IN Racing
Hawkes Bay Racing Column - December 25
Three-year-old’s connections hoping to rock at Ellerslie
John Jenkins | December 25, 2021
Wewillrock is at full stretch under the urgings of jockey Opie Bosson

Talented Hastings-trained three-year-old Wewillrock will now be aimed at one of the feature races at the rich Karaka Millions meeting at Ellerslie on January 22 following another impressive win at Te Rapa last Saturday.

The El Roca gelding made it two wins from just four starts with a convincing three-quarter length victory in a $30,000 Rating 65 race over 1200m, aided by a perfect ride from top jockey Opie Bosson.

Wewillrock is prepared by the training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen who have always held him in high regard and have adopted a patient policy with a horse that has been a slow maturer, both physically and mentally.

They gave him one start as a two-year-old back in February where he finished fourth over 1000m at Tauherenikau and was found to be shin sore after the race.

“He was a little bit immature and, in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have run him there. But he had a good break after that and has come back much better as a three-year-old,” Guy Lowry said.

Wewillrock didn’t race again until the Taupo meeting on October 6 where he scored an impressive maiden win over 1100m, coming from back in the field and covering a lot of extra ground after jumping from the outside barrier.

He was then freshened again before stepping out over 1230m at Rotorua on December 1, where he was again caught very wide in the running but still managed to finish the race off well for third.

Bosson was having his first ride on Wewillrock last Saturday and jumped the horse out smartly from the barrier before securing a perfect trail behind the leaders. He angled his mount out around heels to lodge a challenge at the top of the home straight and the big striding chestnut quickly dashed clear.

Zecora emerged from the bunch to come out after Wewillrock in the final 200m but Bosson only had to keep his urging his mount with a hands and heels ride to comfortably stave off the challenge.

Lowry was impressed by the win, especially as the horse clocked a quick time of 1:09.93 on a track rated as dead.

“It was a really good performance, in good time, by a horse that I think has a fair bit of ability,” he said.

“He’s always looked well above average, right from day one. He’s been a very good galloper all the way through but has just needed time.

“He’s looking good and doing everything right. He’s a strong horse now, but I think he’ll only continue to strengthen and improve as he gets older. He’s a pretty exciting prospect.”

Wewillrock is unlikely to race again until the Karaka Million meeting, where he will either contest the $1million Karaka Million Three-year-old Classic (1600m) or the Group 3 $110,000 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m).

“We’re definitely working towards Karaka Million night at Ellerslie, but I don’t know yet whether we’ll have a crack at the mile or stick to 1200m,” Lowry said. “Either way, we’re looking forward to running him at the meeting.”

Guy Lowry purchased Wewillrock for $35,000 at the 2020 Karaka yearling sales and the horse is now raced by Hawke’s Bay brothers Mark and Paul Apatu in partnership with Mark Chittick of Waikato stud.

He is out of the Strategic mare Princess Michella, who recorded two wins and five minor placings from only 11 starts.

The Apatu brothers, who own the Apatu Farms horticultural operation, have raced horses in the Lowry/Cullen stable before, with Mark sharing in the ownership of multiple stakes winner and Group 1 placed Xpression, while Paul is a member of the syndicate that races the Listed stakes winner Shezzacatch. The brothers, Lowry and Mark Chittick have been good mates for many years.

“They all decided one day that we should have a horse together, so they got me to go to Karaka and pick one out. This is the one that I came up with, and I just thought that he was a nice, athletic and strong horse.

“He’s already not far off earning what we paid for him, and we’re having fun along the way. Hopefully we’ve got a bit more to look forward to in the future as well.”


HB races next Friday

Hawke’s Bay Racing will stage its New Year’s Eve Raceday at the Hastings racecourse next Friday.

An eight-race programme has been scheduled with the first timed for 12.24pm and the last at 4.31pm.

Gates will open at 10.30am, with a $10 admission charge. Members Stand passes can be purchased for a fee of $20 (if admission is paid).

This race meeting will be run under “Orange Covid Status” with proof of vaccination required.

Patrons must have a “My Vaccine Pass” in paper copy or phone app.

Patrons must also register their attendance by using the QR code at the gate or by signing in at the club’s office on course.

Mask wearing is recommended and compulsory in the weighing room.


 Mana Nui now in Waller stable

This year’s Hawke’s Bay Guineas winner Mana Nui has joined the Sydney stable of champion trainer Chris Waller and will do his future racing in Australia.

The three-year-old was successful twice from Chad Ormsby’s Matamata stable before his Cambridge breeder and owner Tony Rider decided to transfer him across the Tasman. 

“Mana Nui should be ready to race at the end of January or early February. Obviously, we’ll put him in some big races like the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) to try and make him into a stallion,” Rider said.

Mana Nui was a maiden winner over 1200m at Te Rapa in the early spring before coming out at his next start and scoring a three-quarter length victory in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) on October 2.

He suffered an interrupted run on an unsuitably wet track when unplaced in the Group 2 Sarten Memorial (1400m) at his next start before a good fourth placing in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton last month.    

“He had a nice break after that and has been over there for three weeks. He went to Chris Waller’s pre-training place for a start and is now in his Rosehill stable,” Rider added.

Mana Nui is out of the Keeper mare Alpine Julz, who is from the family of Adventador, a horse that won seven races from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen including the Group 1 Telegraph Sprint (1200m) at Trentham.


Elephant preparing for Sydney assault

Following a pleasing Melbourne spring campaign, Elephant has returned to work in good fettle ahead of a return trip across the Tasman.

The David and Emma-Lee Browne-trained gelding is being set for a tilt at the A$5million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 19.

The son of Shocking won two of his five starts in Australia in the spring, including the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m), and was placed in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m).

David Browne, who accompanied Elephant in Victoria during the spring, has been pleased with the way his charge has returned.

“He’s put on a lot of weight,” Browne said.

“He’s a lot heavier than he’s been and he’s really well. He was looking for a spell and he spelled very well.

“He looks really good and should be able to keep his condition this time in.

“l’ll just see how he comes up as to whether he goes straight over there at the end of February.

“There are border restrictions to get over but at the moment, we are looking at going over in February after we get a trial into him here.

“He’s a pretty popular horse, so we hope he can get the votes to get in.”

Fellow Kiwi-bred Probabeel is also being set for the rich feature.

The daughter of Savabeel won the Group 1 Might And Power Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield in October, her fourth elite-level victory, and trainer Jamie Richards has set his sights on the All-Star Mile with the Brendan and Jo Lindsay-raced mare.

“Probabeel is headed towards The All-Star Mile and she’ll follow a similar sort of program to what she did last autumn – Geoffrey Bellmaine (Group 3, 1200m), Futurity Stakes (Group 1, 1400m) and maybe end up in Sydney in something like the Coolmore Legacy (Group1, 1600m),” Richards said.


First stakes winner for sire Tarzino

Kiwi-bred Gypsy Goddess made a one-act affair of the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2100m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday, cruising to her fourth win from as many starts and providing Westbury Stud stallion Tarzino with his first stakes winner.

Sent out a $1.24 favourite, Gypsy Goddess travelled like the winner throughout under a patient ride from Stephanie Thornton, who barely had to shake the reins as the filly romped away for a 3-3/4 length victory.

The horse’s Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke was blown away at the ease in which the filly gapped her rivals.

“She is a stayer, which is what I love. Steph got her into a rhythm and when she produced her she had so much left.

“Where does she stand? I’m not sure, but gee she has got Oaks written all over her.”

The black-type breakthrough came after the filly strung together wins over 1400m and 1600m at the Sunshine Coast, before closing too well for her rivals over 2000m at Doomben at her third start.

Tarzino stands at Auckland’s Westbury Stud at a fee of $12,000. He is by Tavistock out of the Zabeel mare Zarzino and was the Australian champion three-year-old colt in the 2015-16 season when his wins included the Group 1 ATC Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and the Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m). He was also runner-up in the Group 1 VRC Australian Guineas (1600m).

The first of three Group 1 races run at the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival is the Tarzino Trophy (1400m).