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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 17 Jan 2020

Hastings pair eye a third Telegraph success

(By John Jenkins)


   The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have won Trentham’s Group 1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph Sprint twice in the past five years and they could complete a treble in this year’s race.

   The stable will be represented by the talented mare Xpression in tomorrow’s $250,000 feature and, although the Showcasing mare has not raced for six weeks, her connections are confident she will perform well.

   The Lowry/Cullen partnership saddled up Irish Fling to take out the prestigious sprint in 2014 and then produced Adventador for an upset win two years later.

   Irish Fling was an $8.60 chance when she beat Natuzzi by a neck, with Jaggard 1-1/4 lengths back in third place.

   Mark Du Plessis was the winning jockey and he settled Irish Fling eighth in the early running before angling her into the open to lodge a challenge with 300 metres to run. The Darci Brahma mare dashed clear soon after for decisive victory.

   Adventador’s win two years later was filled with a lot more drama. The big Fast ‘N’ Famous gelding took charge of jockey Matthew Cameron and dislodged him going out onto the track to commence his preliminary. The horse broke through the inside running rail and travelled a short distance before being captured.

   Cameron was examined by St John’s personnel and cleared to ride while Adventador underwent a veterinary examination and was passed fit to travel to the starting barrier. Once there he underwent a further veterinary examination before being declared fit to start.

   Adventador bounced straight to the front from a wide draw and set up a strong gallop all the way. Cameron decided to put a break on the field soon after the field joined up with the course proper and the horse never looked like being caught, crossing the line a length in front of Miss Seton Sands, with Trepidation a further 1-1/4 lengths back in third.

   Adventador was one of the rank outsiders in that year’s race, returning a dividend of $80.90 for a win and $18.60 for a place.

   Xpression won’t be at such lucrative odds when she lines up tomorrow, but she is currently a $26.00 chance on the Fixed Odds win market, which represents good value for a mare who was Group 1 placed as a three-year-old.

   Xpression has only had 15 starts for three wins, two seconds and four thirds. She won the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m) at Trentham as a two-year-old and the Group 3 Barnswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton as a three-year-old before a game third behind Media Sensation and Valalie in that year’s Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.

   Xpression was then sent across the Tasman to join the powerful Chris Waller stable but she never reached her full potential there, with her best placing being a third in the Group 3 Toy Show Stakes (1100m) at Randwick last August.

   The mare re-joined the Lowry/Cullen stable two months ago and has only had one start since, that resulting in a second to the highly rated Tavi Mac over 1200m at Trentham on December 7.

   Despite not having raced since then co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week Xpression is ready to produce a big performance fresh up.

   “The plan was to get her fit and keep her fresh and I think we’ve done that,” Lowry said.

   “I couldn’t be happier with her condition and she worked very strongly over 1000 metres at the Hastings track last Saturday.”

    Xpression has also had the benefit of an exhibition gallop between races at Otaki on December 20 and at Hastings on New Year’s Day and Lowry rates her much better than a 20 to one chance.

   “I give her just as good a chance as when Irish Fling won the race for us,” he said.

   He added that this will be Xpression’s last start as the mare is in foal to top Australian sire Snitzel.

   Xpression has drawn well at barrier three and will be ridden by experienced jockey Michael Coleman.


Xpression pictured on her way to winning over 1100m at Taupo last season. The Showcasing mare will fly the flag for Hawke’s Bay in tomorrow’s Group 1 Telegraph Sprint at Trentham.


Jumping races loom for Carnaby

   Carnaby, part-owned by five Hawke’s Bay people, picked up another win on the flat at last Saturday’s Greymouth meeting but is expected to be seen in a jumping role later this season.

   The seven-year-old Danroad gelding, prepared by astute Wanganui trainer Kevin Myers, followed up a fresh up second over 2000m at Greymouth on January 5 with a dominant 1-1/2 length victory in a Rating 65 race over the same distance last Saturday.

   Carnaby wanted to over-race a bit when midfield in the early stages of the race but experienced jockey Terry Mosely got him to settle going down the back straight before letting him slide forward to challenge for the lead, three-wide, on the home turn.

   He went clear early in the home straight and raced right away from the opposition over the final stages.

   It was Carnaby’s seventh win from 47 starts and he has also recorded seven minor placings. The horse was bred by well-known racing administrator Alan Fenwick of Marton and Feilding-based Michael Collinson and they initially raced him with Alan’s wife Sue and Carn Arnott, from Palmerston North.

   Hawke’s Bay men Tony Lyndon, Peter Johnstone, Peter Unverricht, Greg Horton and Bruce Yanko took over a 50 per cent racing share in him at the end of 2017 and got an instant return on their investment when the horse won at odds of 20 to one at Greymouth in January 2018.

   He has since won another three races on the flat but his connections are keen to see him race over fences.

   “We bought into him as a jumper and he’s done a lot of schooling, so he’ll probably start a jumping career in May,” Tony Lyndon said this week.

   He added there was a fair bit of confidence the horse could win last Saturday.

    “He was chucked in at the weights as he carried five kilograms less than he had on the first day,” Lyndon said.

   “He had raced a bit too keenly on the first day because he was a bit fresh and that run took the edge off him for last Saturday,” Lyndon said.

  Carnaby is out on his own at the finish of a rating 65 race over 2000m at Greymouth last Saturday. The Danroad gelding could soon be seen as a jumper.


Ormsby enjoying great run

   Year 2020 has certainly started well for Waipukurau racehorse owner Michael Ormsby and things could even get a lot better this weekend when Avantage lines up in tomorrow’s Group 1 $250,000 JR & N Berkett Telegraph Sprint at Trentham.

   Ormsby is sold on Te Akau racing syndicates and is enjoying an incredible ride by being involved in some of them.

   The treasurer and long-time committeeman of the Waipukurau Jockey Club is part of the Te Akau Galway Syndicate that owns Spirit Of Galway, arguably the most impressive winner at the Hawke’s Bay New Year’s Day race meeting.

   He is also a member of the Xplosive Te Akau Syndicate that races the three-year-old filly Xplosion, who recorded a maiden win over 1340m at Wanganui on Thursday of last week.

   The three-year-old Showcasing filly broke through for a deserved success after three thirds and two fourths from her previous eight starts.

   She started favourite and was given the perfect run by jockey Craig Grylls, setting fifth in the early running before improving to challenge the leaders on the home turn.

   Xplosion took a clear lead early in the home straight and raced away to win by 1-1/4 lengths.

   Avantage has already been a Group 1 winner for Ormsby, taking out the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in March 2018.

   The daughter of Fastnet Rock also won the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) as an early three-year-old before she headed across the Tasman and was successful in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in Sydney.

   Avantage has had one start back in a new campaign for a close second behind Pretty To Sea in a Listed 1200m race at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. She is one of the favourites for tomorrow’s Telegraph Sprint.


Xplosion surges ahead of Westfield on her way to winning a maiden 1340m race at Wanganui last week. The Showcasing filly is part-owned by Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby.


By-monthly award winner

   Hastings trainer Steven Carey is the recipient of the Kevin Wood Memorial by-monthly trophy for the month’s of November and December, 2019.

   The award is presented by the Hawke’s Bay Racehorse Owners Association.

   Carey is the trainer and co-owner of Matt Cain, who followed up a third placing at Awapuni in November with a maiden win over 1300m on his home track on December 11.

   It was Carey’s first training success and he owns the Danroad six-year-old in partnership with another Hastings man, Eric Verhaul.


Star gallopers shine at trials

   Exciting gallopers Te Akau Shark and Catalyst had their first hit-out of the year at the Matamata trials on Tuesday and they pleased their connections with their efforts in a 1000m heat.

   Catalyst jumped well and settled in the one-one for jockey Troy Harris, while Te Akau Shark sat three back on the fence for the majority of the trip in the hands of Michael McNab.

   A gap opened up nicely for Catalyst turning for home and he ran away to a two length victory over Te Akau Shark.

   Trainer Clayton Chipperfield was pleased with Catalyst’s performance, particularly his starting manners.

   “I am very happy,” Chipperfield said. “We took the hood off and he put himself right there and to finish off the way he did, with his ears pricked, was very encouraging.” 

   Catalyst has an impeccable formline as a three-year-old, having won all four of his starts this season, including a last start victory in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).

   The son of Darci Brahma will be out to continue that run in the Group 3 Henley Park Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie tomorrow week before heading across the Tasman next month.

   Matamata conditioner Jamie Richards was just as pleased with the effort of Te Akau Shark and he is looking forward to targeting Australia in the autumn with the last start Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) placegetter.

   “We are really happy with him,” Richards said. “He lobbed three back the fence and came up in behind them with no pressure. 

   “It wasn’t about chasing Catalyst or having a race today, it was just about building fitness and doing the right thing by the horse. We are pleased with how he is coming to hand.

   “He will go to the BCD Sprint (Group 1, 1400m) at Te Rapa on February 8 and then he will go to Sydney.”

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(By John Jenkins)


   Last start winner Sheer Elegance showed she has trained on the right way when turning in an excellent gallop at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   There was very little fast work on the plough, which was wet and slushy after 26 millimetres of rain overnight.

   Sheer Elegance looked to be travelling much better than her stablemate Pas de Geant at the end of their 1000m workout. They went easily over the first 400m in 30.5 with Sheer Elegance quickening appreciably over the last 600 in 37s.

   The Civics mare was an impressive maiden winner over 1600m at Hastings on New Year’s Day and trainer Lee Somervell says she has thrived since that victory.

   She is one of three horses Somervell could start at Otaki next Monday, where she will contest a Rating 65 race over 1600m.

   Her stablemate One Prize One Goal worked on his own from the 1000m peg, running the first 400m in an easy 30.5 before quickening slightly over the last 600 in 40.7. He finished fourth in a Rating 72 race over 1600m at Hastings on New Year’s Day and will drop back to Rating 65 grade event over 1400m at Otaki.

   Stradivarious appeared to appreciate the wet conditions when running a solo 600m in 40.4. Trainer Lee Somervell is unsure where he will start next.

   Yossarian, another from the Somervell stable headed to Otaki on Monday, was kept under a hold over 1000m in 1:13, the last 600 in 41. He was not ridden to his best advantage when fourth over 1400m at Hastings on New Year’s Day and is likely to line up over the same distance at Otaki.

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Hawkes Bay Racing Column 10 Jan 2020

Hastings mare’s win brings sheer delight

(By John Jenkins)

   Hastings-trained Sheer Elegance posted a well-deserved maiden success on her home track on New Year’s Day.

   The Civics mare, prepared by Lee Somervell, was having her 17th start but had gone close to winning on several occasions before, with two seconds, a third and three fourths to her credit.

   The six-year-old indicated a win was not far away when an unlucky fourth at Hastings on December 11 and, aided by a good ride from Leah Hemi, she was able to out-finish race favourite Fearless by a head after the pair had a two-horse war over the final 300 metres.

   Hemi settled the horse in fifth position in the early stages before moving her forward into a challenging position on the home turn. The mare quickly ranged up outside Fearless turning into the home straight and the two horses went head to head from then on, with Hemi managing to get the best out of her mount in the final few strides.

   “It has taken her 17 starts but she deserved that win,” trainer Lee Somervell said.

   “She is a big mare who has just taken time to come to it.”

   Sheer Elegance is owned by her Waikato breeders Craig Gray and Christine Wilkinson and is out of the Bluebird mare Azurebelle, who was the winner of four races.

   The Waikato couple have bred and raced several horses over the years, including last season’s Group 2 Waikato Guineas winner Sponge Bob, who has since been sold to Hong Kong.

   “They are a great couple who have raced horses with me for years and so they deserved this success,” Somervell added.

   Sheer Elegance was one of five horses Somervell lined up at the Hawke’s Bay New Year’s Day meeting and he also picked up fourth placings with Stradivarius, One Prize On Goal and Yossarian.

   He now intends giving them all a bit of a freshen up and won’t have another runner until Yossarian steps out in a Rating 65 race at Otaki on January 20.


Hastings-trained mare Sheer Elegance has her big head in front of Fearless as the two horse’s cross the line in a 1400m maiden race at Hastings on New Year’s Day. It was a deserved success for the mare after several minor placings.


De Koning dominated from in front

   De Koning, part-owned by Taradale woman Judith Buckeridge, showed he has good staying ability with an all the way win over 2200m at Awapuni last Saturday.

   The Niagara five-year-old was recording his fourth win and his second at a distance beyond 1600m, following a similar front running victory over 2100m at Te Rapa in January last year.

   Jockey Lynsey Satherley seems to know how to get the best out of De Koning, having been aboard the horse in each of his four wins. She took him to a clear lead from the outset last Saturday and dictated her own rules in front, putting the pressure on her rivals before the home turn.

  De Koning was there to be run down in the home straight but kept finding under a strong ride from Satherley to win by a length from Don’t Know Jack, who was half a length in front of third placed Red River Rock.

   Buckeridge, who has been racing thoroughbreds for close on 50 years, races De Koning in partnership with the horse’s Cambridge trainer Fred Cornege and his wife Lindsay along with her Hawke’s Bay-based daughter Luci Frith, grand-daughter Stephanie Buckeridge, Iriaka Pearson and Masterton-based Helen Caseley.


Taradale thoroughbred owner Judith Buckeridge discusses the win by her horse De Koning with trainer Fred Cornege and jockey Lynsey Satherley at Awapuni last Saturday.


HB Cup plans for Jonny Russ  

   The Listed $75,000 Hawke’s Bay Cup on April 11 could be a long range goal for Hastings owned and trainer Jonny Russ if he can continue in his present vein of form.

   The Ocean Park five-year-old made it two wins in a row when he led all the way in a Rating 65 race over 2100m at Hastings on New Year’s Day.

   It was a similar performance to when the big chestnut led his rivals a merry chase in a 2000m maiden at Hastings on December 11.

   Jonny Russ is owned by his Hastings breeders Chris and Ken Russell and prepared on the Hastings track by Anita Gardner.

   The horse is named after Chris’s late son, who died suddenly while visiting his brother in the United States a couple of years ago.

   Jonny Russ is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Dorothea Dior, who only had nine starts for Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell for two wins, two seconds and a third.

   Chris Russell said Jonny Russ is now expected to have his next start in a Rating 72 race over 2000m at Hastings on January 29.

   “After that there is another Rating 72 race over 2000 at Hastings on Lowland Stakes day in March and, if he can continue to race well, the Hawke’s Bay Cup in April could be a goal,” Russell said.  



Jonny Russ and with his delighted connections following his all the way win over 2100m at Hastings on New Year’s Day. Pictured (from left) is Ken Russell, Anita Gardner and Chris Russell.


Timely win by Ivan Kane

   Ivan Kane provided his Hawke’s Bay owner-breeder Ian Holloway with the perfect advertisement when he scored a decisive 2-1/2 length win at Hastings on New Year’s Day.

   Holloway has a yearling half-brother to the Nadeem five-year-old entered for the Karaka yearling sales at the end of this month so his 2-1/2 length victory in the Rating 72 race over 1600m could not have come at a better time.

   “We’ve got his half-brother entered for the select session at Karaka,” Holloway said this week.

   “He’s by Shocking and is a real nice type,” he added.

   Holloway bred Ivan Kane out of the Royal Academy mare Pukalee and races the horse in partnership with a group of friends. They are Rowland Bartlett, Wendy Devenport and Bevan and Rachel Duffy from the Kapiti Coast, Alan Bartlett from Havelock North and Paul Roebuck (Auckland).

   The horse, who has now recorded four wins from only 14 starts, was initially trained in the South Island before transferring to the Woodville stable of Shane Brown last year. He has now won twice from his new base.

   “We wanted him up here where we could get to see him race,” Holloway said.

   “He’d shown a bit down south and so we thought he would measure up.”

   Ivan Kane certainly showed he has good ability by leading all the way at Hastings last week, winning at odds of 15 to one. Jockey Holly Andrew hunted the horse out from the outside barrier in the six-horse field and quickly had him across the field and clear in front at the end of the first 200 metres. From then on Andrew was able to dictate terms before kicking him clear on the point of the home turn and he maintained a strong gallop to the line.

   Holloway was pleasantly surprised by the dividend Ivan Kane returned, of $15.40 for a win and $6.10 for a place, considering he had also won two starts before.

   “He hurt himself when he came out of the gates at his last start so you could forget that run. He started favourite that day, but the punters certainly dropped off him last week,” he said.

   Ivan Kane is expected to have his next start in a Rating 72 event over 1600m on the third day of the Wellington Cup carnival at Trentham, on January 25.

   Brown has two other horses in work for Holloway. One is a three-year-old called Mitchell, who needed the run when unplaced on debut at Hastings last week. The other is a two-year-old half-sister to Ivan Kane, by Alamosa, called Gracie Lee and she is due to have a barrier trial at Foxton next week.

   The mare Pukalee has also produced the three race winner Verna Audrey and is now in foal to Per Incanto.


Showed plenty of spirit

   Undoubtedly the most impressive winner at the Hawke’s Bay New Year’s Day meeting was Spirit Of Galway.

   The Rip Van Winkle four-year-old mare was very slow away from at the start of the 1400m maiden event and became detached from the rest of the field by at least seven lengths going down the back straight.

   She was still a clear last coming to the home turn but once apprentice jockey Chelsea Burdan angled home to the outside of the track she seemed to find another gear, powering home to win by a decisive 1-1/4 lengths.

   The win was not unexpected, given Spirit of Galway had been placed six times from her previous eight starts and was sent out a hot favourite for the race. But to give horses such a big start and beat them so comprehensively was quite an achievement and suggests she could go on to much better things.

   She is prepared at Matamata by Jamie Richards and raced by the Te Akau Galway Girl Syndicate, with one of the members being Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby.

   Ormsby has shares in several Te Akau syndicates and also picked up a win with Shezathinka at Matamata earlier this season. He also has a share in the Group 1 winning mare Avantage, who resumed from a spell with a close second in a Listed 1200m race at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and is now being aimed at the Group 1 $250,000 JR & N Berkett Telegraph Sprint (1200m) at Trentham on January 18.   


Catalyst revving up again

   Top three-year-old Catalyst will make his first public appearance since his Group 1 success at Riccarton in November when he competes at the Matamata trials next week.

   The son of Darci Brahma lived right up to expectations when registering his fifth win from six starts with a dominant display in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at the New Zealand Cup meeting on November 9 and he has thrived during his recent spell.

   “He had three weeks off when he came back from Christchurch and put on 23kgs in the 21 days he was out at The Oaks,” trainer Clayton Chipperfield said.

   “He didn’t lose a lot of fitness and when I weighed him the other day he was 473kgs and he last raced at 460kgs.

   “He’s put on a bit more muscle and is more solid. He looks great.

   “He’s all set to go to the Matamata trials next Tuesday and Troy (Harris) is coming over to ride him in work beforehand.”

   Harris has been Catalyst’s regular rider in his last four starts, which also include impressive wins in the Group 3 Northland Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka and the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings.

   Catalyst will resume in the Group 3 Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie’s Karaka Millions meeting on January 25 and, provided he passes the test, he will then head to Melbourne where Chipperfield has several races in mind for the horse, including the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on February 29.

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