IN Racing
Injury Spells Retirement for HB-Trained Iron Horse Pep Torque
John Jenkins | March 23, 2024
Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Larence with her pride and joy Pep Torque, who won 10 races and over $328,000 in stakemoney

Consistent open class galloper Pep Torque has been retired from racing after suffering a tendon injury when finishing third in the $40,000 Wairoa Cup at Hastings on February 18.

The 10-year-old Nadeem gelding, trained and part-owned by Waipukurau’s Kirsty Lawrence, was twice galloped on during the running of that 2100m race and pulled up with lacerations to the near hind-leg.

Lawrence said the injury is such that it will take a long time to heal and the horse will be 11 years old on August 1 so it is time to call it time on what has been a great racing career.

“It is a shame that his career should end like that but he has been a great horse for us and has given us a great ride,” Lawrence said.

Pep Torque was the winner of 10 races and more than $328,000 in stakemoney, a fantastic return on the $2600 Lawrence and her husband Steve outlayed to buy the horse from the Gavelhouse online auction site.

He showed longevity by competing for six years between 2018 and 2024. He had a total of 91 starts and, besides his 10 victories, he also recorded 13 seconds and 10 thirds and competed against some of the best gallopers in the country.

Lawrence said one of the most remarkable things about the horse was that in eight of his 10 wins he was ridden by an apprentice jockey.

“It just showed what a great horse he was for an apprentice to ride and when they brought it in that apprentices could claim in open staying races it made all the difference to him,” Lawrence said.

He won the Listed $65,000 Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni in October 2022 and had previously taken out two other cup races, the City Of New Plymouth Cup (1800m) at New Plymouth in December 2019 and the Ashhurst-Pohangina Cup (2000m) at Awapuni in February 2021.

“We worked it out that he averaged a return of $3500 from every start he had which isn’t a bad return,” Kirsty added.

Lawrence said that, although two of Pep Torque’s early wins were on soft tracks, he grew to hate rain affected tracks as he got older.

“Sometimes you could see if it was a wet track he would get to about the last 800m and say no I’m not going to give my best today.”

Pep Torque was raced by Kirsty Lawrence and her husband Steve in partnership with their loyal stable employee Susan Best and Gisborne sisters Christina and Dinah Newman.

“They have been tremendous owners and we have had a great time.”

While his racing career is over Kirsty now has a future plan for Pep Torque.

“I’d like to rehab him here at our place and hopefully he can be a clerk of the course horse for someone.

“He’s so quiet that I’m sure he would be perfect for a job like that.”

Lawrence said Pep Torque’s nickname is “Aussie” because when they bought him they were tossing up whether to buy a horse or have an Australian holiday.

Their choice to buy a horse that they named Pep Torque has certainly brought them numerous rewards.


HB race dates reshuffled

Due to the racing surface at the Hastings racecourse undergoing a major renovation the Hawke’s Bay race meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 13, will now be an Otaki-Maori licence and run on the Otaki track.

The Listed $120,000 Hawke’s Bay Cup and the Listed $80,000 City Of Napier Sprint will be run on this day to avoid any disruption to both programming and the black-type pattern previously advertised.

The Open 1600m race on this day will now carry a stake of $40,000 while a $35,000 Rating 65 race over 1200m will replace a Rating 65 race over 2100m.

It is hoped that racing can resume on the Hastings racecourse for the Hawke’s Bay meeting on Saturday April 27.

The Otaki-Maori race meeting scheduled for Friday, April 12, will now be a Woodville-Pahiatua licence and run on the Woodville track.

A $17,000 Rating 65 race over 2100m replaces a Rating 65 race over 1100m on this day.

In addition the Waipukurau Jockey Club will be staging official barrier trials on the Waipukurau racetrack next Tuesday, March 26.

Club president Kirsty Lawrence said this week that, besides a good number of Central District-trained horses confirmed for the trials, there has also been interest from northern trainers following the cancellation of Wednesday’s Cambridge synthetic track trials due to insufficient entries (only 26 horses).


Tendon injury sidelines HB mare

A tendon injury prevented in-form Hastings mare Fancy Like Lass from competing in last Saturday’s Listed $90,000 Lightning Handicap at Trentham and her future racing career is now in jeopardy.

Trainers Mick Brown and Sue Thompson had been setting the mare for the 1200m feature after her impressive last start win over 1000m at Trentham on January 20 but things took a turn for the worse last week.

“We found a tiny hole in a tendon and so we had to pull her out,” Brown said this week.

“Hopefully it is not too bad but we don’t know at this stage.

“She has been turned out for six months and we will check her after three months and see what it’s like.”

If Fancy Like Lass doesn’t return to the racetrack she will prove a valuable broodmare for her Hawke’s Bay owner Margaret Harkema.

The Hellbent mare has a record of four wins and three seconds from only nine starts and has won more than $119,000 in stakemoney. She has won three of her last four starts and is Australian-bred, being out of the winning Choisir mare Mandalong Belle.


Adam I Am’s future now in doubt

A dark cloud is hanging over exciting galloper Adam I Am’s racing future after the son of Almanzor pulled up with a tendon injury following his win over 1400m at Ellerslie a fortnight ago.

He had proven to be one out of the box for trainer Glenn Old this season, bursting onto the scene at Matamata first-up in September when winning by five lengths before adding a further three wins to his tally and a fourth placing.

He was set to have his first tilt at stakes level in this Saturday’s Group 2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga, but injury has curtailed those plans and Old said he now has a fight on his hands to get his four-year-old gelding back to the track.

“He has pulled up with a tendon injury. He was all right on the Monday after his last race but then had a couple of days in the paddock and when we brought him in on the Thursday we noticed it,” Old said.

“It is pretty hard work trying to get them back with tendon injuries, but we will give him a chance because it is Adam. We will rescan it in three weeks and just see where we are. If we did do the rehab, he wouldn’t race again until he was six.”

Old Trained Adam I Am’s dam, Our Famous Eve, and said she also suffered a tendon injury which ultimately ended her race career.


Group race winner Aquacade retired

Multiple Group race winning mare Aquacade has run her last race and will be a valuable addition to Cambridge Stud’s broodmare band later this year.

Trained at Karaka by Lance Noble for breeder-owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, the Dundeel five-year-old performed to the highest level with seven victories and six minor placings and only twice missed a top five finish from 19 starts.

“She’s been fantastic and that’s what we’re here for, to try and develop fillies and mares into broodmares and get black type,” Noble said.

“To be able to do that with her has provided a great sense of achievement. She was so consistent and has been retired happy and sound.

“She could possibly have raced again next season, but she doesn’t have anything left to prove and will make a lovely broodmare.”

Aquacade’s career highlights included wins in the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) and the Group 3 Balmerino Stakes (2050m) and she also gained a Group 1 third placing in the Zabeel Classic (2050m).


NZ three-year-old’s Aussie debut

New Zealand Derby runner-up Antrim Coast is set to make his Australian debut in today’s Group 2 A$500,000 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at The Valley in Melbourne.

The Stephen Marsh-trained three-year-old beat all but Orchestral in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie last month and has won two of his seven starts this term.

Bred by The Oaks Stud, the son of Roc De Cambes races in the blue and white colours of farm principal Dick Karreman.

The Oaks Stud general manager Rick Williams was rapt with his second placing in the Ellerslie classic and said it gave the Cambridge-based team the confidence to press on with an Australian campaign.

“Saturday will work out how we plan his races from now on and whether we go to South Australia or Queensland. We will get a line on where he sits in the pecking order over there,” Williams said.