IN Racing
Little Bit Of Love completes winning hat-trick in style for HB owners
John Jenkins | May 25, 2024
Little Bit Of Love (centre) scores an impressive win in the R75 1400m at Te Rapa, third win in a row

Not too many horses win three races in a row and four from only seven starts but progressive four-year-old Little Bit Of Love completed the feat in style when taking out a $35,000 Rating 75 race over 1400m at Te Rapa last Saturday.

No closer than three-wide in midfield throughout the running, the son of Time Test was still travelling comfortably coming to the home turn for apprentice Ngakau Hailey.

Inclined to lay in as he made his run down the outer in the straight, Little Bit Of Love still had plenty in reserve as he rounded up the leaders and hit the line for a comfortable 1-1/2 length win over Urban Myth.

Bred by Graham and Helen Bax, Little Bit Of Love had his first start at Matamata back in December last year, finishing ninth of 13 over 1200m. He has since had a further six starts for four wins, a fifth and a seventh for his large group of owners that race him under the One Second Syndicate banner.

Included in the syndicate are Napier couple Derek and Janet Hill, long-time racehorse owners whose last venture before this was being shareholders in the two-race winner Covermeinsunshine.

Matamata-based Andrew Scott, who trains Little Bit Of Love in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan, believes there is plenty more in store for the gelding as he continues to progress through the grades.

“He keeps gaining confidence and thriving,” he said.

“He is a horse we train out of the paddock and is not the prettiest, but he is athletic and sound.

“It’s a good case of giving a horse time and they go on.

“That won’t be his last win as that was a pretty good Rating 75 field he beat and he is going the right way.”

Scott was also quick to praise young rider Ngakau Hailey, who was having his first race-ride on the horse.

“That was a nice ride as he is not an easy horse,” Scott said.

“He (Hailey) judged it well and when the horse lost his way with 50 metres to go, he put the stick away and balanced him up.

“He is a young man who came in and rode a lot of work for us the other day and he is a horseman so good on him.”

Little Bit Of Love is out of the unraced O’Reilly mare Little Bit Of Irish and is a half-brother to the Group 3 Winter Cup (1600m) runner-up Cork and from the extended family of the Group 1 International Stakes winner Mission Critical.


Fannin concentrating on training

Top jumps jockey Shaun Fannin’s priorities will change this winter with his primary focus on the Awapuni stable he runs with partner Hazel Schofer.

Hastings-born Fannin has multiple jumps jockeys’ premierships to his credit but will restrict his riding, with one notable exception.

“We’re getting pretty busy with the training and plenty of horses around us,” he said.

“We’ve got about 20 on the books and training is our main business, so that’s definitely to the forefront of my mind.

“I will ride my own ones and West Coast obviously.”

Fannin and the Mark Oulaghan-trained West Coast have been a potent combination with two Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) victories to their credit.

They have also combined to triumph in the Great Northern Steeplechase (6500m), Wellington Steeplechase (5500m) and Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m).

“He’s had a couple of flat runs and is coming up well and is heading to Woodville this Sunday for the Manawatu Steeplechase (4000m), so I’m looking forward to that,” Fannin said.

Fannin is in good form after partnering their stable representative Fourty Eight to a debut jumping win in a maiden hurdle race over 2800m at Hawera last Sunday.

“He won it well and he’s showed a fair bit at home and he’s got good flat ability,” he said.

“He’s still a green jumper but will improve a lot with the experience.

“He will be a much-improved jumper the next time you see him out.”

That won’t be until next season with Fannin first eying off a flat target with the son of Ekraar

“He doesn’t handle the really heavy tracks and we might give him a break now until later in the season,” he said.

He goes quite well on the synthetic tracks and there’s a good money race ($100,000) at Cambridge in August, so we might look at that and then hurdling in September with him.

Fourty Eight has been patiently handled, having had only 13 starts, and the five-year-old has posted all three of his flat wins on the polytrack at Awapuni.

“He didn’t get broken in until he was a three-year-old and physically and mentally he’s been quite a weak horse,” he said.

“He got broken in up in the hills in Wairoa where his breeder and main owner lives, who is my cousin (Sheena Martin). We haven’t rushed him, he’s taken a bit of time.”


Racing invaluable for NZ economy

The Racing New Zealand Board is pleased to announce the release of the 2022-23 Size and Scope Report that outlines an industry generating close to $1.9 billion in value-added contribution to the New Zealand economy.

The Size and Scope report of New Zealand Racing is a comprehensive look at the racing industry and is the biggest of its type since 2017.

Welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Racing Winston Peters, the report provides a detailed look at the economic, social and employment benefits of racing across all three codes (thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds) at a national and regional level.

In 2022/23, the New Zealand Racing industry generated total direct spending of $1,385.6 million. However, the flow-on effects linked to this expenditure increased the size of the industry’s value-added contribution to almost $1.9 billion.

Employment data and insights in the racing industry are particularly important. Participants provide the investment, time, skills, and passion that underpins horse and greyhound racing in the nation.

A total of 13,632 full-time equivalent jobs were sustained by the New Zealand racing industry, around 39% are the direct result of the racing activity whilst the remainder are in down-the-line industries that produce and supply goods and services to support racing in New Zealand.

In total, there are more than 40,600 roles occupied in the New Zealand racing industry as employees, participants, or volunteers, Many of these are specialized industry specific roles—particularly in the breeding and training/racing related disciplines. Furthermore, many participants hold more than one role within the industry.

In 2022/23 close to 639,100 attendances were recorded at thoroughbred, harness and greyhound race meetings in New Zealand. There are more than 18 race meetings held in New Zealand every week providing live entertainment to those attendees and others viewing them off course.

Racing NZ Chairman Mike Clarke is positive about the report’s findings and optimistic about the future.

“We’re proud of the contribution the New Zaland racing industry makes the economy. Racing is currently experiencing positive momentum off the back of the 25-year partnership between Entain and TAB NZ announced in 2023, and this report validates the importance of the industry as a whole,” he said.

“Employment is an important metric to measure the health of our industry, as the passion of our people is what drives us forward. There is no doubt racing is a vital part in maintaining heathy communities and employment opportunities in New Zealand.” 


Kennedy’s wife to take up training

Warren Kennedy has made big waves in the New Zealand jockey ranks since moving from his native South Africa, and now his wife, Barbara, is hoping to do the same as a trainer.

The 32-year-old horsewoman has spent her life in racing and trained in South Africa for a few seasons before moving to New Zealand with her husband and children a couple of years ago.

“I have been in the industry my whole life,” Kennedy said. “My Dad was a jockey for 24 years. When he retired, he became the course manager at one of the tracks in South Africa for 21 years.”

Upon leaving school Kennedy went to work in a racing stable and that is where she got hooked on the sport and decided she wanted a career in the industry.

“I had a really great opportunity with a trainer in South Africa where I ran his satellite yard in Durban where we had about 50 horses, and I was with him for four years.

“That is where it hit me that training is what I wanted to do, and I took out my own trainer’s license. I had my first daughter at that time, and I went into a training partnership with my brother for three years. We were pretty successful, we had 59 winners in that time.

“Warren then decided that we needed to get out of the country to give our girls a better life. It was always a goal to get back into it in New Zealand, we just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.”

While Warren has been kicking goals in the saddle, Kennedy said she felt a bit lost in the early stages of their move to New Zealand but found comfort in helping out Byerley Park trainers Peter and Dawn Williams.

With Peter and Dawn deciding to retire from racing at the end of this month, they approached Kennedy to see if she was interested in taking over their stable, and she has jumped at the opportunity. 

“It is exciting. I am grateful that Peter and Dawn have trusted me enough to hand everything over to me, so we will forever be grateful for that.

“I officially start on June 1 and for the month of June they will be around and I can bounce as many questions off them as possible.

“The majority of the clients have agreed to stay on with me, which is really positive.”