IN Racing
Hawkes Bay Racing Column - February 26
Treble of winners at Wairoa meeting
John Jenkins | February 27, 2021
Tonadillas is at full stride under the urgings of jockey Danielle Hirini

Treble of Hastings winners at Wairoa meeting

(By John Jenkins)


Hastings stables had another successful day on their local track last Sunday, winning three of the eight races at the Wairoa Racing Club’s meeting.

Tonadillas, having his first start for new trainer Patrick Campbell, scored a game win in a Rating 74 race over 1400m; the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen trained Dark Alley made it two wins from three starts with a dominant performance in a Rating 65 race over 1200m and Ask Pa capped off a string of minor placings with a maiden success over 1600m for John Bary.

Tonadillas was the winner of three races from 10 starts when trained in the north by Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie and owned then by prominent New Zealand thoroughbred breeder Sir Peter Vela.

The five-year-old Your Song gelding was offered for sale on Gavelhouse after beating only two horses home, on a heavy track, over 1400m at Woodville last September.

Patrick Campbell decided to purchase the horse and he now races him in partnership with his Brisbane-based son Philip and his son’s friend Adrian Burke along with former Hastings trainer Dean Smith, who helps out in the Campbell stable.

For Philip Campbell it was his first win as a racehorse owner after having shares in a couple of below average horses in the past.

Campbell said Tonadillas was very field-shy when he first entered his stable and it took several months to get the horse’s confidence back.

He showed he still had what it takes when recording a close second in a 780m jumpout at Hastings at the beginning of last month and followed that up with a win at the Waipukurau jumpouts a couple of weeks ago.

Tonadillas won at odds of 20 to one last Sunday but Campbell was confident of a good run from the horse.

“The only doubts I had was that all his previous wins had been on wet tracks and he was fresh up at 1400 metres,” Campbell said.

Campbell said it helped that Central Districts jockey Danielle Hirini, who had ridden Tonadillas in his two jumpouts, was also aboard him on race day.

The horse was slow to begin but Hirini didn’t bustle him in the early stages, content to let him settle a clear last in the seven horse field before asking him to improve entering the last 800m.

Tonadillas had moved up to be fourth coming to the home turn and once Hirini angled him into the clear he finished strongly to beat race favourite Exaltation by a long neck.

Campbell was shocked that Tonadillas earned five extra rating points for last Sunday’s win, given that it was only a seven horse field. He is now considering entering the horse for a Rating 74 race over 1400m at Awapuni next Friday but is concerned about what weight he will now receive.

Tonadillas is out of the Encosta de Lago mare Goyescas, who was the winner of two races.


Dark Alley shows real promise

Dark Alley looked a horse headed for much bigger things when recording his second win in the space of three starts with another 1200m success at Hastings last Sunday.

The Per Incanto four-year-old was impressive when winning on debut over 1200m at Hastings in December and was then given a spell before resuming over 1400m at Otaki on January 4. He only managed fifth that day but found track conditions too firm and also lacked concentration over the final stages.

The training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen decided to add blinkers to the horse’s gear last Sunday and it made all the difference.

Dark Alley was slow to begin and was a clear last in the early stages. Jockey Johnathan Parkes improved the horse’s position to be stalking the leading division coming to the home turn and got a perfect run between runners to challenge for the lead early in the home straight.

Mandalorian challenged him hard inside the final 200m but Dark Alley was always in control and raced away for a length win.

Dark Alley is the first foal out of the Towkay mare Queen Alley and owned by co-trainer Guy Lowry in partnership Sam Williams from Little Avondale Stud in Masterton.

Lowry said this week Dark Alley could now back up in a Rating 74 race over 1200m at Hastings on Wednesday of next week.


Dark Alley and jockey Johnathan Parkes have a clear winning margin over Mandalorian at the finish of the Rating 65 race over 1200m at Hastings last Sunday. It was the promising four-year-old’s second success from three starts.


Deserving win by Ask Pa

There was no more deserving winner at last Sunday’s Wairoa meeting than Ask Pa in the maiden 1600m event.

The four-year-old Ocean Park mare was having her seventh start and had recorded two seconds and a third from her three most recent outings.

She was sent out second favourite and gave her supporters little reason for concern in the running, with jockey Lisa Allpress giving her the run of the race.

Allpress bounced Ask Pa out quickly from the barrier and, after being caught three-wide early, she managed to slot the horse into fifth and one-out from the fence going down the back.

Ask Pa moved to within striking distance of the leaders rounding the home turn and then showed a great turn of foot to quickly put a winning break on the field, cruising to the line 1-1/4 lengths clear of the fast finishing Red ‘N’ Surf.

Ask Pa is prepared by Hastings trainer John Bary and is out of the Danasinga mare Singing Star, who was bred and raced by one of Hawke’s Bay’s most entrepreneurial businessmen and prominent figures of his time in Graeme Lowe.

Singing Star was the winner of eight races including the 2004 Group 2 Waikato Cup (2400m) and has also left the winners Randy Andy and Miss Selby.

Three of Graeme Lowe’s children, Andy Lowe, Sarah Whyte and Kate Stace, continued breeding from Singing Star after their father died and set up the Ask Partnership.

The partnership races Ask Pa and they also have an unraced two-year-old full-sister to the mare coming on called Ask Mum.

Ask Pa is now enjoying a few quiet days at Bary’s stables and is unlikely to race again until the end of next month.

“She is a mare in good form but is a typical Ocean Park who has taken a bit of time to strengthen up and John likes to give her a bit of a gap between races which seems to work,” Bary’s racing manager Mike Sanders said this week.


Jockey Lisa Allpress brings Ask Pa back to the winner’s stall following the mare’s deserved victory in a maiden 1600m race at Hastings last Sunday.


ATC Derby prospect

Prominent Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred owner-breeder Peter Grieve is excited at the prospect that he may have a runner in the Group 1 $A2million ATC Derby in Sydney on April 3.

Grieve has a five per cent share in the promising three-year-old Toscanini, who brought up his third win when taking out an 1800m event on the Kensington course at Sydney’s Randwick track on Wednesday of last week.

The three-year-old Fastnet Rock colt also boasts three seconds and two thirds from his 12 starts and the training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are strongly considering aiming him at the Derby.

“We don’t know whether he will be good enough for a race like that but it would be  great to have a runner,” Grieve said.

Toscanini was fresh up when winning last week, his last start resulting in a second to the highly rated Chris Waller-trained colt The Elanora in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Eagle Farm in Queensland on Boxing Day.

Toscanini is out of the High Chaparral mare Soubrettes, who was the winner of five and they were all over 1200m. But the way he finished off strongly over 1800m last week suggests he has thrown more to his sire, who produced the 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling.


Bi-monthly award winner

Mike Timmins is the recipient of the bi-monthly Kevin Wood Memorial Trophy for the months of January and February.

The award is sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association and Timmins is a part-owner of the well performed Hunta Pence, who is trained on the Hastings track by Patrick Campbell. The eight-year-old No Excuse Needed gelding recorded a cups double in the early summer, taking out both the Listed $50,000 Wanganui Cup and the Group 3 $100,000 Manawatu Cup.


George remains at the helm

The New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Board has agreed that Cameron George will remain as chairman until the 2021 AGM.

George was initially appointed as interim chair following the 2019-20 Annual General Meeting in November.

The NZTR Board decided at its February meeting that not only would George retain the chairmanship but that two Deputy Chairs would be appointed. These positions have been taken up by Darryll Park and Bruce Sharrock.

“The appointment of two deputy chairs enables our Board leadership to have a greater geographical spread across the industry. This structure also provides broader support to NZTR management and shares responsibilities across the Board,” George said.

“Our Board is focused on continuing to develop a strong and transparent connection with all stakeholders, and we are united to achieve the best possible outcomes for the industry.”