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Hastings Trackwork 18 Aug 2017

Waipukurau owner bags a fifth Grand National victory

(By John Jenkins)

Not many racehorse owners can say they have won five Grand Nationals but that is the record Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby now has following Upper Cut’s success in last Saturday’s $75,000 Racecourse Hotel Grand National Steeplechase at Riccarton.

Ormsby shares in the ownership of Upper Cut with the horse’s Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan and three others from the Manawatu region, Aroha Duncan, Jim Speedy and Warren Scott. The 11-year-old Yamanin Vital gelding completed back-to-back wins in the prestige jumping event after also taking out last year’s feature.

Ormsby, Oulaghan, Duncan and Speedy also raced the top jumper Counter Punch together. He was also a son of Yamanin Vital and recorded back-to-back Grand National Steeplechase wins in 2010 and 2011 as well as a triumph in the 2007 running of the Grand National Hurdles.

“It’s been a great involvement,” Ormsby said this week as he recalled how he first came in contact with trainer Mark Oulaghan in 1996.

“My good friend Jim Speedy and I first went into a horse called Yaka that was trained by Mark,” Ormsby said.

   Yaka won two hurdle races, one at Foxton and one at Trentham and it whetted the appetite for both men in their passion for racing horses.

Mark Oulaghan bought three yearlings at the Karaka sales in1999 and he, Ormsby and Duncan raced one of them, Miniskirt, together. The Kingdom Bay mare was the winner of five races, including two at the Grand National meeting at Riccarton in 2002.

“They used to have sales at Riccarton at that time of the year and we got Mark to go to the sales and buy another horse for us and that is when we got Counter Punch.” Ormsby said.

Counter Punch was the winner of 13 races, six over hurdles and five over steeples.

Ormsby said that when Counter Punch was retired from racing after breaking down he instructed Oulaghan to find the group of owners a replacement.

“Mark rang and said there was an unraced three-year-old by Yamanin Vital running in a paddock down in the South Island and I asked him what money they wanted for it.

“After some negotiating we got him for $5000 and that horse is now Upper Cut.”

Upper Cut’s outstanding performance last Saturday took his record to five wins from only 17 starts and has now won more than $178,000 in stakemoney for his connections.

The reason he has been so lightly raced is because he has been plagued by injuries throughout his career and required a year off following a tendon injury in 2012.

Upper Cut’s latest win brought up a record six Grand National Steeplechase victories for Mark Oulaghan. The Awapuni trainer had previously won the Riccarton event with Counter Punch (2010, 2011) and Deecee Seven (1997, 1998) and he took Saturday’s success in typically humble fashion.

“I’ve got to say we’ve been lucky and, as you know, luck goes a long way in racing,” Oulaghan said.

“He’s been a little behind all winter and the run on the first day did improve him.”

   Fourth in the Koral Steeplechase, Upper Cut was patiently handled behind the pace by Shaun Phelan and when the pressure went on 800 metres from home they began to get serious.

Upper Cut took the final fence on terms with Kina Win and he finished on too well to take the honours by a length and a quarter.

“I put a lot of it down to his sire Yamanin Vital, one of his progeny (Ready Eddie) won the National Hurdle on Wednesday and they can stay,” Oulaghan said.

Yamanin Vital was a son of Sir Tristram and he has also sired other top-class jumpers such as Hypnotize, Climbing High and the Oulaghan pair of Yourtheman and Counter Punch.

Auckland Cup winner and Melbourne Cup placegetter Who Shot Thebarman has been his top flat representative.

Upper Cut’s rider Shaun Phelan paid tribute to Oulaghan’s conditioning skills after the event.

“He’s a genius. I sat there and enjoyed the ride, the horse did it all,” he said. “These are the races you live and dream for.”

Phelan was recording his second win in the race after guiding Eric The Viking to victory in 2014. He stood high in the irons and gave a victory salute as Upper Cut crossed the finish line, earning the wrath of the judicial committee who fined him $300.

Ormsby said Upper Cut is now likely to be turned out for a well earned spell and will hopefully be brought back for another winter campaign next year, with a tilt at a third Grand National Steeplechase a possibility. 


Aussie plans for three-year-old

Getty’s performance on the opening day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival will decide whether he makes another appearance at the carnival or if he heads to Melbourne.

Unbeaten in two appearances last season, he will make his three-year-old debut in the Listed El Roca Sprint (1200m) at Hastings on September 2

“Then it would be the Hawke’s Bay Guineas, but if he won like a superstar then we could look at taking him over for the Prelude and the Caulfield Guineas,” said trainer Andrew Campbell of the Excelebration gelding, who is also nominated for the Group 1 Cox Plate.

Stablemate and Listed Ryder Stakes winner Waldorf will make his next start in the Listed H. S. Dyke Wanganui Stakes on September 9.


Hoping for Tarzino start

Cambridge trainer Shaun Ritchie is keen to kick off his class mare Let Her Rip’s fresh campaign in the in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2 but has made a contingency plan if she doesn’t make the field.

The daughter of Rip Van Winkle is a Group 3 winner and currently sits on the fringe as 21st in order of entry for the 1400-metre feature on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.

“She’s 40-1 for the race and that’s probably fair as it will be a strong field of weight-for-age performers,” Ritchie said.

“She is borderline to get in so we’re thinking that if she doesn’t, and as she is so effective fresh, then we might look at the Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington. It’s a Group 2 at set weights and penalties and a race we won with Zurella.

“Our first preference though would be to stay closer to home and have a crack at the Hawke’s Bay Group 1 race.”

Ritchie is also hoping to have a couple of talented performers in action on the Hastings undercard.

“Bella Gioia and Cut Me Loose will be presented at Hawke’s Bay at some point over the carnival,” he said.

Bella Gioia, last season’s Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas runner-up, was taken to the Queensland winter carnival  but her campaign was cut short after an unplaced run in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic on a heavy Eagle Farm track that took its toll.

“She’s doing great now and she’s still got residual fitness,” Ritchie said. “Cut Me Loose is a smart horse and he’s coming up nicely as well.”

The Swiss Ace four-year-old has won two of his four starts last season and finished third behind Saracino in the Group 2 Wellington Guineas.


HB Guineas contender

Byerley Park trainer Steven Cole has Group 1 aspirations for his talented three-year-old Ohceedee and intends using the Group 2 $100,000 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas at Hastings on October 7 as a stepping stone.

Cole said the plan is to get the rangy Power colt to the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November. 

Cole was buoyed by Ohceedee’s excellent performance for second in a 1000-metre open trial at Avondale last Friday and the horse will kick off a fresh campaign in the three-year-old 1100m race at Te Rapa tomorrow and then possibly run again at Ruakaka a fortnight later.

“The Hawke's Bay Guineas would be his first big test if he is going as well as we think he can and then on to Riccarton after that,” Cole said.

The trainer didn’t think Ohceedee would be happy in the testing track conditions when he competed at last Friday’s Avondale trials and would have been happy with just a tidy effort from the horse, where he did things under his own steam.

Ohceedee was placed twice from four starts as a juvenile including an eye-catching performance to finish third behind the highly rated Haussmann in the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes.


Hastings plans for Nymph Monte

Nymph Monte made his mark at stakes level last season and the six-year-old will be on the trail of higher honours this preparation.

The Listed Metropolitan Trophy Handicap winner took a step closer to a new campaign when he finished a tidy third in an open 1000m heat at last week’s Waverley trials.

“It brought him on again and he did it all under his own steam,” part-owner and trainer Grant Nicholson said.

“He’ll trial again on August 22 at Foxton and then head to Hastings. At this stage, he will run on the first day in the open mile and then into the open 2000m handicap on the second day before the Livamol Classic.

   “He’s a pretty clean-winded horse and two runs should have him right for the Group 1. We just hope the tracks will be good for him.”

   The son of Tavistock has a handy record at Hawke’s Bay, having won there over 2100m and weighed in a further three times from five appearances.

Jockey Shaun Phelan stands high in the irons and gives a victory salute as Upper Cut crosses the finish line 1-1/4 lengths clear of second placed Kina Win in last Saturday’s Grand National Steeplechase.

Waipukurau’s Michael Ormsby (second from right) poses for a photograph with some of the other winning connections following Upper Cut’s second Grand National Steeplechase success. Others from left to right are trainer Mark Oulaghan, Warren Scott, jockey Shaun Phelan and Aroha Duncan.

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Hastings Trackwork 17 Aug 2017

(By John Jenkins)

Real Beach and a Showcasing three-year-old filly took the time honours in a reasonably quiet session at the Hastings track this morning.

Fast work was confined to the plough, which provided soft footing.

Real Beach and the Showcasing filly worked together over 800 metres, running the first 400 in an easy 14.6 and then speeding up over the last 600 in 37.8.

Real Beach is a Nadeem four-year-old mare in Kelly Burne’s stable. She had one start last season for a third over 1200 metres at Wairoa and could kick off a new campaign at the Woodville meeting on Thursday of next week. The Showcasing filly is one of a number of young horses former jockey Kate Hercock has in work.

Red Tiara, another in the Burne stable, was given two 600-metre runs, the first in a leisurely 42.8 and the second in 39.9. She is also close to kicking off a fresh campaign.

A Zacinto three-year-old filly and a Zed three-year-old gelding ended their work on the plough by running the last 600 metres in 41.3. They are both in work with Kate Hercock.

Cowboys Don’t Cry had trainer Kelly Burne aboard when sent two easy 600-metre runs, the first taking 44.2 and the second in 40.5. He is being prepared for a hurdling campaign and may head north for a few days to hopefully get his jumping ticket.

An O’Reilly-Catalina three-year-old gelding in the Lowry/Cullen stable worked in at three-quarter pace from the 1000-metre peg in 1:13.4, speeding up slightly over the last 600 in 40.5.

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HB Racing Column 11 Aug 2017

New running rail a feature at Hastings race meetings

(By John Jenkins)

The cream of the country’s gallopers will be on show on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 2 and so will a new plastic running rail.

The movable rail, built by the Australian company Mawsafe Rail, arrived in Hastings last week and track staff erected in on Tuesday, under the supervision of national venue inspector Garry Foskett.

 The rail has been positioned in the true position for the first day of the spring carnival and will be moved out several metres for the second day, on September 23. A decision will then be made on where it goes for the final day, on October 7.

Foskett said the rail is the most popular one in Australia and used on the majority of racetracks in Victoria. It is also similar to others already installed at 12 other venues in New Zealand. They are Ruakaka, Ellerslie, Pukekohe, Te Rapa, Te Aroha, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Awapuni, Riccarton, Wingatui and Ascot Park.

“The rail is a lot easier to shift and is seen as the way forward for racetracks in the future,” Foskett said.

“It has the support of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.”

The new rail is a lot less time consuming to erect and, being plastic, it is a lot safer for both horses and jockeys. Once the initial foot holes and legs are put in place the top rail is then attached and clipped in, with the entire operation completed in a matter of hours.

A strengthening modification has been made at the base of each leg to eliminate the chance of the rail blowing over in high winds, which has been the case at some venues in the past.

“It is moving with the times and seen as an alternative to the colour steel rails that have been in use at most New Zealand racetracks,” Foskett added.

The old colour steel running rail that has served Hastings race meetings well in the past will, in time, be moved infield and used as a running rail on the plough training track.


Hawke's Bay race upgraded

The three-year-old race on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival has had an upgrade to Listed status, meaning there will be a black type race for three-year-olds on all three days.

The New Zealand Pattern Committee has upgraded the three-year-old 1200m race at Hastings on September 2.
The El Roca Trophy has been given Listed status and the stake will double, from $25,000 to $50,000. It will continue to be run at set weights, with penalties.
The race has attracted strong fields in each of the past three years and last year was won by Ugo Foscolo, ahead of Hall Of Fame and Mongolian Falcon.

Ugo Foscolo and Hall Of Fame were both Group I winners last season and Mongolian Falcon was a runaway winner of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas at his next start. Serious Satire had beaten Battle Times, Stradivarius and Amarula the previous year and subsequent Two Thousand Guineas winner Turn Me Loose was runner-up in 2014.
The Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes for three-year-old fillies will be run on the second day at Hastings, on September 23, with the Group 2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas a fortnight later.
 Because the El Roca Trophy falls so early in the season, the NZ Pattern Committee decided to review the race ahead of the committee’s scheduled meeting on August 18 and released the following statement.
“The NZ Pattern Committee met by teleconference on August 4 to consider the rating of the unlisted Hawke’s Bay RI 3YO SW&P 1200m race to be next conducted on September 2.
“This race has achieved a Pattern Race Rating using the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Ranking measure of 107.25, with the last three editions being 104, 105.5 and 112.25.
”The required threshold to be considered for promotion to Listed status is 100 and for Group 3 status is 105.
“While the NZPC was somewhat uncomfortable at the one-off nature of the consideration of this race, it was felt that the extremely strong rating merited its upgrade to Listed status from the 2017 running onwards.”
Hawke’s Bay Racing general manager Andrew Castles said the club was delighted that the Pattern Committee had taken a common sense approach to announcing the upgrade. “Clearly the race rated well above the required minimum and was going to be upgraded out of their scheduled August 18 meeting."By bringing this announcement forward it allows stakeholders the opportunity to refine their early season programmes and target a race that carries valuable black type, as well as having had a significant stakemoney upgrade.”

HB/PB thoroughbred awards night

The Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay thoroughbred breeders and owners awards function will be held at the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse on the night of Friday, September 1.

The evening will recognise local achievers in the racing and breeding industry from the 2016-17 season.

Tickets are again $85/head and can be purchased from the office at Hawke’s Bay Racing or by contacting Gayle Richardson on 873-4545.

The awards function will again be sponsored by Bramwell Bate and Vet Associates and will be held on the night prior to the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring meeting, which will feature the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy. 


Volpe Veloce on top again

Volpe Veloce will head into the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2 in prime condition in her quest for a full house of stakes victories.

Last season’s outstanding three-year-old already has Group 2, Group 3 and Listed successes to her name and will attempt to complete her black type box set in the first Group 1 race of the new season.

Volpe Veloce warmed up for the opening leg of the Hawke’s Bay triple crown series with an effortless win in an Open 1200-metre sprint at Te Rapa last Saturday.

“We’re absolutely over the moon,” said Graham Richardson, who trains Volpe Veloce with Gavin Parker. “It’s a great result and she’s on target.”

Volpe Veloce jumped smartly to race outside the leader and regular rider Johnathan Parkes allowed her a little more rein to hit the front at the top of the straight.

The Wanganui jockey was afforded the luxury of several glances over his shoulder as he let the daughter of Foxwedge coast to the line.

“We wanted to ride her positively and take bad luck out of the equation,” Parkes said.

“She was pretty much bolting at the 600 and I just had to hold her up. She gave me a super feeling on the turn - she’s back big time.”


Harris given Group 1 chance

The behind the scenes work jockey Troy Harris has done with Sofia Rosa could pay huge dividends with the talented jockey booked to ride the mare in the Group 1 $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2.

Harris has yet to ride Sofia Rosa on race day but he rides the Stephen Marsh-trained mare in all her trackwork and was her strapper when she crossed the Tasman to win the Group 1 ATC Oaks in Sydney as a three-year-old.

“She’s had a jump-out and she’s coming up very well. We’re all happy with her and she will be going straight to Hawke’s Bay for the Tarzino Trophy.” said Bruce Perry, racing manager for the mare’s Wellington owner Lib Petagna.

Sofia Rosa’s performance in the opening Group 1 event of the season will decide the rest of her year.

“At this stage, the intention is to race on for another season, but that depends on how she goes and otherwise we could look at putting her in foal,” Perry said.

Sofia Rosa hasn’t raced since she finished third in the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in the autumn.


Top mare perfect fit for Munz

A change in the ownership of Perfect Fit hasn’t altered plans for the Group 1 winner.

Under his GSA Bloodstock banner, Melbourne breeding and racing identity Johnathan Munz has bought into Haunui Farm’s daughter of Elusive City.

“Johnathan has purchased a half share in her,” Munz’s Cambridge-based bloodstock manager Dean Hawthorne said. “She’ll run in the Foxbridge Plate first-up and hopefully the track will be okay for her.

“She doesn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground, but we don’t want it too testing, and if she’s going well then she’ll head to the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings.”


Danis surgery successful

Apprentice Darren Danis has undergone successful back surgery at the Christchurch Hospital.

The 25-year-old fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae in a fall at Washdyke and his father, former jockey and now trainer Luke Danis, said the subsequent operation went well.

“We’ll have to give the injury time to heal now,” he said. “There is of course a long recovery and rehab ahead. On behalf of my family and Darren, I’d like to thank everybody for their prayers.”

New Racing Bill welcomed

The governing bodies of the New Zealand racing industry are united in their support for the new Racing Amendment Bill, introduced by the Minister for Racing, Hon David Bennett.

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), see the introduction of the bill a major milestone in the process towards enacting legislation that will bring a welcome increase in funding to the industry.

The proposed legislation addresses the rapid and broad growth of online betting and the loss of potential industry income to overseas bookmakers.

“We are delighted to see the recommendations from the Offshore Betting Working Group progressing through to legislation,” says NZRB Chair, Glenda Hughes.

“The support for our industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to GDP each year, is greatly appreciated and we sincerely thank Ministers David Bennett and Nathan Guy, and officials who have brought about this landmark moment,” says Ms Hughes.

“NZRB is also continuing to work on improving its competitiveness to enhance our customers’ experience and ensure they can receive the same level of service and options as they find offshore,” she added.


National venue inspector Garry Foskett clips together a section of the new running rail at the Hastings racecourse in preparation for the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on September 2. Watching on is Kerry O’Neil while also assisting are Chris King, Craig Berge and Peter Dickie.  

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