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    • Big weekend in the SI. July's 2yo race coming up at Oamaru. It might be a good pub quiz question to ask how many 2yo races there are in Canterbury during the winter. One would be the answer. Might trick a few people, especially north islanders who are used to at least two 2yo races every week. 13 2yos trialling at Riccarton, about 40% of the total starters, which is impressive considering they don't actually hold 2yo races on the AWT. I can't recall if they mentioned when the AWT was being advocated as the next big thing for Canterbury that it wouldn't be used for actual 2yo races.
    • Auld Jock finished just half a length short of superstar jumper The Cossack in Saturday’s Wellington Steeplechase (5500m), and Peter and Jessica Brosnan now have their sights set on a trip to Riccarton Park next month for the Grand National Steeplechase (5600m).   The diminutive gelding stepped up to open grade with a creditable run for fourth in the Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) a fortnight ago and tackling the unique course at Trentham, he looked right at home from the outset.   Joshua Parker rode a patient race on Auld Jock, travelling quietly in midfield, and as the pressure came on crossing over to the course proper, he was among the dangers to catch The Cossack and a storming finish had him within touching distance of the biggest win of his short jumping career.   “We were absolutely rapt with him, he’s certainly got the makings of a good little horse, so onwards and upwards,” Jessica Brosnan said.   “He kept coming really strongly at the finish, so it was pretty exciting.   “Josh rode him perfectly, he cut all the corners and had him on the inside everywhere he could. He jumped him well, we couldn’t fault the ride.   “He wants to stick with him, so that’s a good sign as well.”   The Brosnans headed straight back to their base at Matamata after the marathon jumping contest, where the son of Adelaide will have a few quiet days before preparing for their southern mission.   “He was a bit tired so we brought him home late on Saturday instead of staying down there for another night, just so he could have a sleep and wake up in his paddock,” Jessica Brosnan said.   “It saves him sitting on the truck for seven or eight hours on Sunday to get home.   “He’s had a couple of days off and now he’ll have some time in the swimming pool and on the walker, then we’ll get back into it and make some plans.   “I’m just running through the logistics now, we’ll get him down to Christchurch and if he settles in well, we’ll have a go at both days.   “It would be nice for him to get a look around the course before the big race, although he adapted to Wellington so easily and jumped every jump so beautifully.   “If he didn’t settle in for whatever reason, we can skip the Koral and go straight into the National. I don’t know what will be in on the first day, so it might be a good chance for him to pick up a nice prize down there.  “I said to Peter that we’ll need to take another horse as well so that’ll probably be Teen Titan, he’s improving at every run over hurdles so he can run both days and be a travel buddy for Jock.   “We’re in the middle of lambing and calving so getting down to Christchurch for 10 days will be a bit of a marathon, but it’s been our goal all the way through with this horse if he kept stepping up so we’re going to make it happen.”   The Wellington meeting provided a strong turn-out in the jumping events, including 30 runners at maiden grade, an important and exciting improvement for the future of the sport in Brosnan’s perspective.   “Hopefully we can find more horses like Jock and continue being competitive in these big races next year, jumps racing is really picking up and we had an amazing day down there on Saturday,” she said.   “Every horse got around and jumped well, so many people commented to us on the quality of the day and fields.   “We’ve got the jockeys now and a couple more coming over, so the atmosphere among the jumping people is great.   “Looking at a horse like Jock, he didn’t win a race on the flat but he’s got the skill and toughness to make a really nice jumper, so there are opportunities for horses like him.” View the full article
    • New Zealand-breds have long held a strong record in Hong Kong, which was further enhanced at the 2023/24 Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards on Friday when Ka Ying Rising was crowned Champion Griffin. The son of Shamexpress has been a standout in the Asian racing jurisdiction, winning five and runner-up in two of his seven starts last season for trainer David Hayes, highlighted by his victory in the Gr.3 Sha Tin Vase (1200m) last month. Ka Ying Rising became the third New Zealand-bred to be crowned Champion Griffin in the last five years, joining multiple Group One winner Lucky Sweynesse (2022) and Good Luck Friend (2020). Bred by Grandmoral Lodge Racing, Ka Ying Rising is out of the Per Incanto mare Missy Moo, and had a couple of jump outs for Marton trainer Fraser Auret before he was sold to clients of Hayes and had a few trials in Australia before making his way to Hong Kong. Friday’s announcement was welcome by Windsor Park Stud, who stand Ka Ying Rising’s sire Shamexpress. “He (Shamexpress) leaves good horses up there and he also has that very good horse in Singapore as well, Lim’s Saltoro,” Windsor Park Stud General Manager Steve Till said. “It has been exciting to watch his (Ka Ying Rising) progress through the autumn. His time in the Sha Tin Vase was very good. “He has a champion trainer in David Hayes, who knows good horses so well, and he is targeting him towards the international meeting in December for the Group One sprint race. You know the horse must be pretty good when David is talking about the horse in those sorts of terms, and is setting the horse for that sort of race. “He could end up being Shamexpress’s best. He (Shamexpress) is a very good sire and he has got two beauties going around for him at the moment.” Till said gaining accolades such as Champion Griffin is very important for stallion careers. “Our Asian markets are very important and none more so than Hong Kong,” he said. “The standard is so high there that if you have got a stallion that can sire good horses up there, the market demand then increases and that filters right through. “In the case of Ka Yong Rising, he is out of a Per Incanto mare, and Per Incanto is a good example of that. His progeny have done very well in Hong Kong as well, and that combination all bodes well.” Till said Shamexpress’s progeny are well suited to Hong Kong because of their demeanour. “He is a great stallion to have around and he is a very physical stallion,” he said. “He is a straightforward horse to mate to because he leaves good types, but he can impart a very good constitution and brain into his progeny, and I think that stands them in very good stead when they go to overseas environments like Hong Kong and Singapore. It is a great thing to have in your armoury when you are a stallion, and I think that has contributed to his success.” Shamexpress stands at Windsor Park Stud, near Cambridge, for a fee of $8,000+GST. View the full article
    • Racing at Ruakaka is well-suited to Patricia and the local mare sprinted to her fourth win at the course for Rick Wells on Saturday.   A five-year-old by Super Easy, Patricia indicated she had plenty to offer in her first season of racing last term, producing a trio of victories at her home track. Returning as an older mare, she took a few starts to find that form but did so with a tidy run for second behind Pippy last start, setting her up to be a key contender in the undercard sprint race of ITM/GIB Finals day.   In a compact field of five, it was tipped to be a match race between Patricia ($3.70), stakes performer Illicit Dreams ($2.60) and Byerley Park visitor Love Affirmations ($3.30), and the script couldn’t have been more accurate, with the three going to battle down the straight.   In a sensational photo-finish, Patricia was announced the eventual winner by a short head under Sam Spratt, with Illicit Dreams collecting second place by a nose to Love Affirmations.   Wells hadn’t been sure she had got over the line on top but was delighted when the call came.     “I thought it was a huge run, I wasn’t sure she had got up at the line so I stayed back at the TV to watch the replay and I could see she just got her head in front,” he said.   “Her only option really now is an 1100m race up here, because she can’t handle heavy tracks. That is an open race, so she’ll have to race in that grade, but the time on Saturday was fairly quick so hopefully she’ll handle the step-up.”  Patricia was the 27th winner in Wells’ training career, made more special as she was a homebred and is co-owned by the local horseman.   “She’s a lovely horse to have around, a wee bit aggressive but these mares tend to have a bit of that,” he said.   “She’s push button to work, she just goes out and does her thing. She’s a real professional.”   Out of a Spectatorial mare Xpectastar, Wells also has a two-year-old full-sister to Patricia in the stable who he has plenty of time for.   “If you saw them standing side-by-side you wouldn’t think they were sisters, they are totally different looking horses,” he said.   “The filly looks a bit like Spectatorial who her mother was by, and if she was as fast as him we’d be pretty happy because he won the Blue Diamond (Gr.1, 1200m).   “She’s just started to do a bit of fast work now, we haven’t rushed her and she had a bit of a foot problem which we’ve got sorted now. We’ll probably get her to the jump-outs or trials up here then she can have a break before the spring time.   “We’re in no hurry as she’s a nice filly.”   At 71 years old, Wells describes himself as ‘mostly retired’, but receives a massive thrill out of preparing his select team.    “I’ve just got those two, I’m retired really and I enjoy just having a couple to work with. It’s especially good when you have days like Saturday,” he said.   “During the week I just get up about half-past six, have a coffee and head down to the track. I’ve got Ian Perry to ride the older horse (Patricia) and Eddie Turns rides the young one so that’s our morning.   “For the rest of the day I try not to find any more work which is quite good.” View the full article
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