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Capella pleasing Guy ahead of spring carnival
19 Jul 2016

The Hawke’s Bay spring carnival tops Danica Guy’s wish list for her quality performer Capella.

The Matamata trainer intends tackling all three legs – the Makfi Challenge Stakes on August 27, the Windsor Park Plate on September 17 and the Livamol Classic on October 1 – with the rising four-year-old.

“She’s coming along nicely and she will have her first proper run along on Tuesday morning,” Guy said. “We’ll look at the trials at Te Teko on August 2 and then carry on to Hastings.

“Hopefully she will have enough points to run in all three and her best opportunity will be on the last day over 2000 metres.”

Capella met and matched the best of her age group during her three-year-old campaign and won the Eight Carat Classic at her fifth appearance.

The Gary Harding-bred and owned daughter of Rip Van Winkle then ran third in the Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic and was a fast-finishing fourth in the New Zealand Derby.

That Ellerslie performance sealed a trip to Sydney where she was close up when fifth and seventh respectively in the Vinery Stud Stakes and the Australian Oaks.

Guy said Capella had made a good recovery after she took ill following a pre-flight spray procedure, along with fellow New Zealand fillies Sofia Rosa and Valley Girl, before her return flight home.

They suffered burns and showed signs of colic following an incorrect dosage of an insect spray treatment.

“She’s fine now and she’s really furnished. She’s a differently type of filly – she’s filled out and looks really well.”

Meanwhile, the well-performed sprinter Tomorrowland is back in Guy’s care after a period with Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.

“He won’t be racing for a while. He’s got foot issues and he’s not the easiest horse to manage,” she said.

NZ Racing Desk

The Informamnt

Jones to make homeland debut at Newbury
16 Jul 2016

English-Kiwi jockey Anna Jones is set to realise a dream in the early hours of tomorrow morning when she dons silks for her first raceday ride in her homeland.

Jones, the winner of 90 races over the past three years as an apprentice with Matamata trainer Karen Fursdon, takes the mount on two-year-old first starter Spinnaker Bay, scheduled to run in the second race at Newbury at 1.30 New Zealand time on Saturday morning.

After growing up near England’s historic Newmarket racing centre, Jones found her way to New Zealand, initially to work in the yearling yard at Kevin Hickman’s Valachi Downs. She grabbed the chance to sign on with Fursdon and within months had opened her account, appropriately on the Hickman-owned Sir Elmo at Te Teko in June, 2013.

As the owner of Spinnaker Bay, Hickman is again the common denominator. Mixing a month’s holiday with family and friends, Jones had hopes to take a raceday ride or two during her sojourn and is now set to line up against the likes of champion jockeys Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori.

Spinnaker Bay is rated a 14-to-one chance by bookmakers, but no matter where Jones finishes on the William Jarvis-trained filly, she will cherish the landmark moment forever.   

Dennis Ryan

The Informant

Underthemoonlight to try her luck in Opunake Cup
12 Jul 2016

Karyn McQuade has her fingers crossed that a rating of 78 is sufficient for her stable star Underthmoonlight to gain a start in next week’s Opunake Cup.

The $65,000 Listed New Plymouth feature invariably attracts a strong field, which will be sponsored this year by Powerworx, but McQuade is confident that Underthemoonlight is up to the challenge.

That same confidence has seen the El Hermano mare, the winner until recently of just one race, take on open company in her last three starts. She was a close and unlucky second at Ellerslie in early June, then her fortunes turned with a win at Te Rapa a week later.

At her only start since she finished a game fourth in the weight-for-age Tauranga Classic, once again proving that she is by no means over-rated by her connections.

McQuade was hoping that Underthemoonlight’s black-type fourth might have earned a rating point or two, but that didn’t happen and now she is adopting a wait-and-see approach to next week’s race.

“Another couple of points and I would have had less of a worry about getting a start, but we’re not giving up hope,” McQuade said after riding the bay in a light workout at Matamata this morning.

“We’ll see what turns up and hopefully she’ll be one of them. She’s thriving and if she gets the chance I’m sure she can give it a shake.”

Dennis Ryan

The Informant

O'Sullivan signs off on landmark Hong Kong season
11 Jul 2016

Paul O’Sullivan made an early start to his mid-year New Zealand sojourn and can now reflect on a rewarding Hong Kong season, which ended yesterday with a personal best of 50 wins.

The 11-time champion New Zealand trainer arrived home last week for some time out with family, even though two meetings remained on the 2015-16 schedule. Last Wednesday at Happy Valley O’Sullivan reached his goal of a half-century of wins when Moment Of Power won a class three sprint on the inner-city track.

“I plan to be back there by the start of August to give me a full month to get to work and be ready for the start of the new season, so I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to get home early,” O’Sullivan told as he reflected on his big season.

“All the work had been done on the handful of runners I had left, so for the past week there was nothing else I could have done.

“As it turned out I got the win I wanted to reach my target of 50 wins. It’s only a number I know, but it still sounds better than 49. It means a lot in Hong Kong to reach that mark.”

O’Sullivan’s tally headed by another Group One win by stable star Aerovelocity earned a total of HK$48.5 million, which converts to around NZ$8.8 million. His 50 wins placed him equal fourth on the premiership, 18 behind Australian expat John Size who took his championship tally to eight.

“After the season got off to a good start I did the numbers and thought that’s what I should be winning,” O’Sullivan added. “So yes, it was very satisfying for everyone involved in my operation to get there.”

O’Sullivan’s final winner, Moments Of Power, had another local connection through being ridden at Happy Valley by former New Plymouth apprentice Kei Chiong, who completed her stupendous season with a double at Sha Tin yesterday.

Chiong’s 37 wins established a raft of benchmarks as the first female jockey to be licensed in Hong Kong for 15 years. She not only secured the apprentice and leading local rider titles, but the ultimate accolade was yesterday's announcement that she also claimed the most popular jockey award as the result of a public vote.

Chiong, who surpassed dominant champion Joao Moreira in the eyes of avid Hong Kong racegoers, is set to make the most of the local off-season by spending the next month with leading South Australian trainer Philip Stokes.

The Informant

Richardson eyes further black type with Group One performer
11 Jul 2016

Matamata trainer Graham Richardson won’t lack spring options for his Group One performer Strada Cavallo.

He has welcomed the well-performed rising four-year-old back to the stable after a good break and a month of pre-training.

“She really has grown and strengthened - I’m very, very happy with her condition,” Richardson said.

“We’d like to get her going through the grades and then be looking at the spring and summer cups and a race like the Te Aroha Breeders’ Stakes would suit her as well – it’s all about getting more black type.”

Strada Cavallo has proved her versatility with a stakes success at 1400 metres and a top-class showing over 2400 metres.

The daughter of Alamosa has only won one race - the Listed John Grigg Stakes – but her quality is reflected by her runner-up finish in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas, a third in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks and Group Three placings in the Lowland Stakes and the Desert Gold Stakes.

Meanwhile, another rising star in the Richardson camp has also begun her spring build-up after a dream two-year-old season.

Volpe Veloce was untroubled to win her autumn debut and her only other start before a break produced a clear-cut victory in the Listed Castletown Stakes at Wanganui.

“She’s in pre-training and the plan is for her to have a trial at Te Teko and then run first-up in the Gold Trail Stakes,” Richardson said.

“She will then go down to the South Island for the three-year-old circuit, the same as Strada Cavallo did earlier this season.”

The Informant

Newmarket tops Jones's bucket list
23 Jun 2016

Anna Jones is hoping her racing dream will come true next month.  

The 24-year-old will spend July at home in England with family and friends, but she also has a professional goal she would love to tick off as well.

“It’s been four and a half years since I was last back so it’s about time I went,” Jones said.

“I come from Newmarket and I’m going to be riding work for William Jarvis, who trains for Kevin Hickman, and for my old boss William Haggas.

“I’ve applied for my licence – I want to fulfil my dream and ride on my home track. I know the likelihood is quite small, but you never know.”

Apprenticed to Matamata trainer Karen Fursdon, Jones is enjoying another good season and she is only two shy of her career-best tally of 37 wins in 2014-15.

“I’ve been pleased and things have been going well,” Jones said. “I’ll be leaving on the 30th of June and I’ll be back riding trackwork here on the 2nd of August.”

In the meantime though, Jones will have an opportunity on Saturday to double her black-type tally for the season.

She posted her first stakes success in the spring when she won the Listed Westbury Classic aboard the Karyn McQuade-trained Kindaleica, and she will partner an in-form stablemate in the Listed Team Wealleans Classic at Tauranga.

“Hopefully I can go out with a bang with Underthemoonlight,” she said. “She’s a very good mare.”

Underthemoonlight was a one-race winner before she handled a sharp rise in class at Te Rapa last time out to beat the open handicappers.

The Informant

Winners Photos 30 March 2016
31 Mar 2016







Pam Gerard appointed to Ballymore Matamata
30 Mar 2016

Experienced horsewoman Pam Gerard is set to take the place of Ballymore Stables’ Matamata resident trainer Chad Ormsby.

Ballymore proprietor and senior trainer Mike Moroney today announced that Gerard has been appointed following Ormsby’s decision to step back from his role as the operation’s New Zealand-based trainer.

“Chad is one of the finest young horsemen in the country and has established himself as an accomplished and promising trainer,” Moroney said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank him for his efforts and input into Ballymore Stables since he came into the partnership in the 2011-12 season.” 

In less than a decade as a jockey, Ormsby rode just short of 300 winners until increasing weight forced him to look at other avenues in racing. That led to his Ballymore role during which his standing in the industry has gone to yet another level.

At age 27, however, he has decided that at some stage in the near future he would like to travel and take in other aspects of life which due to his busy racing activities have not been possible.

“I’m not going anywhere just yet though,” Ormsby said. “Mike has asked me to remain part of Ballymore during the transition, so I’ll continue to ride trackwork as well as breaking in the new crop of yearlings.”       

Pam Gerard trained a total of 91 winners in her own right prior to moving north and commencing as assistant trainer with the successful Te Akau operation in 2011 and she has played a pivotal role since as senior assistant trainer.

This season she was repositioned to manage Te Akau’s South Island branch, from where she played a crucial role last November in the New Zealand 1000 and 2000 Guineas double by Risque and Xtravagant. Her overall input during that period produced 17 wins and 10 placings from 36 starters, including the two Group Ones referred to and another five stakes events.

Gerard has always harboured a desire to train in her own name again and Ormsby, who completed his jockey apprenticeship with her and her partner, former leading jumps jockey Tom Hazlett, was instrumental in facilitating the new training partnership.

While he is looking forward to the next stage in Ballymore’s development, Moroney will also reflect on the successes of the past few seasons.

“Chad has played a key role in our operation, which during his time with Ballymore has produced 115 wins, including six at Group or Listed level for prize-money just short of $2 million.

“Our most notable achievement in partnership was training two additional winners of the Wellington Cup (Graphic and Mister Impatience), taking Ballymore’s tally in the time-honoured race to four.

“It’s very important that we have young talented horsemen such as Chad in our industry and we know he will continue to succeed. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.

“Pam brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and horsemanship to the table and we are very excited to have secured her,” Moroney said. “She will be assisted by my established senior New Zealand-based staff - foreman Scott Magee, racing manager Nick Fairweather and our long-time office manager Dorothy Lennard.

“I am confident that the experience and knowledge within our Matamata operation will ensure that this combination will be a formidable and successful one for our owners.”

Sires' Produce Stakes confirmed for Heroic Valour
23 Mar 2016

Heroic Valour will be given the opportunity to add champion honours to his already unique standing.

The unbeaten colt is one of an international kind as the first Group One juvenile winner sired by the influential stallion Fastnet Rock.

Now Heroic Valour can double his top-level tally with confirmation from Te Akau Racing today that he will contest the Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes on Saturday week, with victory to guarantee him the two-year-old of the season award.

“He’s definitely heading toward Awapuni,” said Stephen Autridge, who prepares Heroic Valour with Jamie Richards.

“We wanted to make sure he came through his last run 110 per cent, which he has, and we’ve kept him ticking over.”

Successful on debut at Trentham in January, Heroic Valour then won the Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper at Matamata before he was too good for a hot line-up in the Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie.

“Obviously he’s still doing plenty wrong and he’s still learning, but he’s still winning. He’s a very, very smart colt,” Autridge said.

“Even though he’s won right-handed, I’m happier with him going left-handed so it’s all looking good for Manawatu.” 

The stable will also be represented in the Awapuni feature by the filly Sassy ‘N’ Smart.

The winner of her first two starts including the Listed Welcome Stakes, she was narrowly beaten from a wide gate when second in the Gr. 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and again drew a poor barrier when sixth in the Diamond Stakes.

Stable jockey Matt Cameron opted for Sassy ‘N’ Smart ahead of Heroic Valour, who was partnered by Jonathan Riddell, at Ellerslie. No decision has been made on riding engagements for Awapuni.

NZ Racing Desk


Xtravagant back for autumn and possible Queensland campaign
21 Mar 2016

In a surprise move, dual Group One-winning colt Xtravagant will return to work next week with one definite local autumn target and a possible Queensland winter campaign on his agenda.

Xtravagant has been spelling at Te Akau Stud since his return from Melbourne, where he was a disappointing eighth in the Australian Guineas. He was inspected yesterday by trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards along with Te Akau principal David Ellis and after discussions it was decided to bring him back into work.

“He’s thrived in the time he’s had out,” Autridge told “He’s put on around 30 kilos and looks fantastic.

“We had two options, to leave him out until the early winter and prepare him for the spring or bring him back now for a late season campaign.

“We decided on the latter, so he’ll be back in the stable next week to be prepared for the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes in late April.  

“All going well and provided we’re happy with him, we’ll then look at Brisbane. The two races he could run in over there are the Doomben 10,000 and the Stradbroke.”

The Gr. 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes is run over 1200 metres at Te Rapa on April 28, while the Doomben 10,000 is scheduled for May 28 and the Stradbroke Handicap for June 11. The headline race of the Queensland winter carnival will return to Eagle Farm this year following major track renovations.

The Doomben 10,000 is contested over 1350 metres for a stake of A$750,000, while the Stradbroke is over 1400 metres and is worth A$1.5 million.

Other discussions that took place yesterday centred on Te Akau’s star two-year-old pair Heroic Valour and Sassy ’N’ Smart. A start has been confirmed for Sassy ’N’ Smart in the Gr. 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes on April 2, whereas a decision has been delayed for her unbeaten stablemate.

“We’ve put that off until next week,” said Autridge. “He’s come through his Ellerslie win good as gold, but we just want to look at it from a long-term point of view and decide whether he needs another run at two.”

Matamata Racing Club Trials Tuesday 22 March 2016
15 Mar 2016
Te Akau tops tables in two nations
15 Mar 2016The tangerine colours of Te Akau Racing were to the fore in both New Zealand and Singapore over the weekend with seven wins in the space of 48 hours, including the Group One victory of Heroic Valour in the Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie. 
“The weekend was massive,” Karyn Fenton-Ellis said. 
“Mark Walker won three races on Friday night and three on Sunday and he’s back leading the premiership in Singapore again after being Champion trainer last year. And then we’ve got Stephen (Autridge) and Jamie (Richards) leading the premiership here in New Zealand. 
“It’s a big team effort and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone.”
Autridge relaxes as Xtravagant lands in good shape
04 Mar 2016

Happy horse, happy trainer.

That neatly sums up Stephen Autridge in Melbourne tonight as he went into something more like relax mode with the safe arrival of Saturday’s Australian Guineas favourite Xtravagant at his temporary Flemington stable early this afternoon.

“He’s happy so I’m happy,” said the Matamata trainer after he had been left to kick stones when Xtravagant’s flight across the Tasman was delayed by a day due to concerns with the brakes on the charter jet.

“All‘s well though, he came off the float as if he owned the place – left quite an impression on all the media waiting for him too I’d say, they know he’s here to rumble.

“Once the cameras had all gone he got the chance to relax. He’s had plenty to drink and he had his head in the bin when we left him.”

Looking at the colt in his box at Leon and Troy Corstens’ Flemington yard, Autridge felt that the delay had been nothing but an anxious interlude for those closest to the horse.

“When we weighed him yesterday he was 508 kilos, he was 510 before he won his last start and 497 back when he won the 2000 Guineas in November. We’ll arrange to weigh him tomorrow, but the good thing is he had a little bit to come and go on.

“First thing in the morning he’ll have a swim, which is his normal routine, and then provided he’s eaten alright tonight, he’ll go for a trot and a bit of a swinging canter.”

Autridge reports that expectations are for a good track after predicted rain failed to eventuate today and no more is forecast before Saturday afternoon.

“That’s what we want,” he added. “We’ve got the draw, the horse has landed, now all we want to do is race.”  

J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Mills Reef Winery 2000
04 Mar 2016

Mills Reef Winery 1200


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Marks Ewen & Associates Kaimai Stakes
04 Mar 2016

Marks Ewen & Associates Kaimai Stakes


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Waikato Stud 1200
04 Mar 2016

Waikato Stud 1200


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stake 27 February 2016 Raceday
04 Mar 2016

J Swap Contractors Ltd Breeders Stakes 2016


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Duncan & Ebbett 1400
04 Mar 2016

Duncan & Ebbett 1400


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Reid & Harrison Ltd Slipper
04 Mar 2016

Reid & Harrison Ltd Slipper


J Swap Contractors' Breeders Stakes 27 February 2016 Raceday: Rich Hill Stud 1400
04 Mar 2016

Rich Hill Stud 1400


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