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New Zealand

Volpe Veloce signs off in style

Volpe Veloce can end a prefect two year old campaign when she steps out at Te Rapa on Saturday.

She will attempt to keep her record intact when she sports silk again in the Listed Hamilton Vet Services Equine for two year olds, before heading to the spelling paddock.

Purchased by Graham Richardson at Karaka for $240,000, Volpe Veloce was a runaway winner on debut, a win that gave her Matamata trainer great satisfaction.

A half sister by Foxwedge to the Stakes winner Delago Bolt, the filly will be put away after this weekend and return to follow a similar three year old programme, as her stable mate, Strada Cavallo, followed with much success.

“We might look at the Gold Trail Stakes and then go to the South Island circuit to get some points and Black Type like Strada Cavallo did,”Richardson said.

She was runner up in this season’s New Zealand Breeders filly of the year series; she won the Listed John Grigg Stakes at Ashburton, before she finished runner up in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 guineas at Riccarton.

VOLPE VELOCE Kenton RI Matamata 30.3.16 CustomVolpe Veloce

 

Filly passes test with flying colours

First Serve suffered the first defeat of her career, but it was no disgrace having her colours lowered by the boom colt Xtravagant .

The inexperienced Riccarton filly took on a hot field of three year olds in the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders Stakes; she turned in an outstanding performance to beat all but the winner.

“She had to take a huge step up and it felt like a win,” said Michael Pitman, who prepares the exciting daughter of Swiss Ace with his son Matthew.

“We were pretty hopeful she would go really well, but it was a big undertaking for such a lightly raced horse,” said Pitman.

First Serve had won her first two starts on her home track before trekking north, and her task wasn’t made any easier when the Cook Strait ferry was held up.  

“There was a major delay so it was a big trip for her, “ Pitman said “she’s got a fantastic temperament and she’s very competitive.”

Pitman M 6292 CustomMichael Pitman

 

Xtravagant delivers in Breeders

Jockey, Matt Cameron, adopted new tactics on boom three year old colt Xtravagant at Te Tapa on Saturday, but the result was just as everyone expected, with the favourite strolling to an easy win.

The dual Group1 winner usually plays the role of pacemaker, however, when race rivals, De Niro and Conjuring, pressured Xtravagant for the lead early in the contest, Cameron was happy to take a trail in running third.

“That was not the plan but if he was comfortable in running this would be a good test for him,” said Cameron.

“He came back under me well and when I peeled him off the fence coming to the turn, I knew he was going to win.”

“He soon took over without any trouble and was never going to get beaten, he had a good puff thereafter, it was similar to his Boxing Day win at Ellerslie.”

Xtravagant was having his first start since he finished out of a place in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 5, and though he was getting weary over the final stages , he still had two and three quarter lengths to spare over the runner up, from the South Island visitor, First Serve.

At Flemington he was well above himself in the paddock, that could have brought about his defeat,he led into the straight then found two lengths thereafter, yet he wilted on the vine.

Co – trainer, Stephen Autridge, looked both happy and relieved as he was swamped by Xtravagant’s syndicate of owners as the winner returned to scale.

“He’s done the job, we’ll discuss during the week what we will do with now, “said Autridge. “I’d say we would have a little break, ‘he added.

XTRAVAGANT Kenton Wright Race Images CustomXtravagant wins the Breeder's Stakes at Te Akau

Xtravagant has now won six of his 10 starts, and becomes the third Cambridge Breeder’s Stakes winner for the Te Akau Racing Stables, following on from TeAkau Dancer in 1998 and Burgundy in 2012.

 

Rasa Lila ready to back up

Trainers, Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie, with owner-breeder Sir Peter Vela, will chase their second combined Group2 Travis Stakes win at Te Rapa tomorrow.

Regular rider, Leith Innes, encouraged Ramsay and Ritchie to back up Rasa Lila following her third placing in last Saturday’s Group 1 Easter Stakes.

“Leith was very keen for us to back her up, he was rapt in her run and so were we,” said Ramsay, “I was told she ran the fastest last 600 metres of the day.”

Rasa Lila was among the tailenders to the home turn in the Easter Stakes, and weaved between runners, with an eye catching late burst, to finish third just a head and a short neck from the winner Sound Proposition.

Two starts earlier she was an easy winner of the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes at Trenthan over 1600 metres, when ridden, for the first time by Innes, she was a creditable sixth to Perfect Fit in the Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes over 1600 metres at Te Aroha.

Ramsay isn’t concerned about Rasa Lila having three starts within a month, he believes she is ready to step up to 2000 metres.

“She runs out a strong 1600 metres and has won over 2100 metres, “said Ramsay.

Rasa Lila has won six of her 25 starts; a Group victory would significantly enhance the residual value of the Darci Brahma mare.

RASA LILA WELLINGTON 19-3-2016 RACE IMAGES PN.jpg CustomRasa Lila

Bar raised for Barnaby

Young Matamata trainer, Jacob McKay, has experienced the thrill of Group 1 glory, but he will be stepping into new territory this weekend.

McKay was training in partnership with his father, Peter, when he celebrated the Group 1 wins with, Puccini in the New Zealand Derby, and the Thorndon Mile, but at Te Rapa tomorrow he will saddle up his first Stakes contender in his own right.

The 23 year old has had nine black type wins during the three and a half seasons in the training partnership; he will be represented in the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders Stakes by the unbeaten Barnaby.

Barnaby gave McKay a perfect start to his solo training career when scoring on debut at Matamata, and has earned his crack at the Cambridge Jockey Club’s three year old feature when racing with a Rating 65 race over 1200 metres at Tauranga.

“Obviously it’s a big jump up in class for him on Saturday, but on the times he has been running I think he’s up to this field,” said McKay .

“I know he had first use of the track at Tauranga with it being the first race, but the winner, Battle Time, ran one and a half seconds slower than him in the following race

Barnaby hv McKay J 3686 CustomBarnaby with Jacob McKay

Hiflyer to spearhead Aussie attack

A trial win by Hiflyer at Te Teko has Peter Lock believing he finally has the horsepower to make another attack on the Australian racing scene.

Hiflyer was given three starts earlier this season for a win and two seconds, the latest effort when producing a huge run, to be beaten a mere nose, by the talented Duchess Kate at Ellerslie.

A freshened up Hiflyer contested an open 1020 metres trial at Te Teko on Tuesday and impressed both regular rider, Sam Collett and Lock.

“He was very impressive and Sam said he had a lot up his sleeve, “ said Lock,” he was back third last and off the bit before the turn, but when Sam gave him a slap and a dig he grabbed the bit and ran to them very quickly.”

“I’ve always said you need a good horse to go to Aussie and I think he is the one, “said Lock.

“The race we’ve sorted out for him is the Grafton Guineas, but there are other races that would suit him as well, he will run first at Te Rapa on May 7, if he goes well we are on the way,” said Lock.

HIFLYER - TE AROHA 25-11-2015 RACE IMAGES CustomHiflyer

Xtravagant in peak racing trim

Xtravagant is every bit as well as he was going into his brilliant win I the Group1 NRM Spring in February, according to his trainer, Stephen Autridge, as he puts the final touches on the colt for Saturday’s Group 3 Cambridge Breeders Stakes, run over 1200 metres

The Pentire colt ran out an eighth lengths winner of the weight for age feature at Te Rapa, lowering the colours of Group1 winners Vespa, Recite, Sacred Star, Volkstok ‘n’ Barrel and Ryan Mark.

While he was unable to repeat the performance at Flemington in the Group 1 Australian Guineas at his next start, he has returned to racing trim, much to the delight of Autridge and his training partner, Jamie Richards.

“He’s done some really good pieces of track work and we are very happy with him,” Autridge said of the TAB’s $1.85 favourite for the three year old sprint.

XTRAVAGANT Kenton Wright Race Images CustomXtravagant

 

Trainers looking for more Sydney riches

Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young are lining up for another crack at a Sydney Group One title.

The Australian Derby winning trainers have Tavago’stablemate, Sicario, set for the Champagne Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, with Kerrin McEvoy engaged for the ride.

“The horse is booked on a flight this evening and it is all go from here in,” said Busuttin.

“We’re under no illusions about the massive jump in class, it’s a fact that the New Zealand two year old form is inferior to Australia, however, we are on our way to Sydney,” he added.

Busuttin and Young will relocate their training to Cranbourne in July.

“He can run in Sydney for the $500,000 and win lose or draw he will be spelled over there, then we can get him ready for the spring in Melbourne,” Busuttin said.

“If the filly, Yankee Rose, turns up she’ll be winning, but with two year olds you never really know and we’re got nothing to lose,”

A first crop by Bullbars , Sicario, was runner up on debut at Matamata, after racing three wide without cover and then finished a close second in the Group1 Manawatu Sire’s Produce Stakes.

SICARIO ACTION MANAWATU 2-4-2016 RACE IMAGES PN CustomSicario

 

Xtravagant’s spell cut short

Te Akau Racing has completed an about turn with their dual Group1 winner Xtravagant, who will be back in work at Matamata next week.

Following a below performance when in the eighth Group1 Australian Guineas at Flemington, the Pentire colt returned home for a spell ahead of a spring campaign

However, Te Akau principal, David Ellis with trainers, Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, inspected the horse on Thursday and the trio have now decided more immediate targets are worth chasing.

“We had a good look at him and he’s already put on 30 kg, he is a gross colt so if we left him out much longer he would get too big,” Autridge said.

“We’ll have him back next week and get him ready for the Cambridge Breeder’s Stakes, and then if we’re happy with him, we’ll have a look at Brisbane.”

The two Queensland winter carnival Gropup1 targets will be the Doomben 10,000 and the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm, a fortnight later.

Meanwhile Te Akau has confirmed they will have at least one representative in the Group 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sire’s Produce, with Sassy ‘N’ Smart to run in the April 2 feature.

She finished runner –up in the Group 2 Matamata Breeder’s Stakes two runs back and from another wide gate, then sixth in the Group 1 Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie.

“She just needs a good draw and a bit of luck to go with it,” Autridge said.

Xtravagant wins G1 NRM Sprint 13 2 16 CustomXtravagant    (pic Trish Dunell)

 

Top Mare deserves well earned break.

Stolen Dance’s quest for a Group One victory will be on hold until next season.

The connections of the four year old mare have happily called time on her current campaign, and a highly profitable one it has been too, following her last start fourth in the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes.

“She’s gone out for a spell,” trainer David Greene said, unfortunately she missed out on her last assignment, but she’s had a very good preparation and has probably come to the end of it.”

Stolen Dance’s team of owners, managed by Dane McCloud, were all in agreement to send the daughter of Alamosa for a well earned rest.

“She was on a rating of 80 at the start of the season and now she’s the top ranked in the country, “said David Greene.

“She has just been so consistent and tough, and it’s a pleasure to be associated with her,” he said.

Stolen Dance won the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes at her third appearance this term, and added the Group 2 Cal Isuzu before she entered the big time.

She reeled off consecutive Group One seconds in the Zabeel Classic, the Thornton Mile and the Herbie Dyke Stakes, before a fourth placing in the New Zealand Stakes.

Stolen Dance w7085 TD Te Rapa 12.12.2015 CustomStolen Dance   (pic Trish Dunell)

 

Ritchie for a better draw

Eleven is not Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie’s favourite number.

Especially when it applies to barrier draws for his emerging three year old sprinter, He’s An Ace, who tackles today’s Group2 Go Racing Syndications Wellington Guineas, over 1400 metres at Trentham, from barrier 11.

The Swiss Ace gelding started from barrier 11 in last week’s Group 3 Mr Tiz Trophy, at Ellerslie, finishing strongly from the rear of the field to claim fourth place.

“It was a good run, unfortunately the barrier draw meant we had no choice but to ride him cold, even though he does have good gate speed, “said Richie.

“The six lengths we had to give up in running was probably the difference between winning and running fourth, he has also drawn a wide gate this week-end,” he added.

All four of He’s An Ace’s starts have been over 1200 metres, winning his first two before finishing third in his Mr Tiz lead up race, so he breaks new ground this weekend over 1400 metres.

“He’s a strong sort of three year old and I’m confident he will run out a solid 1400 metres, but until you actually get there you never know,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie will also take aim at the Group 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks, over 2400 metres at Trentham, with the Group 2 Royal Stakes placed filly, Megawatt.

The stable also have Let Her Rip in the Listed Bendigo Guineas, of 1400 metres, this afternoon.

Hes An Ace a7994 TD CustomHe's An Ace   (Pic Trish Dunell)

 

Lime Country relocate Niagara to The Oaks

A serious illness of principal Greg Griffin has forced the Hawkes Bay operation, Lime Country Thoroughbreds, to relocate their stallion, Niagara.

Having created a big impression with his first of yearlings at auction this summer, he will be   transferred to The Oaks Stud in Cambridge, where he will join Darci Brahma and Roc De Cambes.

Lime Country will continue as an agistment and sales preparation business, but imminent heart surgery that Griffin had to have, forced him to step back from the stud side of the operation.

“As a family we’ve decided that our priority is Greg, and standing a stallion, with all that goes with a breeding season, is no longer an option, “said his wife.

Niagara, a Group2 winning son of Encosta de Lago, from the illustrious family of Redoute’s Choice, Al Maher and Manhattan Rain, has made a big impression since taking up duties in 2013.

In his first three seasons he has covered 336 mares, his first crop of yearlings met with strong demand in both New Zealand and Australia, selling up to $85,000, with a service fee of $5,000.

His Karaka Select yearlings averaged more than $53,000, while a yearling at the Premier Sales was sold for $75,000.

Niagara 5221w CustomNiagara

 

Paddy poised for another effort

Surprise Group1 performer, Authentic Paddy, is in excellent order for his latest challenge at the top level.

The six year old has thrived during a recent break and he is ready, from where he left off before Christmas, to give a bold showing in Saturday’s Group1 Haunui weight for age Classic.

“He has had a good hit out at the trials and has really come up well, that has tightened him up he looks fantastic, “said trainer Lisa Latta.

Authentic Paddy raced well during his winter campaign and continued his form on better surfaces, through the spring, to win open handicaps at Hastings and Awapuni.

“Early on we thought he was just a wet tracker, but as he has got older he’s handled the better tracks and continues to improve, “she added.

The gelding ran fifth in both the Group 1 Livamol Classic and the Windsor Park Plate, before finishing in the Captain Cook Stakes, followed by his third place in the Zabeel Stakes, shows he is not far off winning a Group1

Authentic Paddy w6145s TD Hastings 19.09.2015 CustomAuthentic Paddy on the outside

Walker on verge of comeback ride

Former champion New Zealander jockey, Michael Walker, is closing in on a return to race riding.

Walker, who has been side lined since November after undergoing a hip replacement operation, has commenced riding again for trainers, David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

“I feel really good, the only downfall is muscle wastage in my thighs,” he said.

Walker is also working hard on his weight; he has trimmed down from 70 kg, after the operation, to now 58 kg.

Mongolians planning a Group One invasion

The Mongolians are waging war Down Under this weekend.

Lin Lang’s Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry will chase feature races on both sides of the Tasman, at the week-end, when Mongolian Khan makes his comeback from an unfortunate bout of colitis after winning the Caulfield Cup; he reappears in the weight for age Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick.

Murray Baker, who trains Mongolian Khan in partnership with Andrew Forsman, warns punters that the New Zealand Horse of the Year would most likely find the 1600 metres a bit sharp in his first up run; however, Northland training partnership of Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs is far more confident with Mongolian Falcon at Matamata.

Mongolian Falcon a7706s TD 30.01.2016 Matamata CustomMongolian Falcon winning in great style

Steve Tyler chasing a double

Steve Tyler is chasing a double this afternoon when he saddles up Fastfoot in the Craigs Investments Handicap at Central Otago.

“Some good horses have beaten him lately, he will be getting three kilos off and he us back in his proper grade now, “said Tyler.

Popp’N’Lindauer in (race two) is due for a change of fortune, and is expected to go well, as is Baranoo, who ran a bold second on debut.

“I haven’t picked up a double yet, so hopefully I can get one this time,” he added,” Popp ‘N’ Lindauer has been freshened up and Baranoo is pretty quick, he will keep them busy and is not far off a win.

FASTFOOT WIN 2730 CustomFastfoot can win again

 
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