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."
All finalists have been confirmed for the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. The category winners, together with Horse of the Year and the NZTR award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing, will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday 26 August. The major categories are:
Click here to view full list of categories and confirmed winners.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, 5-time Gr1-winning Coolmore shuttler & former US Champion 2YO & 3YO Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike-Private Feeling, by Belong to Me) added a Group race success when 5YO New Zealand-bred mare Our Abbadean (Lookin At Lucky-Highland Lights, by Fantastic Light) opened her stakes account when posting a narrow win in the $100,000 Gr2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Five To Midnight & Sampson. Passed in when failing to meet her reserve at the 2014 NZ Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale, Our Abbadean improved her record to 6 wins and 3 placings from 22 starts for NZ$142,135 in earnings.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, European Horse of the Year and 6 time-winning shuttle stallion Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Dieses) celebrated a Gr1 triumph when 5YO mare Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) scored by 0.1-length for trainer Alan Sharrock in the $500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m) for 3YOs+, defeating 5YO gelding Five To Midnight & fellow 5YO mare Wildflower. "She was posted three wide around one bend and then two bends and I said she can't win," Sharrock revealed. "I'm rapt, but I did think she had got beaten on the line. I'm a bit shocked really – I thought she had run second. They all thought she was a wet-tracker, but her last three wins have been on firm tracks." Ladies First, an $8,000 bargain buy at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, took her record to 9 wins (including last year's Gr3 Wanganui Cup) & 3 placings from just 16 starts for $480,760 earnings. Connections are now considering having a tilt at this year's Gr1 Melbourne Cup, however first she'll head to the paddock ahead of a possible start in the Gr1 Livamol Classic.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Vinery's Gr1-winning stallion Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) was able to hold off the late challenge of the runner-up to score a narrow win in the $200,000 Gr3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Five To Midnight & Comin'through. This was the second stakes victory for Charles Road who improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Manawatu Classic) and 7 placings (including the Gr2 Rich Hill Mile & Gr2 ARC Avondale Guineas) from 15 starts for NZ$246,675 in earnings. Charles Road was a $90,000 purchase at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Wentwood Grange. He is owned by David Archer who has tasted success previously with 10-time Gr1 winner (eight domestic Gr1s) and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa.
At Ellerslie in Auckland, Cambridge Stud's deceased multiple Champion sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle, by Nureyev) added another Group race success to his bulging resumé when promising staying 5YO gelding Zacada (Zabeel-Lacada, by Giant's Causeway) simply packed too many guns with an impressive 2-lengths win for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman in the $200,000 Gr2 Avondale Cup (2400m). Getting onto the coat-tails of Sofia Rosa who made a dash around the pack into the straight, Zacada took to the outside of the track to outpoint 5YO mare Wildflower (Keeper-Zygadene, by Zabeel) & fellow 5YO gelding Five To Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock). Brought across to Australia with high hopes of running in the Gr1 Victoria Derby after a dashing debut win in 2015, Zacada was sent home after two disappointing runs, but now looks a class act with more maturity. A $135,000 yearling pass-in consigned by Cambridge Stud at the 2014 NZB National Yearling Sales Series, Zacada now how 4 wins and 11 placings (including the Gr3 Wellington Stakes & Listed 3YO Salver) from 27 starts for $193,872 earnings. Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan retain part ownership in Zacada. The win extended Baker and Forsman's lead at the head of New Zealand's National Trainer's Premiership which they sit atop with 59 wins, 21 clear of nearest rivals Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards. The race was also notable as it was the final racetrack appearance for Gr1 Australian Oaks heroine Sofia Rosa who is in foal to Savabeel.
At Te Rapa in New Zealand, former Darley and now Aquis Farm Gr2-winning stallion Domesday (Red Ransom-In the Past, by Zafonic) added a Group race success when 5YO New Zealand-bred gelding Five to Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock) registered the second stakes win of his career when scoring a narrow victory in the $100,000 Gr3 Waikato Cup (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Promise To Reign & Zambezi Warrior. Five to Midnight, who was purchased for $165,000 by his trainer Lisa Latta at the 2014 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft The Oaks Stud, improved his record to 6 wins (including the Listed Hawke's Bay Gold Cup) and 9 placings (including the Gr2 Awapuni Gold Cup & Gr3 ARC City of Auckland Cup) from 27 starts for $273,710 in earnings. From the Fastnet Rock mare Fastnet Lady, Five to Midnight descends from the female family of Champion European 3YO Habibti and her half-sister, legendary blue hen Eight Carat.
At Pukekohe in New Zealand, triple Gr1-winning former English Derby victor & Darley shuttler Authorized (Montjeu-Funsie, by Saumarez) added a Group race success when 7YO grey gelding Maygrove (Authorized-Lady Zhivago, by Zabeel) outstayed his rivals when shouldering equal top-weight of 60kg and leading throughout to score a determined win in the $100,000 Gr3 Counties Cup (2100m) for 3YO+, defeating Five To Midnight & Promise To Reign. Maygrove advanced his record to 9 wins (including the Gr2 Awapuni Gold Cup, Gr2 Wellington Cup, Listed Feilding Gold Cup & Listed Jakkalberry Classic) and 12 placings (including the Listed Marton Cup) from 48 starts for NZ$436,985 in earnings. Maygrove, who descends from the same female family as VRC Oaks and Thousand Guineas winner Tristanagh, was purchased for $110,000 by Wairarapa-based bloodstock agent Bruce Perry on behalf of Wellington businessman Lib Petagna at the 2012 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm.
Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta says Five To Midnight will have just the one lead-up run before the Gr1 Livamol Classic on the final day of the Hawke's Bay carnival (7 October), reports NZ Racing Desk. Five To Midnight will resume in the Listed Metric Mile on his home track on 16 September, and Latta is confident he will then strip at peak fitness for the Hastings feature. "He'll have another trial and a jump-out and that should all have him spot on," Latta said. The New Zealand-bred son of Aquis Farm stallion Domesday made his first trial appearance at Waverley last week when he finished midfield in a 1000m heat. "The track was pretty testing so it was hard to get a line on him, but he pulled up well," Latta said. A winner of 5 of his 22 starts, Five To Midnight finished his 4YO season on a high when landing the Listed Hawke's Bay Gold Cup (2200m) at Hastings in April.
At Hastings in New Zealand, former Darley and now Aquis Farm Gr2-winning stallion Domesday (Red Ransom-In the Past, by Zafonic) added a black-type success when 4YO gelding Five to Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock) broke through for his maiden stakes victory in the $75,000 Listed Hawke's Bay Gold Cup (2200m) for 3YO+, defeating Maygrove and Balham. Five to Midnight, who was purchased for $165,000 by his trainer Lisa Latta at the 2014 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft The Oaks Stud, improved his record to 5 wins and 8 placings (including the Gr2 Awapuni Gold Cup & Gr3 ARC City of Auckland Cup) from 22 starts for $187,960 earnings. From the Fastnet Rock mare Fastnet Lady, Five to Midnight descends from the female family of Champion European 3YO Habibti and her half-sister, legendary blue hen Eight Carat.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, Darley's former dual Gr1-winning shuttler Dubai Destination (Kingmambo-Mysterial, by Alleged) added a Group success when 7YO gelding Sampson (Dubai Destination-Magic Star, by Danzero) scored by 0.5 length for trainer Howie Mathews in the $100,000 Gr2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding Five to Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock) & 5YO gelding Woodsman (Mastercraftsman-Silkwood, by Grosvenor). Sampson, who was $20,000 purchase at the 2011 NZB Festival Yearling Sale, improved his record to 9 wins (including the Gr3 Trentham Stakes) and 8 placings from 37 starts for NZ$266,025 earnings.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) added a black-type success when 8YO gelding Pump Up The Volume (Savabeel-Nat the Brat, by Racing is Fun) scored by a short neck for trainer Ralph Manning in the NZ$50,000 Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) for 3YO+, over 5YO geldings Alinko Prince (Alamosa-Shinko Princess, by Shinko King) & Five To Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock). Pump Up The Volume, who was a NZ$10,000 purchase by Manning at the 2010 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Raequin Park, improved his record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 Rotorua Cup) and 18 placings from 50 starts for $236,410 earnings.
At Awapuni in New Zealand, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 3YO gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainers Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard in the NZ$70,000 Gr3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO gelding Five To Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock) & 3YO filly Zbeauty (Castledale-Zdenka, by Western Symphony). Retained to race by his breeder Jomara Bloodstock Ltd, Humidor took his record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 5 starts for NZ$56,900 earnings.