At Te Rapa in New Zealand, Darley's deceased Gr3-winning & multiple Gr1-placed stallion Commands (Danehill-Cotehele House, by My Swanee) added a Group race success when classy 4YO New Zealand-bred filly Melody Belle (Commands-Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) timed her run to perfection when diving late to score a nose win in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating favourite Julius & Authentic Paddy. Crowned New Zealand's champion 2YO in 2016, Melody Belle was purchased for just $57,500 by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Bloodstock at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm. She improved her record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes, Gr2 BRC Sires' Produce Stakes, Gr3 Mongolian Khan Trophy & Listed Karaka Million) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 WRC Wakefield Challenge Stakes) from 13 starts for NZ$935,890 in earnings. Jamie Richards, who is training for the powerful Te Akau team on his own this season, was relieved Melody Belle had produced her best after she providing him with some concerns in the lead-up to the race, reports NZ Racing Desk. “I was just a little bit worried during the week as her work wasn’t that flash on Tuesday,” said Richards. “I didn’t want to pump her up too much but she’s a real. This will take a bit out of her as she has had a tough run first-up. We will get her home and assess things but at this stage she will be going to Hastings next.” The race Richards was referring to is the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings in a fortnight.
A more conservative approach will be adopted this preparation for talented Tavistock gelding Nymph Monte by Opaki trainer Grant Nicholson without a specifically mapped-out campaign, reports NZ Racing Desk. The winner of both the Listed Spring Classic and Listed Metropolitan Trophy in 2016 trialled impressively last week with an eye-catching second to Authentic Paddy over 1000m. Nicholson commented, "It was a nice little hit-out for him. He'll start off at Waverley on the 18th (August) in an open 1400m race and we'll just take it from there. I've got no set plans for him after that." He also noted, "He had a very interrupted season with one thing after another going wrong. They were just little niggly things, but really affected him. I just want to get his confidence back. He's a happy horse again and enjoying it so we'll be guided by him. There's no reason to push him this time." Nymph Mode comes from a top drawer staying family with his Grosvenor dam a half-sister to dual Gr1 winner Field Dancer, Gr1 Sydney Cup winner Just A Dancer and Gr3 Trentham Stakes winner Blanchard.
Meanwhile, Riccarton based trainer Lisa Latta is optimistic leading into the early season features with her trio of stakes-performers pleasing her in the build-up to their respective key targets, reports NZ Racing Desk. The win of Red Giant filly Platinum Command in Saturday's Gr3 Winter Cup was the culmination of a great week for Latta following impressive trials by Gr1 pair Authentic Paddy and Five To Midnight in Wednesday's Foxton Trials. Authentic Paddy, winner of last season's Gr1 Zabeel Classic, won a 1000m open trial, while Gr3 Waikato Cup winner Five To Midnight was a nice 4th over the same distance. Latte commented on both horses, "[Authentic Paddy] went really well. He's pretty forward and he usually trials well. He'll be ready for the Foxbridge Plate." About Five To Midnight's prospects she enthused, "That was probably the best he has gone [in a trial]. He travelled up nicely behind them. He's much stronger and I'm really happy with him. He'll go back to the Foxton trials on the 21st (August). If he trials up well again, he will run in the open 1600 on the first day at Hastings."
Evergreen Kiwi galloper Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) will make his next appearance in a set weights and penalties feature on his home track at the end of the month, reports NZ Racing Desk. "He's doing well and he'll go to the Awapuni Gold Cup. There's not a lot else for him," trainer Lisa Latta said. The 8YO claimed his maiden Gr1 success in the Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day and bounced back from three unplaced runs for a last-start third in the Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m). "He had a few wide draws and a foot problem but he's good now," Latta said.
At Ellerslie in Auckland, 4-time Gr1-winning NZ Windsor Park shuttler & former European Champion 2YO Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer-Starlight Dreams, by Black Tie Affair) celebrated a Gr1 success when 6YO gelding Saint Emilon (Mastercraftsman-Roseario, by Pentire defied all-comers to score by xxx for trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman in the $200,000 Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) from consistent 4YO mare Darscape Princess & 8YO gelding Authentic Paddy. Finally getting the big race monkey off his back after always being there and thereabouts, Saint Emilion soon found himself in front and simply played catch-me-if-you-can tactics to which his rivals had no answer. "When he's in that mood he's hard to catch," co-trainer Andrew Forsman said. "He was cruising and he really deserved that." Off a quick winning prep which saw him go from a 1200m trial to 1500m and then 2000m to land a double, Saint Emilion improved his record to 13 wins (including the Gr3 Alison Stakes) & 4 placings (including the Listed Hawkes Bay Gold Cup) from 36 starts for $387,045 earnings. He went through the ring for $76,000 yearling, consigned by Little Avondale Stud at Karaka's 2013 NZB Yearling Sales Series, but was retained by his breeder when failing to make his $80,000 reserve. "He was bred by my late wife, and she took him to the sales," widower Mike Brown said. "The bid wasn't enough and she took him home. Unfortunately she didn't get to see him race, but he's honouring her memory. We're over the moon."
At Ellerslie in New Zealand on Boxing Day, former Fairdale Stud and now Goodwood Stud stallion Howbaddouwantit (Rahy-Fair To The Wind, by Nijinsky) added a black-type success when evergreen 8YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) finally cracked his Gr1 maiden for trainer Lisa Latta in the $280,000 Gr1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m), 1.3-lengths clear of 5YO mare Lizzie l'Amour (Zabeel-Sabia) & 6YO gelding Volkstok'n'barrell (Tavistock-Volkster, by Volksraad). It was a sweet victory for connections as Authentic Paddy already had two placings in this event among his consistent bridesmaid record in Gr1 company. His 11 wins and 31 placings have now earned his connections $665,395 earnings.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group race success when 7YO Irish-bred gelding Chance To Dance (Teofilo-Crystal Ballet, by Royal Academy) claimed his second stakes victory since arriving from the northern hemisphere when scoring a narrow win in the $70,000 Gr3 OMF Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Mime & Authentic Paddy. Chance To Dance improved his record to 9 wins (including the Listed Karaka Classic & Listed Carlingford Stakes in Ireland) and 10 placings (including the Listed Moonee Valley night Cup) from 31 starts for $555,837 in earnings. Formerly owned by Nick & Lloyd Williams and bred by master Irish trainer Jim Bolger, Chance to Dance was purchased by John Galvin's Fortuna syndication company at the Inglis Chairman's Sale (Racing Prospects) for $260,000 earlier this year. Chance To Dance will now be rested with a view to contesting the Gr1 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. "His rating is too high for handicaps so we'll get him home and look at the options," trainer Jamie Richards told NZ Racing Desk. "His best trip is around 2000m and the Zabeel Classic on Boxing Day will be one race that is discussed and he might not race again before that."
At Awapuni in New Zealand, Little Avondale Stud's 2007 Champion Italian 3YO Sprinter Per Incanto (Street Cry-Pappa Reale, by Indian Ridge) added a Group success when 5YO brown gelding Dolcetto (Per Incanto-Our Shiraz, by Nediym) opened his stakes account with his sixth consecutive victory in the $70,000 Gr3 Metric Mile (1550m) for 3YO+, defeating Authentic Paddy & Rosewood. Dolcetto improved his record to 7 wins and 2 placings from 10 starts for $157,425 in earnings.
Awapuni warhorse Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) has returned to Lisa Latta's Awapuni yard to commence his quest for top-flight honours, reports NZ Racing Desk. "He's had a nice break and he's back in now and looking really good," she said. Authentic Paddy has hitherto won 10 of his 68 starts, highlighted by the Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup, and also has Group One placings in the Herbie Dyke Stakes, Zabeel Classic (twice) and the Captain Cook Stakes (twice). He has been a regular competitor at Hawke's Bay spring carnivals and will again head toward the Hastings festival.
At Te Rapa in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage, by Quest For Fame) celebrated an elite success when 5YO gelding Volkstok'n'Barrell (Tavistock-Volkster, by Volksraad) scored by a long head for trainers Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs in the NZ$400,000 Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, over 3YO colt Savile Row (Makfi-Fleece, by Daylami) & 7YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). In posting his fourth victory at the highest level, Volkstok'n'Barrell improved his record to 9 wins (including the Gr1 New Zealand Stakes, Gr1 WFA Classic, Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, Gr2 Great Northern Guineas & Gr3 Bonecrusher Stakes) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Derby) from 26 starts for NZ$1,374,0320 earnings. Volkstok'n'Barrel was purchased by his co-trainer Donna Logan for NZ$50,000 at the 2013 NZB National Yearling Sale. "It's just so nice to see him back, he's such a neat horse," Logan told NZ Racing Desk. "This was our plan all the way through, we're so excited. He's had his knockers and we've kept quiet and now he's done it." Logan will let the dust settle before confirming their next move with Volkstok'n'barrell, but another crossing of the Tasman is in the mix. "We might sneak back to Australia – there are a lot of options over there," she said.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand over the Xmas break, Westbury Stud stallion Postponed added a Gr1 triumph when 5YO mare Consensus (Postponed-Kate Cross, by Cape Cross) scored by a head for trainers Stephen McKee & Eddie Chippendale on Boxing Day in the NZ$200,000 Gr1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) from 5YO gelding Volkstok'n'barrell (Tavistok-Volkster, by Volksraad) & 7YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). Consensus took her record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 Softel Luxury Hotel Stakes, Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 New Zealand Stakes, Gr2 Rich Hill Stakes, Gr3 Alison Stakes, Listed Canterbury Stakes & Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes) from 32 starts for NZ$338,550 earnings.
At Trentham in New Zealand, talented 5YO Kiwi mare Aide Memoire's (Remind-Explain, by Success Express) value received a significant boost when scoring by 1.25 lengths for trainer Fraser Auret in the NZ$200,000 Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, over 7YO geldings Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) & Ringo (Fastnet Rock-Akris, by Zabeel). Aide Memoire improved her record to 7 wins (including the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup) and 6 placings from 16 starts for NZ$217,285 earnings. "She really kicked well in the straight," jockey Robert Hannam told NZ Racing Desk. "You can't beat a Group One – they are the pinnacle of horse racing." Trainer Fraser Auret added: "Robert and I go back a long way and he rode my first winner. This is very special, just massive." Triple Gr1 winner Volkstok'n'barrell showed he was on track for the summer features when making up good ground to finish sixth.
At Te Rapa in New Zealand, Little Avondale Stud's 2007 Champion Italian 3YO Sprinter Per Incanto (Street Cry-Pappa Reale, by Indian Ridge) added a Group success when highly regarded 3YO New Zealand-bred colt Saracino (Per Incanto-Bella Daniela, by O'Reilly) scored by 2.25-lengths for trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman in the $100,000 Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) for 3YO+, over 4YO NZ-bred mare No More Tears (Darci Brahma-Ocean of Tears, by Minardi) & 7YO NZ-bred gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). Saracino - who races in the same distinctive lime green silks as star Kiwi mare Lucia Valentina on behalf of owner Lib Petagna - improved his record to 1 win and 2 placings (including the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes & Gr3 Taranaki 2YO Classic) from 4 starts for NZ$102,500 earnings. Saracino's victory confirmed connections' plans to target the exciting 3YO at the Melbourne racing carnival in the spring. "We want to get him to Australia and a race like this has given us a good line on where he's at," said Andrew Forsman, who trains Saracino with Murray Baker. "We've always known he had the ability and it was nice to see him get to the front and keep going and not prick his ears and pull up." The $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) will be run at Caulfield racecourse on 8 October.
Top Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) has made a solid start to his spring campaign, reports NZ Racing Desk. On Tuesday, the triple Gr1 winner narrowly defeated Authentic Paddy in an open 1000 metre trial at Foxton. Kawi, a three-time Gr1 winner of the Zabeel Classic, Makfi Challenge Stakes & Thorndon Mile, is likely to resume in the Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa on 13 August. He is then expected to contest the opening two legs of the Hawke's Bay triple crown - the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes and Gr1 Windsor Park Plate – before crossing the Tasman for the spring carnival in Melbourne.
At Riccarton in New Zealand, Fairdale Stud stallion Howbaddouwantit (Rahy-Fair To The Wind, by Nijinsky) added a black-type success when 6YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) scored by a half neck for trainer Lisa Latta in the NZ$100,000 Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over fellow 6YO geldings Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) & Scapolo (Bachelor Duke-Kadesa, by Zabeel). This was a well-deserved maiden stakes victory for the consistent Authentic Paddy who took his record to 10 wins and 22 placings (including the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes) from 54 starts for NZ$367,470 earnings.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite success when 5YO gelding Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) scored by 0.2 length for trainer Allan Sharrock in the Gr1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) for 3YO+, over 4YO mare Stolen Dance (Alamosa-Songbird, by Black Minnaloushe) & 6YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). Kawi improved his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes, Gr2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes, Gr3 Taranaki Cup & Listed Anniversary Handicap) and 7 placings (including the Gr1 Easter Handicap) from 21 starts.
At Trentham in New Zealand, The Oaks Stud's 5-time Gr1-winning & 5-time Gr1-placed stallion Darci Brahma (Danehill-Grand Echezeaux, by Zabeel) celebrated an elite Gr1 success when 6YO gelding Julinsky Prince (Darci Brahma-Julinsky Princess, by Stravinsky) scored by a short head for trainer Fraser Auret in the NZ$200,000 Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, over fellow 6YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) & 6YO mare Soriano (Savabeel-Call Me Lily, by Just a Dancer). This was the second top-flight victory for Julinsky Prince who took his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, Gr2 Japan NZ International Trophy, Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup & Listed Manawatu ITM Anzac 1600) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Maori RC WFA Stakes, Listed Castletown Stakes) from 33 starts for NZ$522,690 earnings.
At Avondale in New Zealand, Arrowfield Stud's multiple Champion Australian Sire Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) added a Group success when 4YO mare Vavasour (Redoute's Choice-Valpolicella, by Red Ransom) scored by a head for trainers Peter, Dawn Williams & Paul Richards in the NZ$100,000 Gr3 Counties Cup (2100m) for 3YO+, over 5Yo gelding Farm Boy (El Hermano-Lady of Oakview, by Diamond Express) & 6Yo gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit -Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). Vavasour, who was purchased for NZ$425,000 at the 2013 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm, is a three-quarter sister to Gr2 Autumn Classic winner Vilanova from the Gr3-winning Red Ransom mare Valpolicella. Saturday's win took her record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic) and 6 placings (including the Gr2 Royal Stakes) from 14 starts for NZ$190,450 earnings.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, Longspring Stud's beautifully bred stallion Colombia(Zabeel-Eight Carat, by Pieces Of Eight) added a black-type success when consistent 6YO gelding Blathwayt (Colombia-Miss Yachtie, by Yachtie) scored by 2-lengths for trainer Alby McGregor in the NZ$50,000 Listed Fielding Gold Cup (2100m), over 7Yo gelding Thorn Prince (Thorn Park-Shinko Princess, by Shinko King) & fellow 6YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross). Earning his first stakes win, Blathwayt took his record to 7 wins & 6 placings (including runner-up in the Listed Taumarunui Gold Cup) for NZ$140,675 earnings.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, 7YO gelding Danza Lad (Woodbury Lad-Danza Daisy, by Danzatore) scored by 2-lengths for trainer Rudy Liefting in the NZ$70,000 Gr3 Metric Mile Handicap (1600m) for 3YO+, over 6YO geldings Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) & Spoke To Carlo (Halling-Red Shareef, by Marju). Danza Lad took his record to 10 wins (including the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup) and 5 placings from 39 starts for NZ$194,435 earnings.
At Pukekura in New Zealand, former The Oaks Stud stallion Keeninsky (Stravinsky-So Keen, by Jade Hunter) added a black-type success when 4YO gelding Iamishwara (Keeninsky-She's Heroic, by Clay Hero) scored by a nose for trainer Antony Kaye in the NZ$65,000 Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) for 3YO+, over fellow 4YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) & 5YO gelding The Lone Ranger (Handsome Ransom-Wairau Lass, by Victory Dance). This was the first stakes victory for Iamishwara who took his record to 9 wins and 10 placings from 41 starts for NZ$175,122 earnings.
Dual stakes winning NZ mare Innovation (Keeper-Miss Grosvenor, by Grosvenor) is the current pre-post favourite for tomorrow's $100,000 Gr3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton. The 5YO, who has performed consistently this campaign with a win in the Listed JC Challenge Stakes and placings in the Listed JC Anzac Handicap & Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup, is presently $6.50 with NZ Tab, reflecting the open nature of the race. In a field of 21, Innovation will be opposed, among others, by last year's winner Art Beat, topweight I Am Sam, stakes winners Sacha & Khemosabi, the stakes-placed Negotiate, and emerging gallopers Authentic Paddy & Perfect Start.