HB-trained Pep Torque one of racing’s bargain buys
(By John Jenkins)
Waipukurau-trained Pep Torque, whose racing career was put in jeopardy when he suffered a fractured knee 12 months ago, is now back racing better than ever and notched up his seventh win when taking out last week’s $32,500 Ashhurst-Pohangina Cup at Awapuni.
Kirsty Lawrence, who prepares and part-owns the Nadeem seven-year-old, said he is one of the most honest horses she has had anything to do with so when he only managed 10th in the Group 3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham in January last year she knew there was something amiss.
Follow-up x-rays revealed a fracture to the knee on his nearside foreleg and he was transferred to the Matamata Veterinary Centre where he underwent an operation.
“He spent the next three months in a box or yarded and rehabilitating,” Lawrence said this week.
“The winter then came so we just let him get over it and he started again this season. He has since had another two wins and just been so honest.”
From his last six starts Pep Torque has recorded two wins, two seconds and a third and his latest success boosted his stake earnings to more than $149,000.
It has been a tremendous return on the $2600 Lawrence and her husband Steve outlayed to buy the horse on Gavelhouse and they race him in partnership with stable employee Susan Best and the Gisborne-based sisters Diana and Christina Newman.
Promising Palmerston North apprentice Faye Lazet was engaged to ride Pep Torque in the main race of the day at Awapuni with Lawrence wanting to make use of her 4kg allowance, bringing the weight the horse carried down to 55.5kg.
Lazet jumped Pep Torque out well from the 2000m start and positioned her into a perfect trail, one-out and one-back. She then sent him up to challenge the pacemaking He No Opilio early in the home straight and the pair had a tussle over the final stages, with Pep Torque gaining the upper-hand close to the line to score by half a neck.
Pep Torque will now be on a nine-day back up when he tackles tomorrow’s $30,000 Affco New Zealand Wairoa Cup (2100m), feature race at the Wairoa Racing Club’s meeting being held on the Hastings track.
Lawrence has no qualms about the quick back up, saying the horse has performed well when his races have been close together in the past.
“He’s been over 2100m twice before. Once he failed and the other time he finished second to In A Twinkling at Te Rapa so the distance shouldn’t worry him either,” she added.
Lawrence also has an unraced three-year-old half-brother to Pep Torque, by Keeper, in her stable.
“We have given him time and he won’t race until he’s four. He has been a slow maturing type like Pep Torque.”
Deserved win by Flying Surf
There was probably no more deserving winner at Awapuni on Friday of last week than Flying Surf in a $22,500 Rating 65 race.
The five-year-old mare, part-owned and bred by Central Hawke’s Bay’s Sue Harty and Hastings-based Neville Robertson, ended a frustrating run of second placings with a runaway 5 length victory over 1550m.
Trained at Awapuni by Mike Breslin, Flying Surf was chalking up only her second win from 21 starts but has also recorded five seconds and three thirds. She had been runner-up in three of her previous four starts, going down narrowly on each occasion.
She probably should have won her last start, in that infamous 1600m event at Trentham on Wellington Cup day when a crazy member of the public caused havoc by running onto the track about 100m from the finish with a field of 17 horses thundering towards him. Flying Surf’s jockey Leah Hemi had to take evasive action to miss him and the horse only went down by a long neck.
Flying Surf is out of the Towkay mare Surf Patrol, who won seven races for part-owners Sue Harty and Neville Robertson and the mare also left Son Of Surf who won three races.
Vale Arthur Ormond
Arthur Ormond, a well respected thoroughbred racing and breeding administrator for many years and a stalwart of Hawke’s Bay Racing, died last week and his funeral was held in Havelock North last Saturday.
Ormond was regarded as a true gentleman who seemed to endear himself to just about everyone he met. He also had a lifelong passion for the New Zealand thoroughbred industry and possessed an outstanding leadership style.
He was a Life Member of Hawke’s Bay Racing Incorporated and a long-serving committeeman and then vice-president of the former Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club during the early 1990s.
He was also a foundation member of both the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the Hawke’s Bay branch.
Ormond was elected to the NZTBA Council in 1991 and was its president from 1996 until 2001. He was the NZTBA's nominee to the Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing from 1999 until 2001 and chaired the New Zealand Equine Industry Training Organisation for more than 10 years. He was also instrumental in establishing New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing (NZTM) with a vision to market the New Zealand thoroughbred and related products both domestically and internationally.
Michael Martin, a former CEO of the NZTBA, described Ormond as an outstanding man and leader.
“Arthur was the rarest and very best kind of leader, who always acted in the best interests of the entire industry and did so with complete integrity,” recalled Martin.
“He thoroughly understood the problems facing New Zealand thoroughbred racing and breeding and worked constantly and constructively to find solutions.”
Arthur was born in 1947 into one of Hawkes Bay’s oldest families. His great grandfather the Honourable John D Ormond came to New Zealand from Wallingford in 1847 aged 15 as he knew there were no prospects for him in England. He went on to become one of the largest landowners in the Hawkes Bay, a successful politician and established the historic Karamu Stud. He and his wife Hannah had six children with John Davies (Jack) the youngest being grandfather to Arthur.
Arthur had a close association with his cousin Mick Ormond and the pair bred and raced horses together with good success.
One of their best was Gussy Godiva, a Last Tycoon mare who was bought by Arthur as a yearling and went on to win four races including the VRC Sandarae Handicap in Melbourne.
Gussy Godiva was the dam of the 2009 ATC Derby winner Roman Emperor, who also went on to finish second in that year’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup.
She was also the dam of Rios, who was the winner of six races in New Zealand including the Group 2 Wellington Guineas and went on to become a successful sire, leaving the Group 1 winner Gaultier.
After leaving Christs College at 17 Arthur worked briefly for a stock and station company before the pull of the horses saw him head to Te Parae Stud in Masterton, to work for the Williams family.
He and his future wife Monica then ventured to the United States where Arthur worked at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky for two years before returning home.
His first role back in New Zealand was working for legendary Woodville horseman Eric Ropiha and he later took up a position at Ted Howarth’s Woodleigh Stud in Otaki.
But his roots were in Hawkes Bay and he eventually returned to establish Byerley Thoroughbreds in Valley Road, where he stood Fiesta Star. It was here that he began an association with Murray Andersen which led to the breeding of the champion filly and dual Group 1 winner, Staring who went on to be the grandam of the outstanding racehorse and now successful sire Dundeel.
Staring was the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old Filly of the Year for the 1991-92 season and her wins included both the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham and the Group 1 Bluebird Foods Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie.
Fiesta Star was also the sire of Super Fiesta, who was owned by retired Havelock North surgeon Jay Tyler and his wife and won the 1989 Group 1 Ellerslie Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Gutsy win by Island Hop
Island Hop, bred and part-owned by prominent Hawke’s Bay identity Peter Grieve, broke through for a maiden win at just his third start when successful at Riccarton last Saturday.
The Swiss Ace four-year-old followed up a second and a fourth in his first two starts with a gutsy performance to win over 1400m, covering plenty of extra ground from a wide draw and then fighting back after being headed by second placed Hombre inside the last 200m.
Only a neck separated the two horses at the line and they had the finish to themselves with third placed Diceland 3-3/4 lengths back.
Peter Grieve races Island Hop in partnership with good friend Barry Thomas, who lives in Christchurch. They bred him out of Chapinta, a High Chaparral mare who won them seven races and has also left Gold Mag, who has recorded three wins and four minor placings from 11 starts in Australia.
Island Hop is trained on the Riccarton track by Kevin and Pam Hughes and was ridden to victory by Sanu Toolooa, a 3kg claiming apprentice who is attached to the Hughes stable.
Free entry for Wairoa races
Restrictions regarding attendance at race meetings outside the greater Auckland region have been removed under Alert Level 1 meaning that owners and members of the public will be able to freely attend tomorrow’s Wairoa Racing Club’s meeting at Hastings.
An eight-race programme is carded, with the first timed for 12.50pm and the last at 5.05pm.
There is free admission to the course and the members stand will be open to the public.
Patrons are urged to sign in by using the NZ COVID Tracer APP QR code when entering the course and hand sanitisers will be made available for use by participants and attendees.