I can't even remember when it was decided summer tracks should not be hard and fast. Trainers like the late Noel Eales loved nothing better than to race his summer horses on summer tracks. In the conversations I had with him over the years he was definitely an advocate for not watering in summer.
Like you say Wingman Kane Smith has inherited a lemon. This reiterates my point that he is fairly new to the racecourse caretaking game and if he is one of the few who can produce a track on raceday where the jockeys don't vote with their feet imagine if what could be achieved if he could hone his skills.
I'm trying to find some positives out of the racecourse surface shambles we are currently amidst.
New Zealand horses making hit-and-run visits to Australia are not uncommon, but there are not many horses that do it in reverse.
The Ciaron Maher-trained Holymanz (NZ) (Almanzor), a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, made a hit-and-run trip to Ellerslie last month for the inaugural running of the Aotearoa Classic (1600m).
Holymanz finished fourth and was soon after shipped back to the Cranbourne stables of his trainer to prepare for a tilt at the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Victory in the Blamey offers a ‘win and you’re in’ ticket into the All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield on March 16.
Jack Turnbull, an assistant-trainer with Ciaron Maher Racing, said Holymanz had returned in good order from his trip to New Zealand where not everything went to plan.
“He had a rough run in transit and he slipped a little bit, as a couple did that day, but to pick himself up and run on to finish fourth, we thought he ran a huge race,” Turnbull said.
“He’s travelled back in good order. He’s had a maintenance jump out since and he got back and wasn’t asked to do much.”
Turnbull said Michael Dee will be reunited with Holymanz on Saturday having ridden the gelding in his two previous starts before heading to Ellerslie, including a win at Geelong on January 6.
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Debutante two-year-old Altari (NZ) (Savabeel) produced a smart victory in the Congrats Captured By Love & Te Akau Racing Maiden 2YO (1200m) at Matamata on Thursday.
When trialling on 20 February at Tauranga, Altari was trapped out, steadied 600m, ranged wide and flattened out 200m for a smart win, and his first race day outing was not dissimilar.
Away well from barrier eight, Altari was caught on a limb three wide under Opie Bosson, challenged turning for home, lifted to level 200m out and went on win with an air of superiority.
“He’s a nice horse and even after being three wide in the open he kept coming up underneath me when I gave him a niggle,” Bosson said.
Held in very high regard by trainers Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson, Altari will now be prepared for the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on Saturday 6 April at Trentham.
“It was a great first-up win today and he certainly didn’t get all favours in the run,” Walker said.
“I loved the way he changed legs at the 200m and really wanted to win. He found extra and that’s the sign of a good horse.
“He’s got a really exciting future and has the makings of developing into a lovely three-year-old.
“He’ll only improve with today’s experience and overall we’re pretty impressed with his performance. Not a lot went right, but as usual Opie (Bosson) keeps them balanced and the horse kept producing.”
Owned by Te Akau Bohemian Beauty Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Altari was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $360,000 at the 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling Sale, from the draft of Valachi Downs.
“He’s got a lovely temperament and has a good brain on him,” said racing manager Reece Trumper.
Trumper said Altari reminded them of Noverre, a Savabeel colt also purchased by Ellis at Karaka, before winning the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) and now standing at Waikato Stud.
“His nature and the way he goes about everything reminds us of Noverre, just a slightly neater type.
“He was a beautiful weanling colt that David (Ellis) bought, has a beautiful pedigree, and by Savabeel, with David being the most successful buyer of Savabeel progeny, it’s exciting for the owners to see him win so well on debut.
“I’d also like to thank the Matamata Racing Club for taking on this meeting. Obviously we had a big day here last Saturday, and some rain since, but the track is still playing very fair.
“It’s a real credit to all the track staff here to produce the best track in New Zealand, in my opinion, and it takes the racing very well.”
By eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel, his dam Bohemian Lily (NZ) (O’Reilly) won the Gr.2 The Roses (2020m) at Doomben, while second dam, Bohemian Blues (NZ) (Blues Traveller), won five races and in turn at stud has left Champion 3YO Filly in Australia Shamrocker (NZ) (O’Reilly), winner of the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) and Gr.1 VRC Australian Guineas (1600m), Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Rock Diva (NZ) (Lucky Unicorn), and Gr.3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) winner Vernanme (NZ) (O’Reilly).
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A promising three-year-old sourced from Taranaki in New Zealand has made a flawless start to his racing career in Hong Kong.
Super Joy N Fun (NZ) (What’s The Story) made his Hong Kong debut over 1200m at Happy Valley on February 7, winning by a head. His next start came over the same course and distance three weeks later, when dominating from the front and winning by three-quarters of a length.
The gelding is trained by Benno Yung and has quickly banked more than HK$1.3 million for owners Johnny Wong Chun Nam, Nancy Wong, Maizie Wong and Wong Chi Poh.
Super Joy N Fun was bred by Westend Partnership and is by the Savabeel stallion What’s The Story, who finished second in the New Zealand Derby in an injury-shortened racetrack career. What’s The Story stands at Norwegian Park for a service fee of just NZ$4,000, and Super Joy N Fun is among his five winners from only 13 runners so far in his stud career.
Originally named Buyback, Super Joy N Fun had his early education in the New Plymouth stable of Debbie Harris, for whom he won a trial in July of 2023. His initial ownership group included Peter Mack, a Hawera businessman and former president of the local Egmont Racing Club.
“I’ve had a few horses in the past for Chris Thompson, Mike Swift and Peter Mack, who owned his dam Citycenta and leased her out,” Harris said. “They bought this horse for $8,000 at the weanling sale and named him Buyback and sent him to me to train.
“I broke him in and did all of the early education with him. I’d always thought he was quite an impressive type. He showed a fair bit of ability in his very first gallop, and then from there he just continued to improve with every gallop, jumpout and trial that he had from that point on.
“It’s pretty exciting to see what he’s gone on to do. He’s off to a great start in Hong Kong and has won both of those races impressively.
“Of course it was a bit of a shame to lose him from the stable, but that’s just how it goes – anything with ability usually ends up going overseas. But you can be proud of the work that you do with these horses along the way and get a lot of enjoyment from their success further down the track.”
Harris has held a training licence for a decade, and during that time she has been credited with 13 winners from only 80 runners.
“I never have a big team, but I’ve been lucky enough to have a few nice ones,” she said. “I think I’ve got a handful of quite nice two-year-olds coming through that are just starting to have their first run along now. Hopefully there’s some good prospects among them. I’m looking forward to seeing how they go.”
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