One of the most impressive winners on a rain-soaked race day at Hastings last Sunday was undoubtedly the Hastings-trained Bedtime Story.
The big Per Incanto filly started a $1.60 favourite for a three-year-old maiden race over 1200m and scored a dominant 1-3/4 length win.
Bedtime Story is prepared on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and was having her second start, after a close debut second over 1200m at Woodville last month.
She provided jockey Kozzi Asano with a lucky pick-up ride after Warren Kennedy, who was initially booked for the mount, decided not to attend the meeting.
Bedtime Story had only four race-rivals on a day when the fields were decimated by an avalanche of scratchings due to the state of the track. There were only 42 starters spread over the seven races, with one race having only four runners.
A penetrometer reading of the track two days out from the races was recorded as a good-3. There had only been 9.5 millimetres of rainfall in the seven days preceding race day yet the track ended up a heavy-9 after just one race into the programme.
A total of 33 millimetres of irrigation had been applied between Monday and the Friday night preceding the meeting.
Bedtime Story did not appear all that happy in the heavy track conditions but proved far too good for the opposition.
Asano settled the filly in fourth place until the home turn before angling her to the outside of the leaders. She took a while to get balanced up before producing some giant strides to sweep past her rivals.
Bedtime Story started to wander over towards the inside rail in the final stages but had established enough of a break to score with authority.
The filly races in the colours of the Dowager Duchess of Bedford and is owned by her in partnership with a group that includes Hawke’s Bay couple David and Jen Henderson, Hawke’s Bay Racing Board member Tim Gillespie and the estate of the later Colin Bremer, who was a former president of the Waipukurau Jockey Club.
The Duchess of Bedford bred Bedtime Story out of the Tavistock mare Happy Endings, who is a daughter of the high-class racemare Snap.
Snap was the winner of 11 races from 30 starts including four Group 1 victories, the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), New Zealand Oaks (2400m) and the Waikato Draught Sprint (1400m).
Lowry said he has always had a high opinion of Bedtime Story and is predicting a bright future for the filly.
“She has improved from her first start and is improving all the time.
“She is furnishing into a nice horse and is going to be even better in another six months,” he said.
He added that he would like to keep her to three-year-old races in the immediate future but, as there is a lack of suitable events in the next few weeks, she may not be seen in action again until Trentham on December 23, where there is a $40,000 three-year-old set weights and penalties race over 1200m.
Southern raid reaps rewards
An ambitious decision by Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence to take two horses on a long trip down to Christchurch last week paid dividends in spades.
Lawrence entered stable favourite Pep Torque for the $65,000 open handicap on the middle day of the New Zealand Cup meeting at Riccarton and decided to send stablemate Zappa Jak along as a travelling mate.
Pep Torque only managed sixth in his race, with Lawrence saying the 10-year-old was forced to do too much work in the running from a wide draw.
But one race earlier Lawrence found herself in the winner’s circle after Zappa Jak had taken out a $65,000 Rating 75 race over 1800m.
Lawrence admitted it was a big call to make the trip south, with a couple of horses who had been battling in recent starts closer to home, but the fact that they would be contesting $65,000 races was a big drawcard.
“With Zappa Jak, what made it attractive was that he was down in the weights and was going to be racing on a firm track,” she said.
The five-year-old gelding had carried 59kg in his previous two starts in the Central Districts and dropped to just 54kg at Riccarton, where he was racing on a good-4 racing surface.
“He is by Jakkalberry and most of them go well on wet tracks but he hates them,” Lawrence added. “As soon as it gets shifty he’s hopeless.”
Talented apprentice Lily Sutherland was aboard Zappa Jak and got the horse to settle perfectly, a distant fifth, from the outset.
They were still giving the leaders a big head start rounding the home turn and Zappa Jak took a while to wind up once Sutherland angled him out to the centre of the track. But over the final stages he really hit top gear and got up to beat Treybon by a neck.
Zappa Jak was recording his third win from 20 starts and has also chalked up three thirds and a second.
Lawrence and her husband Steve own Zappa Jak after acquiring him from his Hawke’s Bay owner-breeder, the late Doug Phillips.
They then set up a syndicate to race the horse, retaining a majority share. The other members are Peter and Ata Haynes, Shane Overend, Mike Ju, Kevin McCoy, Simon and Wendy Collin and Rod Overend.
Lawrence said she is unsure where Zappa Jak will race next but she has put in a nomination for the Group 3 $300,000 Wellington Cup (3200m) on January 20 and will work back from there.
“It is a bit of a pipe-dream at the moment but, who knows, if he continues to improve we could be in the Wellington Cup.”
Bary bags another two wins
Hastings trainer John Bary took his tally of wins for the season to five with a double last weekend.
Bary trekked north to the Tauranga meeting on Saturday where he produced She’s So Reliable to take out a $45,000 Rating 65 race over 2100m and then saddled up Swazi to score in an $18,5000 Rating 60 race over 1200m on his home track at Hastings on Sunday.
He is now equal with the Paul Nelson & Corrina McDougal stable for the most wins by a Hawke’s Bay trainer this season.
The aptly named She’s So Reliable brought up her third victory from 30 starts with a dominant performance on a heavy track at Tauranga. She has also recorded six seconds and three thirds and has rarely finished further back than sixth.
She is also versatile as she won her maiden race over 1550m on a good track in April last year while her second success was over 2200m on a heavy-10 track at Hastings three months later.
The daughter of Reliable Man was ridden by apprentice Jim Chung at Tauranga and he settled the mare in a perfect trial behind the leader until just before the home turn before asking her to quicken.
The six-year-old moved through to take the lead rounding the home turn and maintained a strong gallop in the conditions to win by a length.
She’s So Reliable is owned by Auckland couple Andy and Celeste Hauraki who paid $40,000 for her at the 2019 Karaka yearling sales. She has now won more than $81,000 in stakemoney.
Swazi brought up his second success from 12 starts with a good front running performance at Hastings last Sunday.
The Choisir gelding had dominated from the front when winning a 1000m maiden race on the Awapuni synthetic track back in July and led all the way again over 1200m on his home track
He only had three rivals to beat but was clearly superior, maintaining a strong gallop for jockey Joe Doyle to win by 3-3/4 lengths.
Swazi is Australian-bred, being out of the Encosta De Lago mare Granadilla, and is a half-brother to the three-race winner Pure Imagination.
John Bary bought the now four-year-old for $80,000 at the 2021 Ready To Run Two-year-old sale and he races him in partnership with the Swazi Syndicate, a group managed by Mike Sanders that involves several Hawke’s Bay people.
Successful return by Uderzo
Uderzo, part-owned by two Havelock North couples, Sam and Birdie Kelt and Andrew and Lauren Scott, made an impressive return to the racetrack after a lengthy break with a decisive win in a $40,000 Rating race over 1200m at Tauranga last Saturday.
The five-year-old Vadamos gelding was having his first start since finishing seventh out of 10 over 1600m at Hastings back in April and had to carry topweight of 59.5kg.
With the benefit of a good second behind speedster Babylon Berlin in a 900m Te Rapa trial last month, the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott was turned out in great order and powered through the heavy track conditions to score by 1-1/2 lengths.
Rider Hasa Hashizume had the son of Vadamos away well to settle in a handy position behind pacemaker Kiva Han and made his move to join issue approaching the home bend.
Uderzo was cruising as he went past Kiva Han and shot clear to win handsomely from Gwen’s Daughter and Butterfield.
“He (Uderzo) is a horse that has always had ability but has taken a while to put it all together,” O’Sullivan said.
“He got through the ground but we have always thought he is better on a firm surface so that was a handy win.”
Purchased by Wexford Stables for $125,000, Uderzo has now won four of his 11 starts and more than $111,000 in stakemoney.
Out of the Pentire mare Etosha Lass, he is from the extended family of the 1990 Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes winner and successful sire Canny Lad.