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Hastings pair now on course for Group 1 races at Ellerslie 14 Feb 2018

   Hastings-trained mare Savvy Dreams is likely to have her next start in the Group 1 $200,000 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie on March 10 following her game run for fifth in last Saturday’s Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa.

   The Savabeel mare drew the extreme outside barrier in the 2000m weight-for-age event at Te Rapa and struck unsuitable track conditions, which became a slow-9 after heavy rain fell there on Friday night and again on Saturday.

   Guy Lowry, who trains Savvy Dreams in partnership with Grant Cullen, doubted the mare’s ability to cope with the very wet track conditions, given that all her best form has been on footing rated no worse than dead.

   “I knew she would struggle and I actually thought she would finish further back than she did. But she is one very tough mare and, although she never handled it, she still tried her heart out,” Lowry said.

   The pre-race plan was to hopefully settle Savvy Dreams just behind midfield from her wide draw and then hopefully improve her position starting the last 800 metres. But rider Samantha Collett was almost unseated when the mare ducked sideways as she bounded out of the barrier and she was clear last at end of the first 200 metres.

   Collett said later that, when she tried to urge the mare to go forward in the middle stages, she felt her floundering in the ground and so elected to sit and wait until the home straight to angle her out into slightly better footing.

   Just as Savvy Dreams started to go forward approaching the home turn another runner, Promise To Reign, pushed out inside the mare and shunted her eight-wide rounding the bend. She looked a forlorn hope after that but rallied gamely in the final 300 metres to pick up fifth stakemoney of $8500 for her connections.

   Savvy Dreams was one of two horses the Lowry/Cullen stable lined up in the race, the other being Wait A Sec. He was expected to cope best out of the two in the testing ground but he got stuck down on the inside, in the worst part of the track, and couldn’t quicken at all over the final stages when finishing a distant eighth.

   Lowry said both horses were noticeably very tired immediately after the race but that both returned to normal after a couple of days, with Savvy Dreams back at the Hastings track on Tuesday where she underwent some slow work.

   Lowry said Savvy Dreams won’t have another run again until the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes, which is also run under weight-for-age conditions over 2000m.

   Meanwhile Wait A Sec is one of a team of horses the Lowry/Cullen team will have campaigning at the upcoming Poverty Bay and Wairoa meetings.

   Wait A Sec will contest the $30,000 Wairoa Cup (2100m) on February 25 and, providing he performs well there, he will also then head to Ellerslie on March 10 for the Group 1 $500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m).

   The annual Poverty Bay meeting will be staged at Gisborne this Sunday while the two-day Wairoa meeting will be on the following Thursday and Sunday.

   Other horses the Lowry/Cullen stable intend to campaign at either Gisborne or Wairoa include Pakapunch, Saint Kitt, Silhouette Beauty, Real Beach, Strut, Tuigold, Uncle Bro, Dare To Rock, Aperol, Deb, Voxer and Rainbowone.


Lowland next for Dijon Bleu

   Dijon Bleu has taken a commanding lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series following her outstanding win in last Saturday’s Listed $100,000 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa.

   The daughter of Burgundy has now amassed 22 points in the series, with second placed Contessa Vanessa on 13.5. Hasahalo is lying third on the table with 12 points and Hello It’s Me is the next best on 8.

   There are three races left in the series, the Group 3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on March 1, the Group 3 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie on March 3 and the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 17.

   The Lowland Stakes and the Sunline Vase both carry points of six for a win, three for second and 1.5 for third while the points allocated for the New Zealand Oaks are 12 for a win, seven for second and 3.5 for third.

   Dijon Bleu’s Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta said the filly is likely to contest the Lowland Stakes next and a decision on whether or not she then goes on to the Oaks will be made after that.

   Dijon Bleu won the first leg of the series, the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings at the beginning of September last year and has been campaigned right through since then. She was subsequently placed in both the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1550m) at Awapuni before posting a dominant victory in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham. She then produced another commanding display at Te Rapa last Saturday in what was her first start beyond 1600m.

   Jockey Jonathan Riddell, who was replacing the suspended Leith Innes, settled Dijon Bleu midfield and bided his time, waiting for the gaps to appear in the home straight. They managed to get a split between horses 300 metres out and Dijon Bleu showed an amazing turn of foot to sprint clear and then hold out the fast finishing Mark Two by three-quarters of a length.


Boxachocolates weighted out

   The connections of Boxachocolates have sent the lightly-tried stayer to Australia for a sweeter future.

   They believe the Alamosa five-year-old has become too difficult to place in New Zealand and he has headed to Melbourne where he will be trained by Stephen Brown at Flemington.

   “I’ve got 25 horses and we looked after Boxachocolates and now he’s gone instead of running in our cup races,” former trainer Mike Breslin said.

   “There’s been no falling out between the owners and I and I don’t blame them the way things are.”

   The trans-Tasman move was prompted following Boxachocolates’ win off a 54kg minimum at Awapuni in December.

   “There wasn’t a Rating 85 for him so we had to run in the Cup Prelude, a $35,000 race and he got 17 points – that was only the fourth win of his life,” Breslin said.

   “Authentic Paddy, a Group One winner, and Ocean Emperor, who won the Group 2 at Tauranga, were in the field, but the handicapper didn’t use any discretion and my horse went from the minimum to 58.5kg.”

   Boxachocolates was unplaced in the Group 3 Manawatu Cup (2100m) a week later when on a rating of 88.

   “I rang Racing Victoria and said to them that I was considering bringing the horse over and they said he would be rated 78,” Breslin said.

   “When I relayed that to the owners it wasn’t really a surprise they decided to send him to a Melbourne trainer.”


Ugo Foscolo back in NZ

   Group One winner Ugo Foscolo will be back on track tomorrow week.

   “He was going to trial at Matamata this week, but they were cancelled, so he’ll go straight to the open 1200m on Matamata Cup day,” trainer Stephen Marsh said. “He looks great and it’s great to have him back.”

   Marsh prepared Ugo Foscolo won his first three starts in New Zealand in 2016, including the El Roca Three-year-old Sprint (1200m) at Hastings. He then went on to take out the Group 2 Sarten Memorial (1400m) at Te Rapa and the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, before the son of Zacinto transferred to the Sydney stable of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

   Muscle soreness restricted him to just one unplaced run in Australia before he returned home.


Aussie coming for Derby

   Australian-trained three-year-old has been confirmed as a likely starter in the Group 1 $1million Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 3.

   The Darren Weir-trained colt is the winner of four races from only 10 starts and scored an effortless 2-3/4 length victory in the Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m) last Friday. He was also successful over 2000m at Flemington on New Year’s Day.

   New Zealand-bred Civil Disobedience is by Raise The Flag out of Pernote and was a $32,500 purchase from a 2016 South Island sale when offered from the draft from White Robe Lodge.


Jasd bound for Hong Kong

   Unbeaten three-year-old gelding Jasd will be making his way to Hong Kong after being sold by Waikato bloodstock agent Bryce Tankard to clients of expatriate New Zealand trainer Paul O’Sullivan.

   Formerly trained by Tony Pike, Jasd won impressively on debut at Taupo by nearly 2 lengths late last year before winning his only other start over 1400m at Trentham on Wellington Cup day.

   Jasd was originally purchased by Tankard out of the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale. He went to $240,000 to secure the son of Sepoy out of Kilgravin Lodge’s draft for another Hong Kong client.

   “He’s a horse that has always shown plenty of ability and we just took him along quietly because he is a lovely big horse and we didn’t want to rush him,” Tankard said.

   “The current owner didn’t have a permit for Hong Kong and he has sold a few horses up to Hong Kong that have gone on to do very good jobs. So he is always open to the deal of moving a few horses.”

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One Prize One Goal back in tune with Matamata win 7 Feb 2018

   Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell was back singing the praises of One Prize One Goal after the Hawke’s Bay-owned four-year-old showed a dramatic form reversal to win at last Friday’s Matamata meeting.

   The Ekraar four-year-old was a shade slow to begin in a Rating 65 race over 1200m but, after travelling easily in fourth place to the home turn, he showed a great turn of foot in the home straight to race clear for a 1-1/4 length victory.

   The performance was in stark contrast to the horse’s previous start, over 1500m at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, where he showed an aversion to the right-handed track. He charged into the 600-metre bend that day and ran off, losing all chance despite jockey Trudy Thornton’s attempts to try and keep him on course.

   Somervell has long held One Prize One Goal in high regard and was both mystified and disappointed by the horse’s Ellerslie run.

   “He just didn’t seem to like going that way round that day and actually pulled a muscle in his neck which was caused by Trudy trying to stop him running off,” Somervell said.

   Somervell had the neck injury treated and gave the horse a freshen up before reverting him back to a left-handed track at Matamata, where he bounced back to his best in no uncertain terms.

   One Prize One Goal has now recorded two wins, three seconds and two thirds from only 13 starts. He is raced by Hawke’s Bay woman Shirin Wood along with her son Calvin and the estate of her late husband Kevin.

   The Woods bred the horse out of the Towkay mare Sheeza Kinda Magic.

   The family are huge fans of the rock group Queen and wanted to call the mare It’s A Kinda Magic after the band’s number one hit but that name had already been taken.

   “So we had to go with Sheeza Kinda Magic, which is pretty close,” Shirin Wood said.

   “There is a line in the song that goes It’s A Kinda Magic...One Prize One Goal which is where this horse’s name comes from and his stable name is Freddy, after the band’s lead singer Freddy Mercury.”

   One Prize One Goal is only the second horse to race out of the mare Sheeza Kinda Magic, the other being Jakob Gambino (by Sandtrap) who is the winner of four races for the Woods and is still racing as a nine-year-old in the South Island, recording a last start second over 1335m at Gore on January 20.

   Sheeza Kinda Magic is now back in foal to Ekraar.


A princess on the racetrack

   There are not many racemares in commission that try as hard as Waipukurau-trained Royal Ruby.

   The five-year-old daughter of Per Incanto capped off two good third placings with a decisive 1-3/4 length win in a Rating 65 race over 2000m at Hastings on Thursday of last week. She then backed up five days later and, competing out of her grade, she turned in another gutsy run for third in the Wairarapa Cup, a Rating 85 race over 2050m at Tauherenikau.

   Royal Ruby is trained by the husband and wife team of Tony and Penny Ebbett. She is no superstar, with only two wins from 33 starts, but she has also recorded four seconds and six thirds and has rarely run a bad race.

   The country’s leading jockey Samantha Collett was aboard the mare at Hastings last week and took her straight to the front from the outset. She then dictated terms in front and was able to kick clear early in the home straight and pinch a winning break on the opposition.

   Chris Johnson was aboard Royal Ruby at Tauherenikau on Tuesday. The mare wanted to over-race in the early stages but the experienced jockey got her to settle just in behind the leaders.

   She looked under pressure rounding the home turn but then rallied again late to finish just over 3 lengths from the winner.

   Tony Ebbett is the course manager at Waipukurau and he and his wife Penny are hobby trainers, never having more than one or two horses in work at a time. Their best has been Belfast Lad, whose 12 wins included a Foxton Cup (2040m) at Wanganui.

   They race Royal Ruby on lease from her Hastings breeders, John and Colleen Duncan. The mare won her first race at Waipukurau in March last year, when ridden by Chris Johnson.


Significant win by Pep Torque

   Waipukurau trainer Kirsty Lawrence and her husband Steve look to have picked up another bargain in Pep Torque, who broke through for a maiden win at just his second start at Tuesday’s Tauherenikau meeting.

   The Lawrences bought the Nadeem four-year-old from the thoroughbred trading operation Gavelhouse for just $2600 and he has now picked up $7250 in stakemoney from a third and a win.

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

   Kirsty Lawrence said she was confident of a big run from Pep Torque in Tuesday’s 1000m maiden race at Tauherenikau following his debut third over the same distance at Trentham.

   “He went a really good race first up and we were pretty confident after he worked very well here on Saturday.”

   Pep Torque’s win held special significance for Kirsty Lawrence. Her best friend’s husband committed suicide last Sunday after battling depression and jockey Alysha Collett wore a blue armband when riding the horse on Tuesday to signify suicide awareness.

   Collett positioned Pep Torque perfectly one out and one back in the running before angling him around heels at the top of the home straight to lodge a challenge. The horse kicked on strongly to score by three-quarters of a length from race favourite Stumpy, with first starter Torre Del Greco a short head back in third.

   Collett was suitably impressed by Pep Torque’s performance and predicted a bright future for the horse. He is now likely to head to the Wairoa meeting later this month for a Rating 65 race over 1200m.

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

   Coincidentally Cosmic Flight’s first win was also in a maiden 1000m race at the exact same Tauherenikau meeting back in 2001.

   Kirsty Lawrence presently has six horses in work and said four of them are being aimed at the upcoming two day Wairoa meeting. They include Do Ya, who was the winner of two races last year, and Martinelli who is a three-year-old filly by Burgundy and another buy from Gavelhouse at just $2200.


Magnum back in NZ

   Magnum, a horse part-owned by Havelock North’s Jason Fleming, has returned from racing in Singapore and will be aimed at black type races in this country this season.

   The five-year-old Per Incanto gelding, who was bred by part-owners Little Avondale Stud, won four races in Singapore and was successful in a 935m trial at Cambridge on Monday for trainer Lauren Brennan.

   “He had trouble with his joints up there so the connections decided to bring him back here and so far he’s a really happy horse,” she said.

   “If he pulls up well, we’ll look at a Rating 85 over 1200m at Ellerslie on February 17 and then there’s the option of the Darley Plate.

   “We had him as a two-year-old and he had three trials for three wins. He’s always been a classy horse.”


Sound trial by Bonneval

   Outstanding mare Bonneval trialled well at Cambridge on Monday to take her a step closer to opening an autumn campaign in Australia.

   The multiple Group 1 winner finished third in her 1200m heat behind stablemates Saint Emilion and Weather With You.

   “She ran on nicely and she probably needs another trial before she races in Sydney over a mile in the Chipping Norton,” said Murray Baker, who trains with Andrew Forsman.

   Bonneval won the Group 3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings in March of last year before going out to take out both the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham and the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) in Sydney. She also won the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) in Melbourne during the spring.


Gingernuts returns home

   Multiple Group 1 winner Gingernuts was on a flight back to New Zealand from Australia this week.

   The son of Iffraaj fractured a pastern on the way to the barrier for the Gr.1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in the spring and underwent surgery at the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic at Werribee before being transferred to the nearby King’s Park Equine Clinic.

   He will continue his rehabilitation at Te Akau Stud in New Zealand with no indication yet whether he will race again.

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Hastings Trackwork 6 Feb 2018

Savvy Dreams, preparing for Saturday’s Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa, strode out well in her final serious gallop at today’s Hastings track session.

   There was very little in the way of fast work with most horses only undergoing pacework.

   Savvy Dreams worked with Kaipawe about five metres out on the course proper, which provided good footing. They worked in from the 1200-metre peg and started to stretch out over the last 1000 metres.

   Savvy Dream finished in front of her companion and clocked 1:3.2, the last 600 in 34.2. It was excellent work from the Savabeel mare who looks to have trained on extra well since her last start fourth in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham. Samantha Collett will retain the mount in Saturday’s 2000-metre feature.

   Last start winner Tavijazz worked on the plough (good) and ran a solo 1000 metres in 1:7.9, the last 600 in 37.6. She may race next at either the Poverty Bay meeting on February 18 or at Wairoa the following week.

   A Super Easy-Gold two-year-old filly in the Lowry/Cullen stable was kept to just three-quarter pace, running her last 600 metres in 45.6.

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