Berkley Stud stallion Highly Recommended (Fastnet Rock-Suggestive, by Al Hareb) has boosted his stakes winners to runners strike rate to 10 per cent following the win of Sumstreetsumwhere in Monday's Gr2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa, reports NZ Racing Desk. The well-bred Highly Recommended already boasts several classy performers. They include Hong Kong-bound dual stakes winner Waldorf, Gr2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) and Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) placegetter Joyfilly, and Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) runner-up Kirkland. "It is good to get a new one because Waldorf has been sold to Hong Kong," Berkley Stud co-owner Edwina Morris said. "We were worried we were going to go out of the limelight, but it didn't take long for him to get another star shining." Highly Recommended has been well supported in his four seasons at stud and is well on the way to serving a full book of mares this season. "He will serve over 100 mares," Morris added. "He has averaged 112 mares per season at stud, so he's been well supported right through, which is great and he will do about the same or a little more this season." Trained by Peter Moody, Highly Recommended's biggest win came in the 2012 Gr2 Alister Clark Stakes where he defeated subsequent VRC Derby winner Sangster and AJC Derby winner Ethiopia. Bred by Turangga Stud, he is by former champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock out of the good producer Suggestive, dam of 5 stakes winners including Gr1 Emirates Stakes-winning mare Sky Cuddle.
At Wanganui in New Zealand, NZ-based Berkley Stud's Gr2-winning stallion Highly Recommended (Fastnet Rock-Suggestive, by Al Hareb) added a black-type success when 3YO black gelding Waldorf (Highly Recommended-Skite, by Pins) demolished his rivals in the $60,000 Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1340m) for 3YOs, defeating Kirkland & Socially Excited. This was the second stakes victory for Waldorf who improved his record to 3 wins (including the Listed Ryder Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Listed Wellesley Stakes) from 8 starts for NZ$94,825 in earnings. A $30,000 purchase by his trainer Andrew Campbell at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale, Waldorf is being aimed at the Gr1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas later in the year. "He'll head to the Hawke's Bay Guineas next and then Christchurch is the plan, as long as everything continues to go so well," trainer Andrew Campbell told NZ Racing Desk. "He's still got improvement in him, he's a big, burly horse." Highly Recommended first-crop winners also includes the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes placegetter Joyfilly.
At Riccarton Park in New Zealand, Gr1-winning NZ Haunui Farm shuttler Elusive City (Elusive Quality-Star Of Paris, by Dayjur) added a black-type success when 2YO filly Elusive Catch (Elusive City-Milord a Lady, by Lord Ballina) scored by 2.25-lengths for trainer Sabin Kirkland in the NZ$50,000 Listed Champagne Stakes (1200m) for 2YOs, over fellow filly Second Time Lucky (Any Suggestion-Dance Parade, by Personal Hope) & 2YO gelding Two Over One (Duporth-Flying Babe, by Flying Spur). This was the first stakes victory for Elusive Catch who took her record to 1 win and 1 placing from 2 starts for NZ$31,125 earnings.
Meanwhile in a novel approach to track problems in the UK, Haydock has covered its "entire 6-furlongs home straight with a water-proof sheet to ensure the big domestic race in Britain this week goes ahead on Saturday," reported guardian.co.uk. The going at Haydock for the £300,000 (A$630,000) Gr1 Betfred Sprint Cup (highlight of the north-west racecourse's season) "is already soft & with an inch of rain forecast this week the track is taking no chances". UK racing suffered a major blow last month when York's 4-day Ebor meeting was washed away & "without the Haydock executive's intervention the meeting would have been under serious threat". Clerk Of The Course Kirkland Tellwright admitted the hire of the sheet plus additional labour costs was costing Haydock a "small fortune", but said the outlay was going to be worth it: "Now we have got the sheet down where the problems might be, we are confident. Without this action, it's questionable whether we would be fit to race by Saturday. We are expecting 5-6mm of rain per day, with the forecast particularly bad for Friday. The going is currently soft. The prudent expectation is that it will be the same on Saturday."