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Heart Of Stone stamps herself as a special filly 20 Mar 2019

   It may have only been a Sunday maiden race at Woodville but Hastings-trained  Heart Of Stone certainly got tongues wagging when she demolished her rivals over 1200m at Woodville last Sunday, in a quick time.

   The John Bary-trained three-year-old filly took a clear lead at the end of the first 200m of the 1200m event and was never in danger of defeat from then on.

  Jockey Chris Johnson had a stranglehold on the daughter of Swiss Ace as they came to the home turn and hardly had to move a muscle in the home straight as the filly blitzed her rivals by 4-1/4 lengths.

   Commentator Tony Lee was in raptures in calling the filly home,  saying Johnson was swinging on the horse in the run to the line and he thought she was a filly that still had 10 lengths improvement on that performance.

   Heart Of Stone was being eased down at the finish by Johnson and still recorded a quick 1:09.18 for the 1200m which was more than half a second faster than Vincent took in winning the previous race for Rating 65 rated horses.

  Bary was not surprised by the win, saying the filly had always shown plenty of ability.

   “She won a trial before her first start last year and also won a jumpout at Hastings a couple of weeks ago. In the jumpouts I get my track riders to ride my horses so they are usually carrying a lot more weight than the others,” Bary said.

   Heart Of Stone won an 850m trial at Foxton at the beginning of this season before a debut second behind the highly rated Lincoln Falls over 1100m at Woodville in September.

   “She then whacked a leg but it was not major,” Bary said.

   “I actually saw it happen. She was bucking and carrying on in her paddock and hit a tendon.”

   Bary said the injury didn’t require a long layoff but he decided to give the filly plenty of time to recover before a long slow build up back to race fitness.

   Bary is now looking at starting Heart Of Stone in the $30,000 three-year-old race over 1200m at Awapuni on March 30.

   “That looks the logical next race for her but we are just taking it one step at a time,” Bary said.

   Heart Of Stone is owned by New Zealand Thoroughbred Holdings Limited and bred by the company’s head, Australian millionaire Gerry Harvey.

   She is the latest star in a growing list of horses by Swiss Ace that John Bary has had success with,  the most successful being the three-year-old filly Miss Labasa. She won three races in a row earlier this season and finished seventh in last Saturday’s Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m). She has now been turned out for a spell, along with stablemate King Louis who finished sixth in the same race.


Third Trentham success for Pep Torque

   Waipukurau-trained Pep Torque is building a strong affinity with the big roomy Trentham track.

   The five-year-old Nadeem gelding brought up his fourth victory and his third on the Wellington Racing Club’s course when successful in a $30,000 Rating 72 race over 1600m there last Saturday.

   Trained at Waipukurau by Kirsty Lawrence, Pep Torque has also recorded two seconds, two thirds, two fourths and a fifth from his 23 starts and Saturday’s success took his stake earnings to more than $72,000. That is a great return on the $2600 Lawrence and her husband Steve paid for the horse from the thoroughbred trading operation Gavelhouse.

   The Lawrences race Pep Torque in partnership with stable employee Susan Best and the sisters Diana and Christina Newman, who have been long time stable clients.

   Pep Torque is out of the Star Way mare Cosmic Flight, who recorded two wins and seven minor placings from only 20 starts.

   Kirsty Lawrence said Pep Torque is not overly big but he has been very honest and is a delight to train.
   “He’s a lazy trackworker and will hit the line and pull up before you have even gone 20 metres past the winning post. But yet he is a different horse on race day.”

   The horse has obviously come through last Saturday’s win in perfect order as he is now expected to back up in the $20,000 Masterton Cup (1600m) at Tauherenikau on Sunday.  


Seventh win for Xcuses Xcuses

   Former Hastings-trained Excuses Xcuses brought up the seventh win of her career when successful in an $11,000 Rating 82 race over 1400m at Ashburton last Thursday.

   The No Excuse Needed seven-year-old was initially trained at Hastings by John Bary, who bred and owns the mare in partnership with long time stable client  Ivan Grieve. She won four races from the Bary stable before being leased out to a South Island syndicate and has since added another three wins for Rangiora trainer John Blackadder.

   Xcuses Xcuses is out of the Shinko King mare Xpectacular, who looked smart when winning her debut over 1200m in May 2009 but only had one more start before injury forced her early retirement. She has also left the winner Chouxperb, by Jimmy Choux.


On trial for Hawke’s Bay Cup

   Promising stayer Felaar will be using tomorrow’s $30,000 Drymix Bay Of Plenty Cup at Tauranga as a stepping stone to the Listed $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Cup at Hastings on April 13.

   The Ekraar five-year-old, rated by trainer Stephen Marsh as “a top stayer in the making”, has not raced since winning over 2200m at Otaki almost a month ago but that is not expected to detract from his chances this weekend.

   With Marsh over in Australia this week overseeing the team he is campaigning there, stable foreman Rhys Mildon has been in charge back in Cambridge and said this week that Felaar will go into Saturday’s Tauranga race a very fit horse.

   “He’s come through his last race at Otaki very well and looks in great order,” Mildon said.

   “This race will be his final lead up before the Hawke’s Bay Cup.”

   Felaar is dropping back in distance to 2100m this Saturday but Mildon does not see that being a problem.

   “Not at all. He’s a big lean horse who doesn’t take a lot of work and actually goes best when his races are spaced.

   “He’s a lot bigger and stronger horse now than last year.”

   Felaar has only won three races but Marsh thought enough of the horse to send him south for a crack at the New Zealand Cup (3200m) in the spring. He was a gallant second in the Metropolitan Trophy Handicap (2500m) on  the first day of the cup carnival and started favourite for the Cup a week later, finishing third behind Bizzwinkle and Duplicity.


Hastings sprint now on agenda

   Hastings  trainer John Bary was pleased with Vinnie’s Volley’s fifth placing in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) at Trentham last Saturday and he is hoping she can gain some black-type by season’s end.

   “I was very proud of her. It was her first time in the big league,” Bary said.

   “I know she had a light weight, but she ran fifth and was one and a-half lengths off some of the big boy sprinters in New Zealand, so I was very pleased with her.”

   Bary is eyeing the Listed $50,000 NZB Finance Sprint (1200m) at Hastings on April 13 with his charge before putting her out in the spelling paddock in preparation for the spring.

   “I’d love to run third at Hastings, get that bit of black-type, then put her aside and come back in the spring with her.

   Meanwhile Cambridge trainer Ross McCarroll may also target the Listed Open  sprint at Hastings on April 13 with Chicane after her game last stride win in a Rating 82 race over 1200m at Tauranga last Saturday.

   The Coats Choice mare brought up her fifth success from 18 starts when she came with a nicely timed rails run to get up and knock off Dama Zoro by a nose.

   Chicane brought up her 10th dividend bearing placing from 17 starts and McCarroll, who is also a part-owner in the mare, said she has rarely run a bad race.

   “She’s a very good mare, especially with a cut in the ground,” McCarroll said.


Guineas win donated to appeal

   Rodger Finlay put his money where his heart is at Trentham last Saturday.

   Finlay and his wife, Emily, race Wellington Guineas winner Emily Margaret and will donate the winning stake from the $100,000 Group 2 race to a Christchurch community reeling from last weekend’s mosque attacks.

   It was a decision the Christchurch couple took several hours before Emily Margaret shaded Vigor Winner and Dawn Patrol in the tightest finish of the day.

   “We discussed it after breakfast [on Saturday morning] and decided that if we were lucky enough to get any stakemoney, that we would give it away,” Rodger said. “She was the only Christchurch-based horse in the field and we felt she was representing the Christchurch community.

   “We didn’t have the money before the race and then one minutes, 24 seconds later we had the money. It was an easy decision to give it away.

   “It’s been a pretty tough time for Christchurch and there’s still a very subdued mood down here.”

   The net first prize in the Guineas, after the deduction of the winning percentages for the trainers and rider, will be approximately $50,000.


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Atlanta Peach, preparing for the Rating 72 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau on Sunday, finished her work off strongly at this morning’s Hastings track session.

   Galloping was confined to the plough, which provided good footing.

   Atlanta Peach galloped on her own, early in the session, and worked in from the 1000m peg in 1:11.3, running the first 400m in 33.7 before quickening over the last 600 in 37.6.

   The Bullbars mare was an easy last start winner in a Rating 65 race over 1600m at Otaki on March 8 and boasts a record of two wins, a second and a third from only five starts. Another top performance this Sunday could see her head to the Group 3 Manawatu Breeders Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni on April 5.

   Stradivarius, who could resume racing in the Rating 82 1000m race at Tauherenikau, worked with a young stablemate called Eisenhower over and easy 800m in 54.5, the last 600 in 39.6. Stradivarius has not raced since finishing unplaced over 15050m at Awapuni in November last year but has a good record over sprint distances with three wins and 20 minor placings.

   Yossarian took the time honours for the session when sprinting 600m in 36.8. He is a promising three-year-old half-brother to Stradivarius in the Lee Somervell stable who recorded a win and a third from three starts earlier this season. He looks to be coming up well in a new preparation and is likely to have a jumpout at Waipukurau on March 29.

   A three-year-old Jimmy Choux gelding in the James Bridge stable also showed a good turn of speed when running a solo 800m in 49.3, the last 600 in 37.7 while Hunta Pence was kept under a firm hold when running 800m in 55, the last 600 in 40.2. He was an impressive last start winner over 1600m at Trentham and will now contest the Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) on March 30.

   Uncle Bro worked over a round on his own and was timed to run the last 1000m in 1:10.3 and final 600 in 1:9.3, the last 600 in 38.2. He was a last start winner at Wairoa and could line up in the Rating 65 race over 2050m at Tauherenikau on Sunday.

   Rekohu Diva ran a solo 1000m in 1:6.5, the last 600 in 38.3 while Estefania was not hurried when running a solo 800m in 55.7, the last 600 in 40.6.

   Charlie Zulu worked over 1000m in 1:6.3, running the first 400m in 29 and coming home the last 600 in 37.3 while Le Cailloux ended her work with an easy 600m in 40.3.

  A Rock ‘N’ Pop-Mink three-year-old filly looked to be travelling better than Chalky at the end of 1000m in 1:12.5, the last 600 in 40 while Ribamine had trainer Kate Hercock aboard when sprinting 800m in 51.3, the last 600 in 37.6.

   Maria Dior sprinted 600m on her own but was not timed, She is likely to start next in the $30,000 three-year-old race over 1200m at Awapuni on March 30.


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Another HB Cup bid for in-form Hunta Pence 15 Mar 2019

The time-honoured Hawke’s Bay Cup on April 13 will again be the major autumn goal for Hastings-trained Hunta Pence.

   The No Excuse needed six-year-old showed he is right on target for the Hastings feature with a game win over 1600m at Trentham last Saturday and is likely to have one more start before then.

   Hunta Pence contested last year’s Listed Royston Hospital Hawke’s Bay Cup, finishing third behind Richie McHorse and Our Abbadean. He was a five race winner then and has since added another two victories and taken his stake earnings to more than $126,000.

   Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell owns a 50 per cent shareholding in Hunta Pence with the other 50 per cent divided amongst six other people. They are Lindsay McIntosh, Dean Smith and Mike and Wendy Timmins from Hastings, Shane Govsky (Napier) and Ashburton-based Norm Stewart.

   For Mike and Wendy Timmins and Shane Govsky it is their first venture into racehorse ownership while McIntosh and Stewart have had shares in several horses as has Smith, who also held a trainer’s licence for several years.

   Only four horses contested the $35,000 Open 1600m race at Trentham last Saturday and Hunta Pence led practically all the way in the hands of apprentice jockey Danielle Hirini. Race favourite and Group 1 placegetter Hiflyer looked to have the measure of the Hastings galloper when he mounted a challenge in the final 300m but the latter fought back gamely to score by half a length.

   Hirini was having her third race-ride on the chestnut, following a second in the Wanganui Cup last December and a fifth in the Manawatu Cup.

   “He just jumped to the lead and I let him do what he wanted,” a happy Hirini said.

   Trainer Patrick Campbell said it helped that Hunta Pence was coming off a last start win over 1900m at Wairoa as it made him hard fit to run out a strong 1600m at Trentham.

   Campbell said the horse is now likely to contest the Group 2 $100,000 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) on March 30 as a final lead up lead up to the Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m).

   Campbell would dearly love to win his home town Cup after three second placings in the past. In 1979 Tarlton, bred and part-owned by his father Felix Campbell and ridden by his then stable apprentice Jim Cassidy, went down by only a short head behind the Noel Eales-trained Lone Hand, ridden by Des Harris.

   Nine years later Campbell again had to settle for a close second when his charge Lagerfeld, ridden by David Walsh, went down by a neck behind the Laurie Laxon-trained Finezza Belle, who was steered to victory by Tony Allan.

   Campbell thought he finally had the horse to give him a Hawke’s Bay Cup victory in 1993 when he saddled up the talented stayer Val d’Arno, with Phillip Mercer aboard. But he was again denied success when the Dave and Paul O’Sullivan-trained Surfers Paradise, ridden by Jim Walker, got up to beat him by a length.

   Campbell has actually tried to win the Hawke’s Bay Cup seven times. He also picked up a third with Royal Jazz in 2010, while Acraman finished 15th in 1980 and Claymore Boy ninth in 1984.


Andrew makes winning return on Trentham track

   Palmerston North apprentice jockey Holly Andrew buried the demons that have haunted her for almost 12 months when she piloted Hastings-trained On Show to an all the way win in the 1000m two-year-old race at Trentham last Saturday.

   The 28-year-old’s victory came one week short of a year from the day she was badly injured in a race fall during the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) on the same track.

   She suffered a broken and badly damaged shoulder as well as severe rib injuries when Bronsteel clipped heels and fell 400m from the finish of the 1600m feature.

   Courage and determination is something Andrew has in spades and, after numerous operations and months of rehabilitation, she finally resumed race-riding a fortnight ago.

   She recorded a third aboard Likageesix at Awapuni on March 1 and followed that up with minor placings on Tennessee Rose, Royal Inn and Lady Verawood at Otaki last Friday. But to finally get another riding success aboard On Show last Saturday was like a dream come true for the hard working apprentice.

   “It’s good to be back,” a beaming Andrew said after dismounting from On Show.

   “There have definitely been some lows but today showed there are highs too.

   “It’s been hard work. I’ve had to work on my weight because I’m not a natural lightweight and just trying to get connections, and get rides back, has probably been the hardest part.”

   Andrew has suffered numerous broken bones in falls, but her most serious injuries were the result of a car accident in 2013. She broke both femurs, smashed both knees and her left ankle and right foot were broken. The muscles and fat were pulled off her lower left calf and she had 20 stitches in a head wound.

   On Show is prepared by Hastings trainer John Bary who has been one of Andrew’s greatest supporters so she was delighted her comeback win was on one of his horses.

   On Show was making her race debut in the 1000m event but had impressed when winning a 750m jumpout at Hastings in January and then finished second in an 850m Foxton trial on February 12.

   Andrew bounced the Showcasing filly out quickly from the barrier to take an early lead and they were never headed, crossing the line a length clear of Curve, with third placed Regal Reward another 3 lengths back.

   Bary said the stable has always had a lot of time for On Show, saying she had shown a lot of speed in jumpouts and in her barrier trial. She was a $75,000 purchase from last November’s Ready To Run sale and Bary and his racing manager, Mike Sanders, then set up a syndicate to race the filly.

   “It’s a big syndicate and most of them are here on track today,” Bary said.

   Sanders manages the Surf’s Up Syndicate with the members being Doug Callaghan and Richard Koorey from Hastings, Ian McLean and Tony Clark (Havelock North), Dave Whittington (Napier), Neil and Rayleen Whitmore (Wairoa), Barry and Leith Wrenn (Dannevirke), Michael Phillips (Masterton), John and Thelma Glasgow (Rotorua), Craig Smith and Adrian Berry (Palmerston North), Aidin Dennis (Tauranga), John Knox, Paul Lamb and Tim Mitchell (Wellington), Mike Fitzgerald and Kevin Parker (Waikanae), Culham Hardy and Kristen Whittington (Petone), Mark Hardy (Lower Hutt) and Phillip Parker (Queensland).

   Bary said On Show will now go out for a spell and be brought back for early three-year-old races in the new season.


Cassidy injured in car smash

   Hall of Fame Kiwi jockey Jim Cassidy has revealed how close he came to death after being involved in a horror head-on car accident in Australia.

   Cassidy, 53, suffered bleeding on the brain and bruising to his body last Saturday after a car allegedly veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the retired hoop's trusted Nissan X-Trail while taking a corner in wet conditions.

   The accident occurred not far from Lynwood Country Club in Sydney where Cassidy had that afternoon played golf and watched The Autumn Sun's dramatic win in the Randwick Guineas.

   "I thought I was dead," Cassidy said this week. "I don't know how I got out of it the way I did but I did.

   "We were going around a corner. The other bloke came to the corner, I could see him, I was 50 metres away. All of a sudden, he went bang into my windscreen. He lost control on the wet road and just hit me head on. I had nowhere to go. If I went to the left, I would've hit a tree.

   Cassidy was rushed by ambulance to hospital where he remained until he was discharged on Tuesday.

   "I've got a sore head and a sore body but I'm blessed," he said.

   "I had a little bit of bleeding on the brain but that's stopped, according to the neurosurgeons. My head is quite big. My head smashed into the driver's side window.

   “I'm just very thankful that I had a seat belt on and the airbag worked. Very, very lucky boy."

   One of the sport's greatest jockeys before retiring in 2015, Cassidy suffered numerous race falls and injuries throughout his illustrious riding career but said he would rather fall off a horse any day than experience what happened last Saturday.


Hastings pair now headed for stakes races

   The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen continued their good run in 2019 with a brace of wins at the Otaki meeting last Friday.

   Mohaka capped off minor placings in stakes races with a dominant 2 length win in a 1200m maiden race while Atlanta Peach made it two wins from only five starts with another commanding 2-1/2 length victory in a Rating 65 race over 1600m.

   The Lowry/Cullen partnership has now produced 17 winners this season and six of them have come since New Year’s Day.

   Mohaka’s win will now see her head south in search of more black type. The Nadeem filly finished third in two Listed stakes races earlier this season, the Wanganui Guineas (1340m) and Zacinto Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton and her connections now intend starting her in another two Listed races at Riccarton next month.

   “She’ll have a jumpout at Waipukurau on March 29 and then run in the $50,000 Air Freight Stakes over 1600 metres on April 6 and, a week later, in the $50,000 NZ Bloodstock Warstep Stakes over 2000 metres,” co-trainer Guy Lowry said.

   Atlantic Peach is also likely to tackle a stakes race within the next month.

   Lowry said the Bullbars four-year-old will now contest a Rating 72 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau on March 24 as a lead up to the Group 3 $70,000 Manawatu Breeders Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni on April 5.

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