went some way towards fulfilling his potential with a strong performance at Tauherenikau last Sunday.
The four-year-old Iffraaj gelding started favourite for the 1600m race but settled towards the rear in the 11-horse field and was giving the leaders a big head start entering the last 600m.
Rider Jonathan Riddell then started to improve his position between horses coming to the home turn and had Rockburn ready to lodge a claim on straightening up.
Derryaire had skipped clear early in the home straight and Rockburn took a while to get balanced up before producing some giant strides late.
The two horses went across the line locked together and could not be separated as the photo-finish mechanism malfunctioned just as the horses came down the home straight.
Rockburn was bred by Wairarapa couple Pat and Rosie Laffey and is raced by them and several of their family members along with John Bary and his wife Laura and their two children.
He was having his 10th start and now boasts a record of three wins and two thirds.
He is by Iffraaj out of the now deceased Centaine mare Wee Tipple, who was the winner of three races from the Bary stable.
Fancy Like Lass adds to good record
Fancy Like Lass is starting to build a consistent record for the Hastings training partnership of Mick Brown and Sue Thompson and the mare’s Hawke’s Bay owner Margaret Harkema.
The Hellbent four-year-old recorded her second win for the season with another game performance in a Rating 65 race over 1200m at Otaki on Wednesday of last week. It was only her sixth start and she has also chalked up two seconds and a fifth.
Fancy Like Lass broke through for her maiden victory over 1200m at Hastings back in September, where she sped to the lead from the outset and set up a strong gallop in front before holding on to score by half a head.
She was then unsuited by a heavy track when well beaten over 1300m on the second day of the Hawke’s Bay Spring carnival before an unlucky second over 1100m at Taupo last month, where she got back in the early stages and had to cover a huge amount of extra ground before charging home for a close second.
Hawke’s Bay jockey Kate Hercock rode Fancy Like Lass to her first win and was back on board for last week’s Otaki race. She hunted the mare out quickly from the barrier again but then had to take a trail as Jus Wing It went through on the inside to take the front after 200m.
Fancy Like Lass moved up to challenge for the lead coming to the home turn and took over soon after.
She was then left a sitting duck for any late challengers but showed plenty of fight over the final stages to hold out the fast-finishing Princessa Gold by half a head.
Fancy Like Lass was a $2100 buy from the Gavelhouse online auction site in March of last year and has now won her owner Margaret Harkema more than $54,000 in stakemoney.
She is Australian-bred, being out of the Choisir mare Mandalong Belle, who recorded a win, two seconds and a third from 14 starts in Australia.
Mick Brown said this week that Fancy Like Lass has come through last week’s race in great order but he wants to space her races and she is now unlikely to compete again until the Waikato meeting at Te Rapa on December 2, where there is a $40,000 Rating 75 race over 1100m.
CHB owner shares in Atishu’s success
Dannevirke racehorse owner Dean Shuker is glad he and his partner decided to extend their Melbourne Cup trip by a few days last week as it meant they were able to witness Atishu’s outstanding win in last Saturday’s Group 1 A$3million TAB Champions Stakes.
Shuker, who works as a wool representative, owns a five percent share in the Savabeel mare, who took her stake earnings past the A3.7million mark with a dominant 1-3/4 length in the 1600m feature at Flemington.
He said this week that he and his partner had made plans to attend this year’s Melbourne Cup carnival, especially as Atishu was contesting the Group 1 A1million Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on the first day, on November 4.
Atishu finished a game second in that race, getting well back in the early running before trying, in vain, to run down the tearaway pacemaker Pride Of Jenni.
Jockey James McDonald was full of praise for the mare after that race and suggested to trainer Chris Waller that he should back her up in the TAB Champions Stakes (2000m) seven days later.
“We were only going to be over there until the Thursday but once it was confirmed she was going to back up we decided to stay and we only got home on Monday,” Shuker said.
“It was great to be there on course and a huge thrill. She was very dominant.”
Atishu was recording her ninth win and her second at Group 1 level, after taking out the A$1million Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) in Sydney last April. Her stake earnings from her two runs at this year’s Melbourne Cup carnival netted A1,990,000.
“She more than doubled her stake earnings in seven days,” Shuker said.
He added that the mare is now heading to the spelling paddock and will be aimed at the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 30 next year.
“She seems to love the Flemington track and it would be great to have a crack at another Group 1.”
Atishu cost $260,000 as a yearling and there are 19 people involved in the ownership, a syndicate set up by Go Racing’s Albert Bosma.
The horse started out in the Cambridge stable of Stephen Marsh, who produced her for her first four wins before she was transferred to Chris Waller in Sydney.
Shuker is sold on the Go Racing syndication process and has taken up a five percent share in two more fillies purchased by Bosma at this year’s Karaka yearling sales.
One is by Savabeel out of Star Ellipse that cost $250,000 and the other is by Dundeel out of Free Speech that cost $150,000.
Hunter Durrant rejoins Te Akau stable
Former Hastings apprentice jockey Hunter Durrant is enjoying being back at the helm of Te Akau Racing’s Riccarton barn and buoyed by the successful run the stable is having at this year’s New Zealand Cup meeting.
Durrant led Te Akau’s South Island operation last spring and has rejoined their Riccarton arm on a permanent basis following a brief stint in Sydney earlier this year.
“I moved to Sydney where I was Annabel Neasham’s assistant trainer for six months,” the 23-year-old said.
“It was a good experience, I enjoyed it and learnt a lot, but I felt the right thing was to come home.
“Te Akau had always wanted me to come back and they gave me a few options and I decided to head south again. I ran the Christchurch stable last Spring and I really enjoyed it.”
Durrant joined the Te Akau operation after it became apparent his aspirations of becoming a jockey were going to be restricted by weight.
He was apprenticed to Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen in Hastings and rode one winner before giving up and moving north to Te Akau’s Matamata base.
“I started riding work and I was assistant foreman and then foreman. In recent years I have travelled a lot to Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne with the likes of Sword Of State, Imperatriz and Probabeel so I have been very lucky to deal with some very good horses.”