The 2018 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards were held at a gala dinner in Auckland on Sunday night, reports NZ Racing Desk. The major category winners were:
If expectations meet performance in Saturday's hotly contested Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa, Swiss Ace gelding Julius is set to be right in the finish, reports NZ Racing Desk. Jockey Jason Waddell is highly optimistic of his horse's chances, "He's my horse to hopefully replace Kawi. He's the best I've ridden who hasn't won a Group One. He hasn't run in one yet, but he will and he'll be a Group One winner." Waddell, who teamed with 7-time Gr1 winner Kawi over the latter segment of his illustrious career in taking out the Gr1 Haunui Classic, Gr1 WFA Classic and Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes is now forming a fine partnership with the highly consistent Julius. Like many gallopers intending to take the route from the Gr2 Foxbridge to the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy, Julius will need to excel in the Foxbridge to void the ballot which currently has him 21st in order of entry for the Tarzino (16 horse field). Trainer John Bell acknowledged, "He's a happy horse and he's improved from his first-up run." He added, "[Jason will] be making the call on how to ride him on Saturday. He knows what's best for the horse and what he can do."
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.
Waikato Stud's champion sire Savabeel has set a new benchmark for stallion excellence during the 2017-18 season, reports NZ Racing Desk. At next month's New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards, Waikato Stud's Mark Chittick will accept the Grosvenor Award, Dewar Stallion Trophy and Centaine Award, a Savabeel clean sweep of all three New Zealand stallion awards for an unprecedented third straight season. The son of deceased multiple champion sire Zabeel sired 6 Group 1 winners during the 2017-18 season, namely Kawi (Captain Cook Stakes), Shillelagh (Cantala Stakes), Embellish (NZ 2,000 Guineas), Hasahalo (1000 Guineas), Sword Of Osman (Sistema Stakes) and Savvy Coup (New Zealand Oaks), boosting his career tally of top-flight winners to 17. "It's been another cracking season. His success, earned in so many countries, at the highest level was huge," Chittick said. "The obvious highlight, which he gave us the opportunity to do, was breeding the 1000 and 2000 Guineas double and we got a lot of satisfaction from Savvy Coup winning the New Zealand Oaks. They were all out of young mares too." Chittick added: "That's the fortunate position we are in with Savabeel. He is always giving mares a great opportunity and continually upgrading families." Chittick marvelled at Savabeel's strike rate. "The unwritten rule is anything above five per cent of stakes winners to runners and you have a successful stallion. I think he's one of only three in Australasia at 10 per cent or higher, which is freakish really." Chittick said the rising 17YO would have his book of mares restricted in the future. "We've restricted his book to outsiders. Syndicate members' mares make up 100 of his book so we've only taken about 20 or 30 outside mares this season and that's a decision we've made to look after him as he gets older and add longevity to his stud career," Chittick said.
Trainer Allan Sharrock announced on Saturday that star galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) has been retired, reports NZ Racing Desk. "We've had a ride and a-half with him and while it's a shame, I'm also relieved," Sharrock said. "I know he's not quite right and he's had issues with his joints and his fetlocks are showing a bit of wear and tear. I'd hate to see anything happen to him so that's it. I'm not taking any risks, he's been such a great servant. He's the best I've had." He added: "He's been massive and people don't realise how hard it is to win seven Group Ones." Kawi retires with 15 wins and 12 placings from 39 starts for NZ$1,260,185 in earnings. Kawi, who along with champion Kiwi mare Seachange has seven Group 1 wins on his CV, sits second on the all-time list behind former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa who holds the record of eight New Zealand Group 1 wins.
Star stable-mates Kawi and Ladies First are making good progress ahead of their respective Spring campaigns, reports NZ Racing Desk. "Kawi's on the water walker at Robyn and Russell Rogers' place and he's coming along nicely," said trainer Allan Sharrock. "Ladies First has been on the walker for 10 days and she'll do 10 more before she goes to Jaimee-Lee Lupton's place and five weeks later she'll be back with me." Kawi was sidelined by a fetlock issue in the summer, while Ladies First was spelled after her courageous win in the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m). She is being prepared for a Melbourne Cup campaign later this year.
Dual Gr2 winner Ocean Emperor continues to make good progress ahead of his upcoming international campaign, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Gary Hennessy-trained galloper remains on track for the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) in Singapore on 26 May. "It's no mean feat that we got accepted but he has beaten the best milers in this country – Kawi, Thee Auld Floozie and Miss Wilson and other Group Two winners like Coldplay," Hennessy said. Ocean Emperor (Zabeel-Tootsie, by Pins) furthered his Singapore preparation when given an easy time finishing fourth in a 1000m trial at Te Teko on Tuesday. "It was a pleasing day out and Shaun [McKay] was very happy with him. Everything is on target and he's in pretty solid condition," Hennessy said.
Group One winner Close Up is quietly building towards another round of feature assignments, reports NZ Racing Desk. The son of Shinko King provided trainer Shelley Hale with the highlight of her career when winning the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings last September. He was then narrowly beaten into second when splitting Gingernuts and Kawi in the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m). The 8YO pulled up sore after his seventh placed effort in the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2040m) in October, but has since thrilled Hale with the way he has come back from a spell. "He's feeling awesome," the Cambridge trainer said. "He's coming up nicely with a bit of variety in his work. He's on the water-treadmill every other day and I'm really happy with him. He won't be up as early as he was last year, but he'll be ready for the Foxbridge Plate and the Tarzino again." Hale added: "Now that he's shown he is up to weight-for-age he doesn't need to go round in the handicaps like he did last year. He'll probably run in the Opunake Cup before the Foxbridge Plate."
Allan Sharrock believes seven-time Group 1 winner Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is in the best form of his career leading into tomorrow's Gr1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Plymouth trainer is brimming with confidence ahead of the weight-for-age feature after Kawi's brilliant finish for second in the Gr1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham last month. Kawi reeled off a final 600m sectional of 32.33 seconds in the Telegraph, approximately 4.5 lengths faster than the winner Enzo's Lad. "I'm really pleased with him. He's terrific. He's sailed through his last run and his work has been up to his best standard," Sharrock said. "All those behind him have to come up to his weight on Saturday under weight-for-age. At Trentham, he was giving them all weight. His form is better than anything else. I'm pretty confident going into it." Kawi, who along with champion Kiwi mare Seachange has seven Group 1 wins on his CV, needs just one more to equal the feat of former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa who holds the record of eight domestic Group 1 wins. "These Group Ones are never easy to win and next season could be his last season, so we'd love for him to level up," Sharrock said.
At Trentham in New Zealand, Vinery Stud's 6-time Gr1-winning stallion Testa Rossa (Perugino-Bo Dapper, by Sir Dapper) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Enzo's Lad (Testa Rossa-Sheerama, by Catbird) landed the biggest prize of his career when causing a huge upset at odds of 73-1 in one of New Zealand's premier sprints, the $250,000 Gr1 Telegraph (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Kawi & Ferrando. A $15,000 purchase at the 2014 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale, Enzo's Lad improved his record to 5 wins (including the Listed Pegasus Stakes Handicap) and 7 placings from 20 starts for NZ$231,200 in earnings. Co-trainer Matthew Pitman was ecstatic with the win. "There's just no better feeling than this," he told NZ Racing Desk. "He's got a great bunch of owners, all from Wellington, and it was their choice as much as ours to bring him up. This means the world to me."
Richly talented Kiwi mare Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge-Bardego, by Barathea) will be in elite company if she can win Saturday's Gr1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham, reports NZ Racing Desk. A winner of the Gr1 Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day, Volpe Veloce will become just the fourth horse in the past 40 years to complete the Railway Stakes & Telegraph double in the same season if she can land Saturday's $250,000 sprint feature. It has not been done since Bawalaksana won both races in 1999, with Loader (1996) and Mr Tiz (1989/90) the only others to claim the double. The Graham Richardson & Gavin Parker-trained 4YO will carry an extra 2kg as a result of her Railway win but opened as a $4 favourite for the Telegraph in final field betting, with Kawi second favourite at $6.20.
In New Zealand, Monday's Gr2 Rich Hill Mile win by Waikato Stud's cleverly-named Coldplay (Savabeel-Forty Two Below) at Ellerslie was the icing on the cake on what has been a couple of extraordinary months for their incumbent New Zealand Champion Sire Savabeel. By early September last year he was already comfortably leading both the Dewar Stallion Trophy (combined Australian & New Zealand progeny earnings) and the Centaine Award (NZ-conceived progeny earnings worldwide). Subsequent to that point his hand-canter has turned into a full-blown gallop as he marches on to a fourth consecutive NZ Champion Sire title while starring on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Since then, which should have the vendors of his 75 NZB National Yearling Sales Series entries full of aniticipation, his progeny wins have included:
Allan Sharrock is lamenting a missed opportunity with his multiple Group 1 winner Kawi, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Plymouth trainer has been forced to withdraw his star galloper from tomorrow's Gr2 weight-for-age Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni, a race he was ultra-confident of winning. "It wasn't originally on his programme, but I thought it was an easy $100,000 race," Sharrock said. "The scary thing was that he had been galloping better this week than he was before the Captain Cook – they'd have needed a tow rope to beat him. Unfortunately, he's got a stone bruise and I'm not prepared to risk him." Sharrock added: "Maybe it's the Good Lord saying freshen him up for the Telegraph. It's seven weeks to the Thorndon and that's too big a gap...Perhaps it's a sign, go for the Telegraph and put the hood on him." The Gr1 Telegraph (1200m) will be run on 20 January at Trentham where Kawi won the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) earlier this month. Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad), who along with champion Kiwi mare Seachange has seven Group 1 wins on his CV, needs just one more to equal the feat of former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa who holds the record of eight domestic Group 1 wins.
Waikato Stud has decided not to shuttle exciting young stallion Tivaci (High Chaparral-Breccia, by Fastnet Rock) to Europe for the 2018 breeding season. The Group 1-winner was very well received by Australasian breeders with a top quality 2017 book of more than 140 mares. "After such a successful season that has just gone so quickly, we have decided not to take up the offer of a Northern Hemisphere season at the English National Stud," Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said. "This decision was not taken lightly. As you know, this option was not in our original planning, but developed after the initial approach from the English National Stud." Chittick added: "However, he would have been one of four first season sires within their operation so we felt his opportunities may become limited and we were not prepared to risk Tivaci on this venture." Tivaci’s book included Group 1 winner's Daffodil, Costume and I Do. He also covered the dams of Group 1 winners Ambitious Dragon (dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year), Kawi, Shamexpress, Brambles, Thee Auld Floozie and Consensus.
Top-class Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is likely to be aimed at either the Gr1 Thorndon Mile or Gr1 Telegraph in the New Year, reports NZ Racing Desk. Kawi's win in last Saturday's Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham saw him post the seventh top-flight success of his career, equalling the number of Group 1 titles of champion mare Seachange. The 7YO needs just one more to equal the feat of former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa who holds the record of eight domestic Group 1 wins. "He's won seven Group Ones now and he ain't finished yet," trainer Allan Sharrock said. "He won't be going to Ellerslie though for the Zabeel Classic, if I'm going to run him over 2000m again it will be toward the end of his season." Sharrock added: "They are the options and we can put the blinkers on if it's the Telegraph, if we decide not to it will be the Thorndon."
At Trentham in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite race success when 7YO New Zealand-bred gelding Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) scored a gallant win in the $200,000 Gr1 weight-for-age Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Consensus & Sofia Rosa. Kawi advanced his record to 15 wins (including the Gr1 WFA Classic, Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes - twice, Gr1 Thorndon Mile, Gr1 Zabeel Classic, Gr3 Taranaki Cup & Listed Anniversary Handicap) and 11 placings (including the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, Gr1 Easter Handicap & Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes) from 37 starts for NZ$1,217,149 in earnings. "He's a very good horse – he sat four wide and that's not how we saw it, but he was tough enough," trainer Allan Sharrock told NZ Racing Desk. "He was travelling on the corner, it was a terrific effort." The Captain Cook was Kawi's seventh Group 1 victory and saw him draw level with champion mare Seachange. Kawi needs just one more top-flight success to equal the feat of former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa who holds the record of eight domestic Group 1 wins.
At Tauranga in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's deceased multiple champion sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle, by Nureyev) added a Group race success when talented 6YO New Zealand-bred entire Ocean Emperor (Zabeel-Tootsie, by Pins) finally opened his stakes account against a quality field in the $100,000 Gr2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Miss Wilson & Kawi. The lightly raced but injury prone Ocean Emperor improved his record to 6 wins and 5 placings from 16 starts for NZ$119,625 in earnings. Trainer Gary Hennessy, who purchased Ocean Emperor for NZ$450,000 from Waikato Stud at the 2014 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, owns him with Hong Kong partners Andrew Wong and Steve Yang, the same trio that raced Cox Plate winner and Waikato Stud sire Ocean Park. He is out of Gr3 Mannerism Stakes winner Tootsie and hails from the family of stakes winners La Rose Noir, Urbane, and Espurante. Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said: "Gary Hennessy has done an unbelievable job with this horse. He's been so patient and he's always rated him so highly." He added: "Good on him, off the back of Ocean Park they bought this horse for $450,000 from us. They deserve it, he's won a really nice race and it's still early days, the horse hasn't had much racing."
Breeze Up videos for New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2017 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs are now available to view online. 393 youngsters breezed over 200m into gustily winds down the home straight at Te Rapa racecourse earlier this week. The overall quality of horses that breezed up emulates a strong catalogue on type set to be offered at Karaka on 22 & 23 November. Graduates of the sale have won 19 Group 1 races and 110 stakes race in the last five seasons alone. This year’s catalogue has attracted 437 two-year-olds with a cross-section of the very best sires throughout Australasia represented and 14 exciting freshman sires. Highlights include:
At Hastings in New Zealand, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite race success when New Zealand-bred 4YO chestnut gelding Gingernuts (Iffraaj-Double Elle, by Generous) powered home from the rear of the field to win the $200,000 Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Close Up & Kawi. In claiming his third Group One success, the Te Akau Racing-owned Gingernuts improved his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 New Zealand Derby, Gr1 Rosehill Guineas & Gr2 Avondale Guineas) and 1 placing from 11 starts for NZ$1,152,909 in earnings. After initially being sold as a weanling for NZ$5,000 at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Sale, Te Akau purchased Gingernuts for NZ$42,500 as a 2YO at the 2015 NZB Horses In Training Sale. Gingernuts is now favourite for the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2000m) in a fortnight but he is far from a certain runner in the race. He also holds entries in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. The $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) will be run at Caulfield on 21 October. "We won't be making any decisions today and we'll sit down tomorrow and have a chat," co-trainer Jamie Richards told NZ Racing Desk. "The horse still isn't 100 per cent in the coat just yet. He's a staying type of horse and to win over a mile at weight-for-age as a four-year-old is a great effort."
Dual Group One winner Gingernuts (Iffraaj-Double Elle, by Generous) is expected to appreciate the step up to a mile in Saturday's Gr1 Windsor Park Plate at Hastings, reports theinformant.co.nz. Last season's New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas overcame difficulties in running when resuming with a strong finishing fifth in the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on 2 September. Co-trainer Jamie Richards says he expects a bold showing from the 4YO who is the equal $4.50 favourite alongside Kawi for the second leg of the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown series. "You could say he was a little bit stiff [first-up]," Richards said. "He got into some trouble at the top of the straight and was knocked off balance…his final furlong was very strong." Richards added: "He's come through the race very well and we're happy with his progress…stepping up to 1600 metres on Saturday will be ideal for him." Gingernuts' primary spring target is the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in Melbourne on 21 October for which he has been allocated 55kg.
The catalogue for New Zealand Bloodstock's Ready to Run Sale of Two-Year-Olds is now available online. Graduates of the Sale have claimed 110 stakes wins including 19 Group 1 races in the past five seasons alone, cementing its position as a prolific producer of successful racehorses. Headlined by the recent Group 1-winning performances of Gingernuts (Iffraaj) and Hall of Fame (Savabeel), graduates of the Sale have won races such as the Rosehill Guineas, New Zealand Derby, Levin Classic, Futurity Stakes, Emirates Stakes, New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas, Caulfield Cup, Australian Derby & Victoria Derby. Catalogue highlights include:
Every horse entered in the Ready to Run Sale has the opportunity to Breeze Up with the last 200m of their work filmed and timed. Breeze-Ups are set to be conducted at Te Rapa Racecourse on 16 & 17 October, and the footage will be available online from 20 October. New Zealand Bloodstock's Ready to Run Sale will be held on 22 & 23 November with selling commencing at 11am each day. Click here to view the catalogue.
Top-class New Zealand mare Bonneval has dominated the 2017 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards in Auckland overnight, reports NZ Racing Desk. Bonneval’s connections spent much of the night on stage as the dual Oaks winner was voted Horse of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year and Stayer of the Year. Her owners were also presented with the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year trophy. In addition, Bonneval’s trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, gained all bar one of the 57 votes cast for Trainer of the Year and Bonneval’s dam, Imposingly, was named Broodmare of the Year. Bonneval is the first three-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year since Sunline in 1999. She is also the fourth successive Horse of the Year winner to be trained by Baker and Forsman, following Dundeel (2014) and Mongolian Khan (2015 & 2016). Voting for Horse of the Year turned into a three-way battle, with Bonneval receiving 27 votes to comfortably defeat Gingernuts by 12 votes. Kawi, the Middle Distance Horse of the Year, gained 10 votes with three for another three-year-old in Jon Snow. Click here to view all the category winners.
Caulfield Cup prospect Gingernuts will open his spring campaign in Saturday's Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings. However, co-trainer Jamie Richards says connections aren't expecting any first-up fireworks from the dual Group One winner, who after Saturday will return to Hastings for the second leg of the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown – the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on 23 September. A decision will then be made whether or not to cross for the Tasman for the $3.1 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in Melbourne on 21 October. "The 1400 metres will be too short for him on Saturday," said Richards, who trains the 4YO in partnership with Stephen Autridge. "He'll get back and be running on at the finish, but it's not his race against the likes of Kawi, Perfect Fit and Volpe Veloce." He added: "He will go back to run in the mile and then, all going well, he could go to Melbourne but that will be decided after the Windsor Park." A winner of the New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas in the autumn, Gingernuts (Iffraaj-Double Elle, by Generous) has hitherto won 5 of his 9 starts for over $1 million in earnings.
New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock says Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is in top shape as he bids to make it three consecutive victories in Saturday's Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings. Kawi, who resumed with an encouraging third in the Gr2 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa on 19 August, has won the past two editions of the feature when it was known as the Makfi Challenge Stakes. "He had a gallop on Saturday morning and he went over 1000 metres this morning [Tuesday] and he worked well," Sharrock told NZ Racing Desk. "We had a lot of rain and the track was quite testing. I would have loved a firmer surface for him, but he's got the class and he's done the work." He added: "I think he is ahead of where he was this time last year. I'm happy where we're at."
At Te Rapa in New Zealand, 6YO mare Underthemoonlight (El Herman-Midnight Dip, by O'Reilly) clocked up her third career stakes victory when winning with almost a length to spare in driving rain from Close Up and Kawi in the $100,000 Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) for fillies and mares. Underthemoonlight's victory took her record to 5 wins (including last start's Listed Tauranga Classic & Gr3 Taranaki Breeders Stakes) and 11 placings (including the Gr3 Rotorua Stakes) from 22 starts for NZ$250,050 in earnings. Trained by Karyn McQuade for owners that include her husband and breeder Hamish, Underthemoonlight looks a genuine Gr1 prospect in the Spring, with NZTM reporting that prior to Saturday the owner-breeder snapped up $26 on offer about Underthemoonlight's prospects in the forthcoming Gr1 Tarzino Stakes.
At Pukekura in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage, by Quest For Fame) added a black-type success when 5YO bay gelding Longchamp (Tavistock-Shot at the Title, by Danehill) successfully defended his title in the 65,000 Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Nashville & New York Minute. A NZ$40,000 yearling at the 2013 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Cambridge Stud, Longchamp improved his record to 7 wins (including the 2016 Listed Opunake Cup) and 4 placings (including the Gr2 Hawkes Bay Guineas) from 22 starts for NZ$201,745 in earnings. Longchamp will now progress to the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (formerly the Makfi Challenge Stakes) at Hastings on 2 September, the race in which he finished 4th to Kawi last year. "He's just so brave and although he's had a hard run all the way he's done the job. He's got a heart the size of a lion," trainer Andrew Campbell told NZ Racing Desk. "He's had a lot of issues on the way through so we're just so proud of him and I'm thrilled for all the people who have helped us along the way." He added: "It's just an amazing result and we can carry on towards the Group One now."
Longchamp will be chasing successive Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) titles at New Plymouth tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Andrew Campbell is happy with how the five-year-old has performed during this campaign, placing in both of his starts. He ran a creditable third at Trentham behind Opunake Cup rival New York Minute, before heading to Awapuni on July 8 where he was pipped at the line by the promising Dolcetto. "In the first race (at Trentham) he needed a run because he hadn't had a trial at all and he just came to the end of it when he hit the bog up the straight. I was happy with that run, he had a good blow," Campbell said. "His last start was a good run I thought, he carried a lot more weight than Dolcetto, who is an up and coming horse." He added: "I'm over the moon with him, he's come through it great and he'll be going in there really happy. His work on Tuesday was super." Campbell has set Longchamp an ambitious programme for the spring, with the Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa and the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy on the agenda. "We'll see how he comes through the race and he may go to Te Rapa for the Foxbridge, we'll just play it by ear with that," he said. "He'll head to Hastings for the first race (Tarzino Trophy), which has always been his main aim." Longchamp finished 5th in last year's Foxbridge Plate (behind Saracino), and 4th (behind Kawi) in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (now the Tarzino Trophy).
Frank and Faye Drummond are banking on a change of environment to get their Group One performer El Pescado back to his best, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Waikato breeder-owners, who stand his sire El Hermano at their Cheval Stud, have moved last year's Makfi Challenge Stakes runner-up from Stuart Manning's Tauranga stable to Opaki trainer Polly Macdonald. "The horse has gone off and he's just not racing to what we know he is capable of," Frank Drummond said. "We've gone for a change of scenery and we'll see what that does." Manning prepared El Pescado to win three races, including two open handicaps, and a second place finish to Kawi in the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes. He was also placed in the Gr2 Tauranga Stakes and in the Listed Flying Handicap.
Multiple Group One winner Kawi will be seeking to emulate the deeds of former top-class galloper Mufhasa in the spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Allan Sharrock-trained Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) currently has six Group One victories to his name, just two short of the two-time NZ Horse of the Year. "Mufhasa won eight Group One races here and Seachange won seven," Sharrock said. "I know Mufhasa won another two in Australia, but to emulate his record here is something I would love to do." Kawi, who is currently tied on six of the best with Mr Tiz and Sir Slick, will have early opportunities to move on to even terms with Mufhasa at the Hawke's Bay carnival. "He'll probably go to Te Rapa to the Foxbridge Plate and he'll be nominated for the first two at Hastings, the Tarzino Trophy [Gr1] and then the Windsor Park Plate [Gr1]," Sharrock said. "We'll look at the Captain Cook after that and the plan would then be to freshen him for the Telegraph." He added: "In saying that, if he came up better than expected we haven't ruled out a spring run in Melbourne." Kawi stretched his legs on Tuesday at the Waverley trials where he won his 1000 metre heat. "He looks enormous and I'm ahead of the eight ball going on to Hawke's Bay," Sharrock said.
The strength of New Zealand's 3YO crop is emphasised by the release of the finalists for the 2016-17 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for the Jumper of the Year to be finalised later in the month. The five finalists for Three-Year-Old of the Year have all been classic winners this season and Bonneval and Gingernuts were Group One winners on both sides of the Tasman. Jon Snow was a dual Group One placegetter in New Zealand and a Group One and Group Two winner in Australia, while La Diosa was a Group One winner in New Zealand and a Group Two winner in Australia. All finalists are also eligible for the Horse of the Year award, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at the Langham Hotel, on Sunday, 10th September.
Wanganui trainer Evan Rayner says star sprinter Start Wondering is poised to make an impact during the winter carnival in Queensland, reports NZ Racing Desk. "Start Wondering is doing everything right and he had a good gallop this morning and wouldn't have blown a match out afterwards," said Rayner, who trains with his daughter JJ. "He'll run in the Doomben 10,000 on May 13 and there's the Darley Kingsford Smith Cup a fortnight later." Rayner added: "We'll then have to work out what we do and if he goes on to the Stradbroke [Gr1], it will depend on what weight he gets in that." Start Wondering (Eighth Wonder-Roseanbar, by Al Akbar) was last seen finishing second to Kawi in the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki which rounded out a stellar summer & autumn campaign for the 6YO who claimed Gr1 victories in the Railway Stakes and NRM Sprint, as well as the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint. He was also a close second in the Gr1 Telegraph Handicap.
Star Wanganui sprinter Start Wondering is set to embark upon a Queensland winter carnival campaign after connections decided against a start in the Gr1 Chairman's Sprint Prize at Sha Tin on 7 May, reports NZ Racing Desk. "He definitely won't be going to Hong Kong. Getting there was fine but getting him home wasn't so great," said J.J. Rayner, who trains Start Wondering with her father Evan. "He would be away for a month and a half and he could be there on his own in quarantine if no Australian horses go. We decided that it wasn't in the horse's best interests so at this stage we will be looking at Brisbane." Rayner added: "The BTC Cup and the Doomben 10,000 are very good options and we could also be looking at the Stradbroke." Start Wondering (Eighth Wonder-Roseanbar, by Al Akbar) was last seen finishing second to Kawi in the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki which rounded out a stellar summer & autumn campaign for the 6YO who claimed Gr1 victories in the Railway Stakes and NRM Sprint, as well as the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint. He was also a close second in the Gr1 Telegraph Handicap.
Esteemed New Zealand nursery Waikato Stud has announced that its stallion fees for the 2017 breeding season will remain unchanged. "While we are yet to set a fee for our exciting new sire Tivaci who is still in Australia racing, the rest of our roster Savabeel, Ocean Park, Sacred Falls, Pins, Rock 'n' Pop and Rios will be staying the same," studmaster Mark Chittick said. With 15 stakes winners this season and another conceivable clean sweep of the sire awards, Cox Plate winner Savabeel (Zabeel) heads the roster at a service fee of $100,000 plus GST. "He's had another ultra-exciting season with G1 winners Kawi and Hall of Fame heading a tally of 15 individual stakes winners. To have had 15 stakes winners at this stage in the piece is massive, especially when you consider their versatility," said Chittick. All told, the multiple champion sire has sired 60 stakes winners, with an exact 50-50 split between the two sexes and a market leading 9.7% stakes winners-to-runners ratio. The complete Waikato roster is:
Savabeel - $100,000 + GST
Ocean Park - $30,000 + GST
Sacred Falls - $30,000 + GST
Pins - $25,000 + GST
Rock 'n' Pop - $9,000 + GST
Top Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) will be restricted to shorter distances for the remainder of his career, reports NZ Racing Desk. Following the 6YOs last-start fifth in the Gr1 New Zealand Strakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, trainer Allan Sharrock has all but dismissed the chances of Savabeel's best son making another appearance over a similar journey. "I doubt he'll ever run over 2000 metres again," Sharrock said. "The ride the other day was good, but he did have that wind operation last year and when the gap came at the 300 he had run out of oxygen." He added: "He's an explosive sprinter-miler so we'll be keeping him to 1200, 1400 and 1600 metre races." Sharrock confirmed the 6-time Gr1 winner was currently enjoying some paddock time before he resumes in the spring. "He's out for six weeks and he'll be back later on and kick off at the Hawke's Bay carnival or in Melbourne," Sharrock said.
Group One performed mare Mime will bypass this Saturday's Gr2 Windsor Park Stud Japan-NZ Trophy at Tauranga and target the Gr1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes at Te Aroha two weeks later, reports theinformant.co.nz. The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained 4YO resumed with a narrow second to in-form mare The Auld Floozie in the Gr2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie last Thursday. "We just decided to keep her for the Group One at Te Aroha," Forsman said. "It's a bit of a back-up after Ellerslie last week, and stepping up to a mile second-up before going to Te Aroha might have taken a bit out of her." He added: "We decided it would be better to keep her a bit on the fresh side and go straight to Te Aroha." Mime (Mastercraftsman-Maidjeu, by Montjeu), a winner of the Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies' Classic & Gr3 Sunline Vase as a 3YO, and runner-up to Kawi in last season's Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, became the first New Zealand representative for the China Horse Club when purchased by the emerging global racing and breeding powerhouse last year.
Taranaki trainer Allan Sharrock will be relying on Kawi's (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) class to overcome a potentially testing track on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 6YO will be shooting for his seventh Group one victory in the Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie. "A heavy track would put me in a bit of a quandary," Sharrock said. "But what else is there for him?" He added: "It's still basically a summer track and it won't be as testing as a heavy track at Ellerslie in June and the race won't hurt him. His class gets him a long way and that Savabeel toughness will also help." Kawi showed he was looking for the mile-and-a-quarter of the New Zealand Stakes when finishing strongly to win the Gr1 WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki last start. "I couldn't be happier with him," Sharrock said. "I thought he was pretty dominant over the last four strides at Otaki and he has trained on exceptionally well. I think he has improved again."
Meanwhile, this week's inclement weather has buoyed the confidence of Stephen Marsh leading into tomorrow's Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, reports NZ Racing Desk. Marsh will saddle up last year's Australian Oaks winner Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) who will be having her third start this campaign following two encouraging performances. She made late ground for seventh in the Gr1 NRM Sprint, and also found the line strongly for third in the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic. "Kawi will obviously be very hard to beat, but a wet track will really suit Sofia Rosa and give her every chance to show her best," Marsh said. "She will have to go close to winning if we are going to go to Sydney. Otherwise we'll be looking at Brisbane." Marsh added: "She's very well and I can't fault her condition. Getting up to 2000 metres is ideal for her."
At Otaki in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite success when 6YO gelding Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) scored by 0.75 length for trainer Allan Sharrock in the NZ$200,000 Gr1 WFA Classic (1600m) for 3YO+, over fellow 6YO gelding Start Wondering (Eighth Wonder-Roseanbar, by Al Akbar) & 4YO mare Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago). The WFA Classic was Kawi's sixth victory at Gr1 level which saw him break through the million dollar barrier to advance his record to 14 wins (including the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes - twice, Gr1 Thorndon Mile, Gr1 Zabeel Classic, Gr3 Taranaki Cup & Listed Anniversary Handicap) and 8 placings (including the Gr1 Easter Handicap & Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes) from 31 starts for NZ$1,059,605 earnings. Trainer Allan Sharrock said the Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) in two weeks time was the logical next target for New Zealand's weight-for age star. "To me he was very strong late and looking like he wants 2000 metres now," Sharrock told NZ Racing Desk. "He's class and they played the waiting game and when they got out into the open he was dominant in the last few strides," he said.
Multiple Gr1 winner Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) hasn't missed a beat since a slow start brought about his downfall when resuming in the Gr1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on 11 February, reports NZ Racing Desk. However, trainer Allan Sharrock says the 6YOs track work since has been first class and he is expecting a bold showing in tomorrow's Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki. "We are very happy with him," Sharrock said. "His work on Tuesday morning was probably the best I've seen from him this prep and he looks to have improved physically." Kawi will be chasing his sixth victory at Gr1 level following previous top flight wins in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (twice), Zabeel Classic, Thorndon Mile, and Windsor Park Plate.
Trainer Stephen Marsh says he is expecting a bold showing from smart mare Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) in Saturday's Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Otaki, reports theinformant.co.nz. Last year's Australian Oaks winner gave Marsh cause for optimism when she resumed from a four-month break with an encouraging performance in the Gr1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa eleven days ago. Despite beginning slowly and drifting back to the tail of the field, the 4YO ran home strongly in the straight to finish seventh (beaten 3.4 lengths) behind star sprinter Start Wondering. "I thought her last 100 metres in particular was very good," Marsh said. "She was going nowhere for most of the race, but then she really got going late. It showed us that we definitely have something to work with." Marsh added: "She's been doing really well since then...I just have to hope it didn't bottom her out for her second-up run. That's my only concern." Marsh nominated multiple Gr1 winner Kawi as the horse to beat. "I can't fault her, her work's been good. I'd be expecting a tidy run. Kawi might be hard to beat, but we'll give it our best shot," he said. Marsh has previously said Sofia Rosa's primary autumn target is the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on 8 April.
Group One performer Mime is being aimed at the Gr1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha in April, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained daughter of Mastercraftsman hasn't raced since she was unplaced in the Gr3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie in November. The 4YO indicated she was progressing well in her new campaign when second to stable-mate Francaletta in a 1200m trial at Cambridge on Tuesday. "We'll head her towards Te Aroha. We haven't yet decided which race she'll kick off in, but we've got options for her leading in," said Michael Wallace, racing manager for owner the China Horse Club. "She trialled well earlier this week and we're happy with her." Mime (Mastercraftsman-Maidjeu, by Montjeu), a winner of the Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies' Classic & Gr3 Sunline Vase as a 3YO, and runner-up to Kawi in last season's Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, became the first New Zealand representative for the China Horse Club when purchased by the emerging global racing and breeding powerhouse last year.
Michael Walker has been booked to continue his association with top Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) in Saturday’s Gr1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa, reports NZ Racing Desk. “It was a hard one and it was discussed by the syndicate – Leith (Innes) has got a good record on the horse, but Michael had the knack of settling him in his races,” trainer Allan Sharrock said. Walker rode Kawi during the Savabeel gelding’s three-start campaign last year in Perth, after which Kawi was given a break. Sharrock says he is happy with the 6YOs recent progress. “He’s had two jump-outs and a trial,” Sharrock said. “He’s still quite big, but he’ll be hard to beat.” Kawi also has the outstanding record at 1400 metres of seven wins, including two editions of the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes and the Gr2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes, and three placings from 11 appearances. “He’ll run at Te Rapa and then in the weight-for-age mile at Otaki [the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic] and then we come to the fork in the road – there’s the New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie or we could be looking at Sydney or Brisbane." He added: "We’ll wait and see what his form is like at the time, he’ll tell us.”
Top Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) enjoyed a winning outing at the Foxton trials ahead of his return to domestic top-flight competition, reports NZ Racing Desk. In his first appearance since his three-start campaign in Perth, the 6YO gelding coasted home in his 1000 metre heat in the hands of Jonathan Riddell. Trainer Allan Sharrock said Kawi will resume in the Gr1 NRM Sprint at Te Rapa on 11 February before returning a fortnight later for the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Otaki. A decision on a trip to Ellerslie for the Gr1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes on 11 March and the possibility of another trip to Australia will be made after his first two runs.
Top Kiwi galloper Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) has returned to training ahead of a potential Trans-Tasman campaign in the late summer and autumn, reports theinformant.co.nz. The 6YO increased his Gr1 tally to five with domestic wins in the Makfi Challenge Stakes and Windsor Park Plate in the spring, before embarking on a three-start campaign in Perth. His first two outings resulted in fourth-placed efforts in the Gr1 Kingston Town Classic and the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes, before rounding out his first Australian sojourn with a sixth placing in the Gr1 Railway Stakes. Trainer Allan Sharrock said Kawi had coped perfectly with the trip home. "He travelled home beautifully," Sharrock said. "He's doing so well that I had to start working him again on Monday." He added: "Everything's on track and he'll resume in the Group One sprint [the Gr1 NRM Sprint] at Te Rapa on February 11."
Trainer David Greene says multiple Group-winning mare Stolen Dance (Alamosa-Songbird, by Black Minnaloushe) will not run in the Gr1 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, reports theinformant.co.nz. The talented 5YO, who resumed with a close third to Coldplay in the Gr2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on 10 December, went within a head of Group One glory in last year's Zabeel Classic when runner-up to top galloper Kawi. "She ran well first-up. It's great to see that she's come back so well," the Te Rapa-based Greene said. "She's been working well since then and she's already taken noticeable improvement from the run. She's stripping a lot fitter now and she's building up well." Greene added: "We've decided not to go to the Zabeel. She'll either go in the Rich Hill Mile [Gr2] on New Year's Day or the open handicap at Tauranga on January 2 – it'll depend what the weather's doing and what sort of weight she gets for the Rich Hill."
Kawi will return to New Zealand tomorrow following mixed results from his first Australian campaign, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Allan Sharrock-trained 6YOs three-start campaign in Perth saw him run fourth in both the Gr1 Kingston Town Classic and the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes, and sixth in the Gr1 Railway Stakes. Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is likely to resume his domestic career in the Gr1 NRM Sprint at Te Rapa on 11 February with a start in the Gr1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic likely to follow a fortnight later.
The pre-race instructions from Allan Sharrock to his former champion apprentice before tomorrow's $1 million Gr1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m) at Ascot will be succinct, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Plymouth trainer's words to Michael Walker will be don't get cluttered up and get the multiple Gr1-winning six-year-old rolling before the turn. "I just think the main thing is to get him out 600 from home and have a crack at them," Sharrock said. "At weight-for-age the best horse wins in my opinion. It suits Kawi, they all come up to his weight now and we've had two nice runs to ready him for this." He added: "It has always been our target race and I couldn't be happier with my horse and the rest is really up to him and Michael on the day and luck in the run." Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) was a last-start sixth in the Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and the gelding has come through the race in perfect order. "He would have got closer with some clear air and he was quite happy to pick grass afterwards in the birdcage so he didn't really have a hard run," Sharrock said. "He's thrived since." Sharrock nominated defending Kingston Town champion Perfect Reflection as the toughest to beat.
The sentiment of Kawi's trainer Allan Sharrock as to which is the horse to beat in tomorrow's Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (see above item) is shared by bookmakers. Following her excellent third behind Scales Of Justice, who has a shocking draw to contend with, in the Gr1 Railway Stakes two weeks ago, Perfect Reflection is a solid $4.20 quote to repeat last year's victory in the race. While the daughter of Vinery Stud's redoubtable star sire More Than Ready should get all the favours in the run with William Pike retaining the ride, Scales Of Justice will also benefit from having last start's pilot Dougie Whyte in the irons. At $15 from a good draw, the Chris Waller-trained Good Project looks exceptional value given that he has finished first and second in the Gr1 Railway Stakes in his only two starts in Perth, and has Hugh Bowman to pilot him.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the 41st running of the $1 million weight-for-age Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) to be run at Ascot in Perth, West Australia this Saturday. The current $3.80 TAB favourite for the race is the Bob Peters-owned mare Perfect Reflection who will be seeking to make it back-to-back Kingstown Town victories. Next in the market is multiple Gr1-winning Kiwi galloper Kawi at $5, ahead of last-start Gr1 Railways Stakes victor Scales Of Justice at $6.50. All other runners are at double figure odds. The final field is:
1. GOOD PROJECT (Chris Waller-Hugh-Bowman) 59kg (5)
2. IHTSAHYMN (Fred Kersley-Steven Parnham) 59kg (13)
3. STRATUM STAR (Darren Weir-Damian Lane) 59kg (1)
4. KAWI (Allan Sharrock-Michael Walker) 59kg (4)
5. DISPOSITION (Grant & Alana Williams-Glenn Smith) 59kg (8)
6. HE OR SHE (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-C Parnham) 59kg (14)
7. DUBAI ESCAPADE (Justin Warwick-Ben Kennedy) 59kg (6)
8. BASS STRAIT (Neville Parnham-Brad Parnham) 59kg (11)
9. TRADESMAN (Robert & Todd Harvey-Dwayne Dunn) 59kg (9)
10. SCALES OF JUSTICE (Lindsey Smith-Douglas Whyte) 58.5kg (16)
11. VANBRUGH (Chris Waller-Ben Melham) 58.5kg (7)
12. MACKINTOSH (Chris Waller-Damien Oliver) 58.5kg (10)
13. HEART STARTER (Grant & Alana Williams-Peter Hall) 58.5kg (12)
14. NEVERLAND (Grant & Alana Williams-Jarrad Noske) 57kg (3)
15. TICK TICK BLOOM (G Durrant & J Miller-Patrick Carbery) 57kg (15)
16. PERFECT REFLECTION (Grant & Alana Williams-William Pike) 56.5kg (2)
The final field has been declared for the 41st running of the $1 million weight-for-age Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot this Saturday. The barrier draw will be conducted at 4:30pm this afternoon in the Director's Room at Ascot racecourse in Perth. The final field is:
1. GOOD PROJECT (HUGH BOWMAN-CHRIS WALLER) 59kg
2 IHTSAHYMN (STEVEN PARNHAM-FRED KERSLEY) 59kg
3. STRATUM STAR (DAMIAN LANE-DARREN WEIR) 59kg
4. KAWI (MICHAEL WALKER-ALLAN SHARROCK) 59kg
5. DISPOSITION (GLENN SMITH-GRANT & ALANA WILLIAMS) 59kg
6. HE OR SHE (CHRIS PARNHAM-D & B HAYES & T DABERNIG) 59kg
7. DUBAI ESCAPADE (JUSTIN WARWICK) 59kg
8. BASS STRAIT (BRAD PARNHAM-NEVILLE PARNHAM) 59kg
9. TRADESMAN (DWAYNE DUNN-ROBERT & TODD HARVEY) 59kg
10. SCALES OF JUSTICE (DOUGLAS WHYTE-LINDSEY SMITH) 58.5kg
11. VANBRUGH (BEN MELHAM-CHRIS WALLER) 58.5kg
12. MACKINTOSH (DAMIEN OLIVER-CHRIS WALLER) 58.5kg
13. HEART STARTER (PETER HALL-GRANT & ALANA WILLIAMS) 58.5kg
14. NEVERLAND (JARRAD NOSKE-GRANT & ALANA WILLIAMS) 57kg
15. TICK TICK BLOOM (PATRICK CARBERY-G DURRANT & JASON MILLER) 57kg
16. PERFECT REFLECTION (WILLIAM PIKE-GRANT & ALANA WILLIAMS) 56.5kg