The removal of the blinkers and an exceptional ride from jockey Craig Grylls saw Hawke’s Bay-owned Tuppence make a winning return in a Rating 65 race over 1800m at last Saturday’s Taranaki meeting in New Plymouth.
The four-year-old Pentire mare, bred and part-owned by Takapau’s Craig Harvey and Elsthorpe-based Duncan MacLean, had not been successful since winning a 1600m maiden race on the same New Plymouth track in January last year.
In the interim Tuppence, trained at Cambridge by Tony Pike, had nine starts for a second and two thirds.
She had finished a close second over 2100m at Tauranga two starts before last Saturday and then started favourite when unplaced on an unsuitable wet track at Te Rapa.
The punters dropped off her after that Te Rapa failure and she returned a dividend of $16.10 for a win and $4.40 for a place when winning last Saturday.
Jockey Craig Grylls was having his first ever ride on the horse but summed up things perfectly. He bounced the mare out well from an outside barrier to position her midfield in the early running and then let her improve quickly to take a clear lead 800m from the finish.
Thomas Aquinas went up to attack for the lead soon after and Grylls was content to let him go while still keeping something in reserve aboard his mount.
The two horses set down to a neck and neck tussle in the straight with Tuppence pulling out that little bit extra in the final stages to surge ahead and then hold out the fast finishing Zola Express to score by a long head.
“Taking the blinkers off obviously helped because she could see the other horses outside her and really dug in and it was a 10 out of 10 ride from Craig Grylls,” co-owner Craig Harvey said this week.
“It was great to see her do it again and I think she can go on with it now.
“Time is going to be in her favour and Tony Pike thinks 2400 metres is her go and the way she is settling in her races that could be right.”
Harvey and MacLean bred Tuppence, in partnership with Australian-based Tim Morris, out of the Pompeii Court mare Pennies In Heaven.
Morris decided to relinquish his shareholding in Tuppence and her dam several years ago so Harvey and MacLean now race her in partnership with Karl Mihaljevich, who works at Rich Hill Stud in Matamata.
The now deceased Pentire stood at Rich Hill Stud for many years and left a string of Group 1 winners including Mufhasa, Xcellent and the 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.
Pennies In Heaven died last year but left a couple of top performers early in her breeding career. The first was Single Currency (by Bachelor Duke), who won seven races including a Listed event over 1200m at Te Rapa. The second was Super Jockey (by Sandtrap) who ended up being a star performer in Hong Kong.
Super Jockey began his racing career in Hastings when called Okie Dokie. He had been sold by his breeders to the Hawke’s Bay father and son combination of John and James Bridge and scored an impressive debut win over 1200m at Hastings in September 2012.
The horse was then on sold to Hong Kong where his name was changed to Super Jockey and he went on to have another 23 starts for four wins, seven seconds and two thirds and won in excess of $HK12million in stakemoney.
Pennies In Heaven is also the dam of Penteverest, who was the winner of two races, and Sixpence who is a Stravinsky mare and the dam of a Satono Aladdin colt that sold for $67,500 at last month’s Karaka yearling sales.
Tuppence is the last foal Harvey and MacLean bred from Pennies in Heaven with Mihaljevich and his wife breeding two further foals out of the mare before she died, a two-year-old colt by Vadamos and a yearling colt by Proisir.
The Vadamos two-year-old shows plenty of potential and has been sent across the Tasman to be prepared by top Australian trainer Chris Waller.
Back on track after nasty fall
Hastings thoroughbred racehorse trainer Mick Brown was back walking around at the Hastings track on Tuesday after luckily escaping life-threatening injuries in an accident there last Saturday.
Brown, who trains in partnership with his wife Sue Thompson, was working a horse on the plough training track when it suddenly ducked inwards and crashed through a steel running rail that is attached to posts.
The horse, Parenui, ended up in the drain separating the plough from the inside sand track, while Brown was catapulted out of the saddle and ended up being impaled on one of the exposed hooks that clip the rail on.
The hook entered his body just above the ribs on his right side but fortunately didn’t damage any vital organs. He was left hanging onto the post until ambulance personnel and the fire brigade arrived to cut him loose and he was then taken to Hastings Hospital to have the hook surgically removed.
Brown spent the next two nights in hospital before being released on Monday and has been left reflecting on what might have been.
“It didn’t break any ribs and missed my lung by millimetres,” Brown said this week.
“I’m lucky it was on the right side because if it had been the left it would have probably got the heart.
Brown is now resting at home and has a drip attached to the wound to reduce the risk of infection.
“I don’t know how long I will be out of action for but I don’t know whether I want to go back to riding trackwork again anyway,” the rising 53-year-old said.
However the often jovial Brown certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour, saying that the hospital staff gave him the hook that was removed from his body to keep as a memento.
He added that he turns 53 on February 21, the day of the Wairoa Racing Club’s meeting at Hastings, and thought the club might name a race after him.
“They could call it The Hooked Up Mick Maiden,” he quipped.
The plough training track was closed immediately following the accident but Hawke’s Bay Racing chief executive expected it to be re-opened yesterday.
“We’ve had a meeting and plugs have been ordered to be put over the metal hooks in the interim so that the track can be used,” Balcombe said.
“We are now going to replace the steel running rail and concrete posts with wooden posts and tape and this will be done over the next couple of months, once we can arrange a fencing contractor.
“We are also going to take out the drain and beach it on the inside and this will do away with the sand track, which is very rarely used anyway.”
Tabata proving a hit for McCullum
Former Black Caps cricket captain Brendon McCullum ONZM celebrated a stakes success when his mare Tabata prevailed in a desperate finish to the Listed $50,000 Property Brokers Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Tauherenikau on Monday.
McCullum and his wife Ellissa were both on course to enjoy the big moment. The couple have a small property in Matamata, which is presently home to their three broodmares and Tabata is sure to be a valuable addition to that band in the future.
The daughter of Savabeel was recorded her third win from only 10 starts and has also picked up three second placings.
Tabata looked a forlorn hope halfway down the home straight at Tauherenikau as she was giving the eventual runner-up Cruz Ramirez a four-length head start.
Cruz Ramirez kicked hard but couldn’t withstand an irresistible late burst by Tabata that carried her and rider Danielle Johnson to victory by the barest margin.
Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh was delighted with the victory, his third at stakes level in the space of 48 hours after securing a Group 3 double last Saturday, with Vername in the Taranaki Cup (1800m) and Belle Fascino in the White Robe Lodge Weight-for-age (1600m).
“To get any stakes win is always a thrill but to pick up three over the weekend is very satisfying,” Marsh said.
“Mind you, at the top of the straight I didn’t think we could win the race and I was just hoping that we could perhaps run into a place at that stage.
“That was the plan leading into the race as she is still lightly-raced but we were hoping to pick up some black type for her record when she eventually goes to the broodmare paddock.
“She has got a very good finish on her and when she started to pick up halfway down the straight, I started to think we might snatch third but her last 50m was just phenomenal.”
Tabata was now enjoying a brief spell but Marsh said her breeding, and the way she handled 1600m on Monday, a race like the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in the autumn could be an ideal target.
Purchased by McCullum under his Vermair Bloodstock banner and Hughes Bloodstock for $100,000 at the 2018 Karaka yearling sales, Tabata hails from the extended family of Group 1 winners Xtravagant, Legs and Sixty Seconds.