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Race 4, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday 12.11.14
17 Nov 2014

Winner of Race 4 at the Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday in the Matamata Commercial Cleaners 1200, Wednesday 12 November at Matamata:


Horse: Stolen Dance

Owner/s: G L Day, A J Dobbyn, D, J, D R, Mrs J C & S J McLeod, K G Mitchell, Mrs J J, Mrs M A, P W & T W Rogers, G A Shand & A Swales

Trainer: David Greene, Te Rapa

Jockey: Lynsey Satherley

Thank you to all that attended, supported and sponsored here at Matamata Racing Club. 

Also thank you to Kenton Wright of Race Images PN Limited for the above image.

Race 3, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday 12.11.14
17 Nov 2014

Winner of Race 3 at the Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday in the Pearson Engineering Limited 1200, Wednesday 12 November at Matamata:


Horse: Elle Grace

Owner/s: R Norman, G Hornsey, W Dickinson, J Price, P A Stevens & J Morrell

Trainer: Phillip Stevens, Matamata

Jockey: Lee Magorrian (a2/52.50kg)

Thank you to all that attended, supported and sponsored here at Matamata Racing Club. 

Also thank you to Kenton Wright of Race Images PN Limited for the above image.

Race 2, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday 12.11.14
17 Nov 2014

Winner of Race 2 at the Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday in the Onsite Auto Electrical (2005) Limited 1600, Wednesday 12 November at Matamata:


Horse: La Chica

Owner/s: J R Wright

Trainer: John Wright, Matamata

Jockey: Anna Jones (a3/50kg)

Thank you to all that attended, supported and sponsored here at Matamata Racing Club. 

Also thank you to Kenton Wright of Race Images PN Limited for the above image.

Race 1, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday 12.11.14
17 Nov 2014

Winner of Race 1 at the Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Spring Raceday in the Matamata Christmas at the Races 17th December 2000, Wednesday 12 November at Matamata:


Horse: Golan Power

Owner/s: W K F Wu

Trainer: Lance O' Sullivan & Andrew Scott, Matamata

Jockey: Cameron Lammas

Thank you to all that attended, supported and sponsored here at Matamata Racing Club. 

Also thank you to Kenton Wright of Race Images PN Limited for the above image.

* * * CORPORATE OPPORTUNITY FOR BUSINESSES ON WEDNESDAY 17 DECEMBER!! * * *
14 Nov 2014

Our iconic Twilight Christmas at the Races racemeeting, proudly supported by Noble & Lee, on Wednesday 17 December, sets the scene for a grand end-of-year festive celebration with colleagues, friends and family.

Do something a little different for this year's festive party and take it trackside to Matamata where your guests will be thoroughly entertained by the action both on and off the track!

We have a perfect business opportunity!  Book a corporate function package situated on a deck in the Members' Grandstand with premium uninterrupted views looking over the birdcage and racecourse.  The deck will accommodate 60 to 80 people.  The deck, seen on the left-hand side of the Members' Grandstand, will be festive-themed!

 

Call our friendly team on 07 888 8898 to discuss this exciting package opportunity!  We can design a customised package to suit your needs, combining live horse racing, a gourmet buffet and beverage packages so let’s get your party sorted!

Guineas placegetter sires Riccarton carnival winner: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Wed, 12 Nov 2014
14 Nov 2014
He ran third in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at this carnival six years ago, and today Minstrel Court had his third winner as a stallion when Madame Jamai thrashed her opposition in the $30,000 Spicers CPS Premier at Riccarton.

The Jason Bridgman-trained filly went straight to the front under Matt Cameron and ran her rivals into the ground. She dashed clear at the top of the straight and careered away to win by three and three-quarter lengths in a slick time of 1:09.49 on a Good3 track. The forecast inclement weather has fortunately stayed away and left the track in excellent order.

It was Madame Jamai’s first win from six starts, but she had been placed in four of the previous five against the likes of 1000 Guineas third favourite Bonniegirl.

“It was an overdue win,” Bridgman said. “She did it in really good fashion today.”

Madame Jamai was a little disappointing when beaten as hot favourite at Motukarara last time out, but Bridgman put that down to missing a previous run at the abandoned Ashburton meeting last month.

“I brought her down here with a slightly better race in mind, but she missed a maiden run at the Ashburton meeting which threw everything into disarray,” the trainer explained. “She had gone six or seven weeks without a run and needed that Motukarara run badly. She’s come on in leaps and bounds since then.”

Minstrel Court, a Listed winner of the Slipper at Matamata, entered stud in 2009 and stands at Willow Glen in Waimate for a fee of $3000. He had his first winner when The Musician, also trained by Bridgman, won at Thames in January this year.

Minstrel Court was purchased by David Ellis for $100,000 and was raced by Te Akau, like The Musician and Madame Jamai.

No avoiding comparisons between Fursdon Cup contenders: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Tue, 11 Nov 2014
14 Nov 2014

Silk Chardonnay and Anna Jones are ready for their biggest challenge in Saturday's New Zealand Cup.
Silk Chardonnay and Anna Jones are ready for their biggest challenge in Saturday's New Zealand Cup.

A decade after preparing Upsettyhm to win the Auckland Cup, Matamata trainer Karen Fursdon can’t help but make comparisons with her Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup candidate Silk Chardonnay.

“It’s uncanny, I can’t get it out of my head how many things there are in common between the two,” said Fursdon after Silk Chardonnay had completed her final piece of serious work at Matamata this morning.

“This mare is five, the same age as Upsetthym when she won the Auckland Cup; both were gifts from their breeders to the syndicate that raced them; Silk Chardonnay has won her last two starts going into the big one just as Upsetthym had, and then of course there’s the jockey.”

Upsetthym was ridden in her lead-up racing and the Cup itself by Fursdon’s English immigrant apprentice Gemma Sliz. Likewise, current stable apprentice Anna Jones is an English immigrant in her early twenties and has been entrusted with the mount in Saturday’s 3200-metre feature.

Jones took her tally after 18 months’ race-riding to 28 wins when she got the Fursdon-trained Onlyarose home for a narrow win at Te Rapa last Saturday. Like Upsetthym and Sliz, she has struck a real affinity with Silk Chardonnay, as illustrated by the two heady rides that have catapulted the Lucky Unicorn mare into New Zealand Cup calculations.

On her home track a month ago, Silk Chardonnay led for the last half of her 2000-metre assignment and defied all challengers for a brave win, while the step up in grade and distance to a Rating 85 2400 metres at Ellerslie on October 25 brought out the best in horse and rider as Jones rated her mount perfectly in front for an uncontested win.  

“She’s a mare that you have to let have her own way, you can’t fight her, and Anna has got her worked out perfectly,” said Fursdon. “She had a wind problem that needed surgery and the secret is to let her roll along at her own speed to get into a rhythm and help her breathing.”

Upsetthym was originally leased from her breeder Sir Patrick Hogan before he gifted her to the syndicate and in similar vein, Silk Chardonnay’s breeder Kevin Hickman handed her over to Fursdon in what the trainer described as an early Christmas present last November.

Hickman, the owner-breeder of class racemare Silent Achiever and numerous other worthy sorts, threw his hands up in frustration after Silk Chardonnay had finished second in no less than seven of her 13 starts. Murphy’s Law came into play when the mare changed hands, winning her very first start in new ownership – this very day last year in fact - and adding another three in the meantime.

Almost as if to complete the sequence of similarities, Jones has followed Sliz’s example in seeking the advice of a jockey far wiser than herself. Sliz called on the expertise of retired champion Lance O’Sullivan in her Auckland Cup preparation, while Jones has turned to the current doyen of jockey ranks, master staying rider Noel Harris.

“Noel is our riding master at apprentice school and he’s been great talking things through with me,” she said. “I’ve never ridden at Riccarton before but I’m hoping to pick up a ride or two earlier in the programme.

“It’s exciting to think I’ve got what I rate a very good ride in the New Zealand Cup. The more we’ve asked of her the better she’s gone, so all I can hope is that things pan out for us and she carries on with it.”

Races Tomorrow at Matamata!
11 Nov 2014

We are racing here tomorrow at Matamata.

Check out the latest information at https://www.nzracing.co.nz/RaceInfo/43345/Meeting-Overview.aspx.

Track Good3 at 9.02 am / Weather Fine / Rail Out 8 Metres

First race is 12.22 pm / Last race at 5.00 pm

Racebook is attached for your perusal to get your picks sorted early - totes will be ready to take your bets tomorrow!  Please bet on-course!

Racebook for 12.11.14.pdf

Curragh Lounge is open until 6 pm to cater for the Riccarton Races!

See you all here tomorrow.

Left-handed tracks key for Tomorrowland: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Sun, 09 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014A return to his favoured left-handed way of going at Te Rapa yesterday was all talented gelding Tomorrowland needed to extend his winning record and set himself up for a tilt at further riches over the next few months.

The speedy son of Fast ‘N’ Famous had disappointed in his most recent run at Ellerslie after a scintillating victory when fresh-up at Hastings, however trainer Danica Guy was confident he would make amends on the weekend.

“His work since Ellerslie has been first class and I was pretty confident he could win on Saturday as he is a very good galloper,” she said.

“He’s just not as good going the Ellerslie way around but we had to test him there early in this campaign as there has been talk of a tilt at the Railway on New Year’s Day and you don’t want to go in to a race like that not knowing if they can handle the track.

“I think for now it is best to keep him going left-handed as that’s where he is most comfortable and there are still some pretty good prizes coming up that we can take a look at.”

Those targets include the Gr. 1 Telegraph Handicap at Trentham, although Guy is keen to keep her charge to his own grade for the time being.

“I’ve had a look at the programme and there really isn’t much for him at this stage,” she said. “He will probably be at the top of the handicaps in a Rating 75 race so we may look at the next grade up to get some weight relief but I don’t want to tackle an open handicap just yet as it would crucify him if he won it.”

Guy was also delighted the horse was showing no ill effects of the pelvic injury that put a temporary halt to his career after he won in maiden company in March.

“He fractured his pelvis and needed a month of box rest before he could start on some light work to start to get his muscle tone and base fitness back,” she explained.

“Thankfully he has come back really well and hasn’t shown any signs of the injury bothering him at all.

“I think he can go a long way as he has always shown plenty so it would be nice to give him the opportunity to deliver on that promise.”

Many special Guineas moments for Bosson: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Sun, 09 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
Turn Me Loose was in a different class to his rivals in yesterday’s Gr. 1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton, and his champion rider Opie Bosson has put together a similar record of dominance in the $400,000 classic.

Yesterday’s win was Bosson’s sixth victory in the prestigious race, which no other jockey has won more than twice in its 42-year history.

The three-length romp by Turn Me Loose was Bosson’s biggest 2000 Guineas win by margin, but there has been no shortage of talent and class among his other victorious mounts.

Bosson won his first 2000 Guineas in 1998 with Danske. The colt by Danehill out of Our Tristalight was having his 10th start in the November 11 feature. He sat midfield before hitting the lead at the top of the straight and kicking strongly to win by a nose from subsequent Derby winner So Casual.

The Guineas was Danske’s fourth win and he had been placed on another four occasions. He had previously won the Gr. 2 Lindauer Guineas at Ellerslie and the Listed Baillieu Stakes at Randwick, and he ran second in the Gr. 3 Hawke’s Bay Guineas and against older horses in the Gr. 1 Captain Cook Stakes.

Danske would only race three more times, all in Australia. He finished second in the Gr. 2 AAMI Classic at Caulfield but was unplaced in the Listed Debonair Stakes and Gr. 1 Australian Cup.

Danske retired to stud, where he produced Group One winner Snazzy and several other stakes performers including Coup Ay Tee, Dancing Jess, Tadan, Molta, The Twist, Dante’s Paradiso, Anne Carina, Our Bee Jay, Titsgittin, Valhalla, Figurinit, The Hand Of Faith and Quite Astute.

The very next year Bosson won the Guineas again, this time aboard Buzz Lightyear. The son of Gold Brose and Excitable Kid won the Guineas at his ninth start. He led for most of the journey, was tackled at the turn but kicked again to take control of the race and score by a length and three-quarters from Thee Old Dragon and Group One filly Ad Alta.

It was the ill-fated Buzz Lightyear’s third win and he had been placed three times. He had won the Hawke’s Bay Guineas and placed in the Lindauer Guineas and Eclipse Stakes. He raced four more times, winning the Gr. 1 Bayer Classic and Listed New Zealand Derby Trial before failing to see out the 2400 metres of the Derby. He was fourth in the Gr. 2 Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley in his only other start.

Bosson’s next Guineas win came four years later with King’s Chapel, who won the classic at his eighth start. He was trapped wide after breaking from an outside gate but strode forward to take the lead and ran away to a dominant win by two lengths over Sarah Vee and Kainui Belle.

The win was the King Of Kings colt’s sixth in those eight starts, and had also been placed once. His previous victories included the $500,000 Super Bonus Classique and the Listed Ray Coupland Stakes.

Overall King’s Chapel won 10 of his 23 starts including the Gr. 1 Telegraph Handicap and Otaki WFA. He also had Group One placings in the Bayer Classic and the George Main Stakes in Sydney.

King’s Chapel retired to Windsor Park Stud, where he sired stakes performers King’s Ransom, King Montrose, Negotiate, Lady Chapel and Princess Emmy. He has since moved to South Africa to continue his stud career there.

Bosson then endured his longest gap between Guineas victories – six years. The drought was spectacularly broken by the flying grey filly Katie Lee in 2009. The win was the Pins filly’s fourth from nine starts.

Katie Lee travelled nicely midfield but was slammed into from both sides at the top of the Riccarton straight. Bosson helped her regain her balance and rhythm and she produced an explosive turn of foot to burst out of the pack and run down subsequent Derby winner Military Move to win by a length.

A week later Katie Lee made history, becoming the first and so far only horse to win the 2000 Guineas-1000 Guineas double. She produced a similar late run down the outside of the track to wear down subsequent Oaks winner Keep The Peace and score by half a neck.

Katie Lee retired with eight wins and eight placings from 23 starts – a high-class performer for much of her career, and an unstoppable force for that one amazing week at Riccarton in November 2009.

Last year Bosson notched up his fifth Guineas with with Atlante, a Fastnet Rock colt having just his fifth start. He had cleared maidens at the third time of asking, stepped up to stakes class to win the Canterbury Stakes at his fourth start and then won the 2000 Guineas to complete a hat-trick of wins.

Atlante led in last year’s Guineas, was tackled and headed in the straight but lifted again to win by three-quarters of a length from Chambord, Gobi Ranger and a promising one-win horse by the name of Puccini.

That was Atlante’s final New Zealand run. He then relocated to Australia, where he won at Listed level and was placed in the Gr. 2 Hobartville Stakes.

Bosson has also enjoyed significant success in the 1000 Guineas and Oaks. He won the 1000 Guineas with Katie Lee in 2009 and King’s Rose in 2010, and he has won the Oaks four times – She’s Country (2000), Bramble Rose (2003), Princess Coup (2007) and Keep The Peace (2010).

The New Zealand Derby is the only New Zealand classic to so far elude him. He finished third aboard Castlzeberg in 2013.

Meritorious runs from Guineas placegetters: Richards Edmunds, The Informant Sat, 08 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
While Turn Me Loose was a dominant, effortless and emphatic winner of today’s Gr. 1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas, several of the beaten runners produced highly meritorious performances.

Fastnet Rock colt Rockfast, a $410,000 yearling purchase, produced a powerful late run down the outside of the track to snatch second place for trainer Jason Bridgman and rider Matt Cameron.

“We’re stoked,” Te Akau Racing’s stable manager Jeff Dore said. “It’s a great result. He’s always been effortless in running time in his work, which has given Jason a big opinion of him from the start. He’s lived up to it today.”

Rockfast was placed in three runs at two including the Listed Reid and Harrison Slipper at Matamata, but he looks more and more like a potential Derby horse with every start he makes.

“He had to be ridden upside down as a two-year-old to do some things that didn’t come naturally to him,” Dore said. “He still got beaten only a lip in the Slipper. But Jason believes he can get a trip and he’ll be set on a Derby campaign.”

Prince Mambo was second to O’Marilyn in the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes last season and earned his second Group One placing with a late run into third place today, three-quarters of a length behind Rockfast. He is trained by Stephen McKee and was ridden by Jonathan Riddell.

It was a terrific performance from the son of Thewayyouare, who stumbled at the start and lost a stack of ground. He was then trapped wide throughout the journey. He overcame his rocky run to finish the race off as well as any runner not named Turn Me Loose.

“He’s run his guts out,” Go Racing My Way Syndicate manager Albert Bosma said. “The winner still would have won, but with a better start and trip he could have been second. We’ll take him home now and give him a couple of weeks off. It was a great run, and didn’t we have a yell?”

McKee said the Derby would also be on the agenda for Prince Mambo.

“We’ll aim towards the Derby,” the Ardmore trainer said. “He’ll know he’s had a run today but he did well.”

Filly Platinum Witness produced a brave and strong effort to finish fourth, half a neck away from Prince Mambo. Stratocaster was another half-head away in fifth.

Saint Or Sinner gives lift for Moroney: Mathew Toogood, The Informant Sat, 08 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
Saint Or Sinner has given trainer Mike Moroney and his team a morale-boosting win at Flemington.

The Moroney-trained Araldo, seventh in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup before breaking his leg in an accident while returning to scale.

Saint Or Sinner, who races in the same colours as Araldo, was sent out a $12 chance in today's Antler Luggage Handicap (1600m) and prevailed by a long head over Pin Your Hopes ($13).

Moroney said it had been a tough spring for his stable but he appreciated the support his team had received since Tuesday.

"We've been overwhelmed by the thousands of people on social media that have sent messages," Moroney said. "I'd like to thank them for that because it makes it a little bit easier."

Saint Or Sinner's part-owner Rupert Legh, who also was in the ownership of Araldo, said it had been one of his toughest weeks in racing.

"He (Araldo) was just one of those special horses," Legh said. "He was just a special animal, just in stature and character. It just hurt, the way it happened."

Moroney praised the ride of James McDonald and said the gelding had always had talent.

Early double for Te Akau and Cameron: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Sat, 08 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014

Wolfwhistle (nearer, Matt Cameron) scores an impressive win over My Chino (Chris Johnson) at Riccarton today.
Wolfwhistle (nearer, Matt Cameron) scores an impressive win over My Chino (Chris Johnson) at Riccarton today.

Te Akau Racing, Jason Bridgman and Matt Cameron will join forces with Rockfast in the Gr. 1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas later this afternoon at Riccarton, and an early double with Bronte Lass and Wolfwhistle got the team’s big day off to the perfect start.

Bronte Lass came out on top after an exciting tussle down the straight with Locket, while Wolfwhistle towered over his opposition on paper and was too good for them on the track as well.

Cameron rode a tactical race on the talented Bronte Lass, never letting his most dangerous rival out of sight and then timing his run to perfection. Locket tried her best to stay with the northern raider but Bronte Lass gradually asserted her authority down the stretch and scored by just under two lengths.

“I knew I had the horse,” the winning rider said. “Locket was right in front of me all the way, so I knew all I had to do was to get past that and I was away. She travelled nicely and finished it off really really well.”

A six-year-old daughter of Stravinsky and the Sadler’s Wells mare Little Dorrit, Bronte Lass now has five wins and 11 placings to her name in her 24-start career. She returned a dividend of $3.30 today and ran the 1600 metres in 1:38.76.

“She’s a progressive mare,” Cameron enthused. “She’s going to go places and she’s going to keep winning.”

Wolfwhistle has had a bit to live up to, being a son of champion sire O’Reilly and dual Group One winner Legs and a $240,000 purchase at Karaka. But the four-year-old has made giant strides this season and made it three wins in a row in the Muritai Marketing Premier.

Sent out at prohibitive odds in Rating 85 grade after winning the Listed Spring Classic at this track last start, Wolfwhistle lived up to expectations with a classy display. He tracked leader Red Ripper all the way around the track, cruised to the lead at the top of the straight and put My Chino and Colonel Carrera away with plenty up his sleeve.

“He was dominant,” Cameron said. “We weren’t sure how the race would pan out. Jason said the key was to get him breathing comfortably and happy, so I had him forward and outside the leader this time. He was happy there. He travelled up really well and was too good for them.”

It was a frustrating time for Balcairn trainers John and Karen Parsons, whose runner Locket and My Chino both had to settle for second to the Te Akau winners.

Wolfwhistle has now had 11 starts for five wins and a placing, earning more than $85,000 in stakes. But he is worth significantly more than that. Despite a placid nature that has fooled some into mistaking him for a gelding, Wolfwhistle is an entire and could be in line for a stud career if his outstanding racetrack results continue.

Rockfast will bid for a Te Akau, Bridgman and Cameron hat-trick in the Guineas later this afternoon. He is the seventh favourite for the race at 13 to one.

Flemington may honour Araldo: Mathew Toogood, The Informant Sat, 08 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
Owner Rupert Legh says he has discussed the possibility of having a horse walkway at Flemington named in honour of Araldo.

Araldo had to be euthanised after breaking a leg in a freak accident while returning to the mounting yard after running seventh in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. The horse was spooked by a flag-waving racegoer.

Araldo's death prompted changes to post-race procedures for the remaining Group One races of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Legh said ways of honouring Araldo had already been brought up with the Victoria Racing Club.

"Because he's basically going to be the catalyst behind having the way horses come back in to scale changed, we thought it might be appropriate that the lane where they come in now be called Araldo Lane," Legh said.

"I think that will be going before the committee at the next committee meeting."

It's been a tough few days for the connections of the Mike Moroney-trained Araldo and the people close to the horse.

Legh has runners in feature races this afternoon including the Moroney-trained Rhythm To Spare in the Gr. 1 Emirates Stakes.

Chautauqua, a horse trained by Team Hawkes, is favourite in the Darley Classic, while Big Memory is in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

"Hopefully Lady Luck will be out there smiling on us tomorrow," Legh said.

Chambord out of Coupland's Mile with serious leg injury: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Sat, 08 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
Pre-post favourite Chambord has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Gr. 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile after pulling up with a serious foreleg injury from his final gallop at Matamata this morning.

The Jason Bridgman-trained four-year-old had been at the top of calculations for the middle day Riccarton feature with a spring formline of three second placings. The most recent of those came behind subsequent Melbourne Cup day winner Atacama in the Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup on October 11.

Last season the Zabeel gelding also finished second in the Gr. 1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas and Listed Ray Coupland Stakes and third in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas.

Chambord was due to be flown to Christchurch later today, but instead faces an uncertain future after X-rays taken this morning revealed a cannon-bone fracture of his near-side foreleg. He has been transported to Hamilton Veterinary Services’ Te Rapa clinic for surgery.

“It’s an undisplaced fracture and he’s about to undergo surgery to have screws inserted to stabilise the injury,” said an understandably disappointed Bridgman. “The initial X-ray vision is that there’s no actual movement in the fracture, so that’s a positive.

“There will be a long healing process and at the end of it the chance that he will race again, but at this stage the priority is that the surgery and initial recovery go well.”

The 16-horse field for the $230,000 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile is headed by 2012 and 2013 winners Nashville and Scapolo, with the next in the handicap Gr. 1 Manco Easter Handicap winner Albany Reunion.

Farewell Roughie, you were a champion: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Fri, 07 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014

Hall of Fame galloper Rough Habit has died at the age of 28.
Hall of Fame galloper Rough Habit has died at the age of 28.

Tributes are flowing at news of the passing of the freakish galloper Rough Habit, who was euthanised at Cambridge Lodge this morning.

The New Zealand Hall of Famer’s death at the age of 28, in a week when racing has been slated over the deaths of two horses after the Melbourne Cup, is a timely reminder that racing does look after its wonderful servants.

At the end of a racing career that saw him compete in four countries, the bay son of non-winners Roughcast and Certain Habit had won 29 races for stakes in excess of $5 million. His 11 Group One wins included three Doomben Cups and two Stradbroke Handicaps in Queensland, as well as in races in Sydney and Melbourne. His many placings were headed by a nose second to fellow Kiwi galloper Solvit in the Cox Plate.

Bred in Hawkes Bay by Isabel Roddick, Rough Habit was trained throughout his seven-season, 74-start career by fellow Hall of Famer John Wheeler.  The Taranaki horseman was lavish in praising his unlikely hero when he spoke with www.theinformant.co.nz this morning.

“He had a blue collar pedigree and blue collar looks, but he was nothing short of a bloody champion,” Wheeler said. “He did things that no other horse could; whether it was 1200 or 2400 metres, wet or dry, there so many times when he was just unbeatable.

“He also had a personality that I’ve never encountered in another horse. He was almost human, he would follow you anywhere, around the stable he knew the routine exactly.

“He knew when it was raceday and would shiver and sweat up before we headed to the races.”

Two races stick out in Wheeler’s mind in exemplifying the warrior horse. “His second Stradbroke, when he drew the outside, carried topweight and had to come from last on the turn, that was an extraordinary performance. Jimmy Cassidy said he didn’t even have to steer him, Roughie knew exactly what he had to do.

“The other race was his last in Australia, the O’Shea Stakes at Eagle Farm when he was rising nine. He was out of form and everyone knew this was his swansong. It was as if he knew too, he rose to the occasion.

“Between them Wayne Wilson (commentator) and Roughie made it so memorable. It was very emotional for me and I’d say everyone else there, you just never forget those days.”

Rough Habit’s death comes less than a month after the passing of another great galloper Veandercross, who Wheeler trained for the Australian part of his career. Veandercross and Rough Habit engaged in a memorable battle as they finished first and second in the 1992 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.

“They were both great horses and I think it says a lot for how we care for our horses after they’ve finished racing. It’s great that they were able to live out such long lives.”

Rough Habit had just one further start after his O’Shea victory, finishing second in the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in August 1995, after which he was retired to Cambridge Lodge and over nearly two decades was the most popular member of the Horse Expo tourist attraction.

“He was without doubt our star act,” says Cambridge Lodge manager Lee Somervell. “He loved the attention and everyone took a shine to him, especially the Aussie visitors who all wanted their photograph taken with him.

“He held hero status with them and he lapped it all up.”

Rough Habit’s achievements at various Queensland winter carnivals resulted in a bar at Doomben racecourse and a lead-up race to the Queensland Derby being named in his honour.

“Just three or four years ago he was flown to Brisbane to lead out the Stradbroke Handicap field,” recalled Somervell. “Shane Scriven rode him and he said he was flat holding him. He obviously just loved being a racehorse.”

In the past year old age began to catch up with Roughie, with his feet giving him particular trouble. After on-going veterinary attention the decision was made this week that the end was nigh.

“Our vet said it wouldn’t be fair to prolong the inevitable, so we put him to sleep this morning and he was buried in a special place on the property.

“It’s the end of an era for everyone involved with the old boy,” added Somervell. “He’ll leave a big gap in a lot of lives.”

Xcellent's dam in foal to Ferlax: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Fri, 07 Nov 2014
10 Nov 2014
The combined efforts of Cambridge’s Wentwood Grange and Karaka’s Haunui Farm have enabled the dam of dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Xcellent to return a positive test to first season sire Ferlax.

The 21-year-old Centro mare Excelo has had a chequered breeding career in recent times, producing just one foal – a colt by Thewayyouare in 2012 – over the past seven years. Reflecting that frustration, Excelo’s left her with the Hawkins family of Wentwood Grange to try their luck.  

“We now breed Excelo in partnership with Graham Gimblett, she’s had a bad history so he has left the mare with us and we manage her and do all of the work with her here at Wentwood," explained Dean Hawkins.

“We had considered Ferlax early in the season but knowing her history and how difficult she can be to get in foal, we thought we would keep the float trip as short as possible and walked her out closer to home a couple of times.

“But we had no luck, so we decided to revert to our original idea of sending her to Ferlax and she got in foal first pop. Now all we have to do is keep her that way!”

Apart from Xcellent, the winner of four Group One races amongst his eight victories and third in the Melbourne Cup, Excelo is the dam of four winners from six foals to race, including the stakes-placed Instructor and Rockferry.

Both Xcellent and Ferlax are by the leading sire Pentire, which means that the foal that Excelo is now carrying will be a three-quarter sibling to the New Zealand Derby and Kelt Capital Stakes winner.

In common with champion stallions Zabeel, Pins and Flying Spur, Ferlax won the Gr. 1 Australian Guineas and since going to stud has had the continuing support of his Australian owner Jonathon Munz.

ACCEPTANCES FOR MATAMATA NEXT WEDNESDAY!
08 Nov 2014

We are racing next Wednesday 12 November here at Matamata.

 

Here are the Acceptances.

Acceptances for 121114 Matamata.pdf 

Go to http://www.nzracing.co.nz/RaceInfo/43345/Meeting-Overview.aspx for the finer details.

See you all here on Wednesday!  Have a great weekend.

ARB Releases Horse Death Statement: Breeding & Racing, Thursday, 6th November 2014
06 Nov 2014Following Tuesday's deaths – in separate non-aligned circumstances – of two Melbourne Cup runners, the Australian Racing Board's CEO Peter McGauran issued the following statement: "The tragic deaths of Admire Rakti and Araldo in separate incidents at the Melbourne Cup have understandably raised questions in the wider community. Australia's racing authorities, who have the safety and health of horses and their riders as an absolute priority above all else, want the facts to be known so that members of the community can make informed judgments on the issues. In the 2013-14 racing season, there were 189,259 starters in 19,511 races. The number of fatalities for the season is yet to be confirmed, but assuming it is at the high end of 125 that extremists claim, this represents a fatality ratio of 0.07% of starters. Every death of every horse is a tragedy for its loving owner, trainer and strapper and a sad occasion for racing participants. But such fatalities are unpredictable despite the care of stable veterinarians and regulatory veterinarians on duty at every race meeting in Australia. Each fatality is followed by an autopsy and of the hundreds done to date, most, if not all, have found that there was no detectable pre-existing condition in the horse. Racing is amongst the most regulated and accountable industries, let alone sports, in Australia. We are proud of our animal welfare standards which are rigorously overseen by racing stewards. The fact is that in all human and animal sports, there are unforeseen accidents and deaths. Every livestock farmer knows this only too well. Racing strives to build on its outstanding record of veterinary care and innovative science and will consider the circumstances of the tragic losses of Admire Rakti and Araldo. But it will do so on the basis of facts and science not the exploitive claims of extremists whose stated goal is to close down the racing industry."
Cropp returns to the saddle: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 06 Nov 2014
06 Nov 2014
Three-time premiership winner Lisa Cropp will have her first ride since 2012 at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Three-time premiership winner Lisa Cropp will have her first ride since 2012 at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Controversial former champion jockey Lisa Cropp will make her comeback to race riding at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Cropp, 44, has been booked for three rides aboard horses trained by Windsor Park Stud's private trainer Chris McNab - Rolling In The Deep, Double Parked and Trepidation.

Cropp, who won the New Zealand jockeys' in 2005, 2006 and 2007, was banned for nine months in 2009 after testing positive to methamphetamine in 2005.

She returned to riding in 2010 in Melbourne and rode there for 17 months before returning to New Zealand, where she edged closer to 1000 wins in this country.

She will be out to add to that tally of 970 New Zealand wins on Saturday when she returns for the first time since June 25, 2012. Her last win came aboard the Mark Brosnan-trained Danrose at Tauranga two days earlier. Soon afterwards she announced she was putting her racing career on hold to follow a career in showjumping. 

Cropp was unable to be contacted but posted on Facebook: "I’m returning to the race track this Saturday!"

McNab was delighted to have the services of Cropp, who applied for the position of trackwork rider at Windsor Park and got the job, sparking aspirations of returning to raceday riding.

"She's fit and keen and I'm pleased to have her on," McNab said. "She's world-class. You forget just how good a rider she is but you see her riding trackwork and it's all there. We're putting our clangers on the line but Roddy and Nelson [Schick, Windsor Park Stud owners] have been down to see her ride and they're happy.

"She starts with a clean slate with us. I've got no qualms about putting her on. I'll be quite happy to hand her the colours on Saturday."

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