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Pure Champion up for Awapuni challenge: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 11 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Pure Champion will return to the Central Districts on Saturday week for the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes at Awapuni.

The former Hong Kong galloper has taken no harm from his unplaced run last time out in the Gr. 1 Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham.

“He was only about two and a half lengths from the winner after overdoing things in front,” co-trainer Andrew Scott said. “We’re hoping he’ll improve rapidly.

“We’re also taking the two-year-old Strata Lady down there and looking forward to her racing. She won impressively at the Rotorua trials.”

Matamata trainers spread three-year-old forces: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 11 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott will have fillies chasing black type at Awapuni on Saturday and three-year-olds at two other venues considered to be future stakes contenders. 

Orange Peel and Attention Seeker will go head to head in the Gr. 3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes while Suffire will strive to break her maiden at Tauranga tomorrow and likewise Mary Quant at Ellerslie on Sunday.

“The two fillies are going to Awapuni in good form and we’re happy with both of them,” Andrew Scott said. “Saturday will give us a good guide as to whether they can run a bit further. They might have their work cut out to beat O’Marilyn if she’s back on her game, but our two are in good condition.

“Orange Peel is out of a Canny Lad mare, but she’s by Duke Of Marmalade and they can stay a bit. The way she ran the 1400 metres out last start indicated she’ll get a mile.

“Attention Seeker is by Fast ‘N’ Famous and her dam won the Australian Oaks so she’s got a pedigree to suggest she can stick on.”

Both fillies are last-start winners while Suffire looks on the verge of a breakthrough and she will get her chance in the Metalcraft Roofing 1600 at Tauranga tomorrow.

“We were really pleased with her run at Te Rapa as she had to do a bit of work to get outside the leader,” Scott said.

Suffire is Group One nominated for both the TV3 New Zealand Derby and the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks, as is Mary Quant who is on the ballot at Tauranga but in Sunday’s Lindsay Racing Mile at Ellerslie.

“If we can get them out of maidens we’ll be looking at the better races for both of them,” Scott said.
Noble sets stakes targets for fillies: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Matamata trainer Lance Noble has black-type ambitions for a gifted pair of last-start maiden winners.

The three-year-olds Bohemian Lily and Realta both opened their accounts at Te Rapa last month and promise to handle the step up to feature races.

Well-related O’Reilly filly Bohemian Lily was successful over 1400 metres at her fourth appearance and she will step up to a mile in Saturday’s Gr. 3 Lawn Master Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni.

“It fits in nicely and I think the further she goes the better and the Oaks distance should be spot on for her later,” Noble said.

The Kevin Hickman-owned three-year-old is a sister to the dual Group One Australian Derby and Guineas winner Shamrocker and a half-sister to the Gr. 3 Sunline Vase winner and Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks placegetter Rock Diva.

“She’s always showed plenty of ability, but she’s needed a few runs to get everything right,” Noble said.

Realta was a second-up winner over a mile and will have one more outing before taking on Group company.

“There’s a special conditions race at Te Rapa on Saturday for her and as long as she goes well again then she’ll run in the Royal Stakes,” Noble said.

“She’s a genuine stayer and has kept improving and developing. She botched the start last time, but Cameron (Lammas) rode her beautifully from there and she hit the line really strongly.” 

The half-sister by Red Giant to the winner and recent placegetter Longbeach, Realta is raced by an Easdon Lodge syndicate managed by Noble’s wife Leigh.

Recovery signs encouraging for injured jockey: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
Signs are encouraging that seriously injured apprentice jockey Chris Dell is out of danger following his fall at yesterday’s Ruakaka trials.

Dell sustained significant head injuries in the fall, which is believed to have happened when the horse he was riding suffered spontaneous fractures to both forelegs and fell heavily in the home straight.

The trials were initially delayed and then abandoned, while Dell was attended to by medics before being helicoptered to Auckland Hospital. According to his mother Birdie, the 22-year-old remains under sedation, but initial scan results are encouraging.

“We’ll know more later today but at this stage they’re keeping him sedated and on a ventilator,” Mrs Dell told www.theinformant.co.nz. “Apparently it was a very heavy fall and he took quite a knock.

“The CT scan showed his brain isn’t swollen, so that’s a relief, and he’s got full movement of his limbs.

“Now it’s a matter of waiting until they think is the best time to bring him out of sedation and taking it from there, but we’re hoping that he’s going to be alright.”

McDonald to ride Rockfast at Ellerslie on New Year's Day: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
James McDonald will be in action at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, having been booked this week to ride Rockfast in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas.

Owned by Te Akau and trained by Jason Bridgman, Rockfast has been ridden in the majority of his starts by stable rider Matt Cameron, including a strong second to Turn Me Loose in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas last start.

But Cameron is forming a formidable association with the exciting galloper Volkstok’n’barrell, a race rival for Rockfast in the Guineas, and Te Akau have agreed to release their number-one rider from his contractual obligations on this occasion.

“I have encouraged Matt to ride this three-year-old gelding when he has the option,” Te Akau principal David Ellis said on the Te Akau website. “It’s very seldom a jockey gets on an exceptional horse. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest for Matt to get off this good horse.”

Superstar expat McDonald, who has previously won the Great Northern Guineas aboard Le Baron in 2008 and Zarzuela in 2009, has answered the call from his former employers.

“We have engaged James McDonald, Sydney’s champion jockey and former stable jockey for Te Akau Racing, to ride Rockfast in the Great Northern Guineas,” Ellis said. “It will be great to have Macca back in the country, and even better with his Te Akau tangerine back on.”

Bridgman pair aiming for Ellerslie features: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Tue, 09 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
Darci's Dream is on target for Ellerslie Christmas racing.
Darci's Dream is on target for Ellerslie Christmas racing.

Rockfast and Darci’s Dream, the Jason Bridgman-trained pair of three-year-olds who finished second in their respective New Zealand 2000 and 1000 Guineas assignments, are back in full work as they prepare for holiday season racing.

Both talented gallopers were given a let-up of 10 days following their return from Christchurch and are scheduled to start at next week’s Te Aroha trials.

Rockfast finished second in the Sothy’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas on the first day of the Riccarton carnival, making up a big slice of ground in the final stages to head the chase after dominant winner Turn Me Loose.  

Bridgman intends starting the Fastnet Rock colt in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas over 1600 metres at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, the first step towards the New Zealand Derby two months later. Rockfast is well up the order for the classic at a quote of $10 on the TAB’s fixed odds market.

Darci’s Dream, who put up a brave bid for her placing in the New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas on the final day at Riccarton, is headed for the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“They’ve both done very well since Riccarton and are well on target for Ellerslie,” Bridgman said at the Matamata track this morning after the pair had got through pleasing fast work. “Depending on how she goes in the Eight Carat, we might look at backing the filly up in the Royal Stakes on the last day at Ellerslie.”   

Bridgman also expressed his satisfaction with the progress made by his star juvenile Windborne, a sister to Darci’s Dream, who remained unbeaten with her smart win in the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes at Avondale last month.

She was allowed striding work this morning as she continued her preparation for the Gr. 3 Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.     
Time called on I Do's racing career: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Tue, 09 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014

I Do and Opie Bosson score an emotion-charged victory in the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate.
I Do and Opie Bosson score an emotion-charged victory in the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate.

Time has been called on the career of outstanding racemare I Do, the most successful ever to race in the Waikato Stud colours.

The joint decision between trainer Allan Sharrock and fellow owner-breeder Mark Chittick follows the grey’s effort for fifth in the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham on Saturday. I Do, the winner of 15 races and more than $540,000, is in foal to Savabeel, who stands alongside her own sire No Excuse Needed at Waikato Stud.

“She will be missed but all good things come to an end,” said Sharrock. “She was an honest, honest mare who always tried to please and was extremely low maintenance.

“We worked it out and in her 38 starts she finished in the top four placings on 31 of those occasions. She just ran out of petrol on Saturday and she means too much to us to continue to race her like that. Fifteen months of work takes its toll and she has nothing left to prove.”

It took 23 starts for I Do to break through for a black-type success, in the Listed Rotorua Stakes in May, 2013, but that was only the start of an extraordinary run of form as a six and seven-year-old.

In her final start of 2013 she won the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes, added another Rotorua Stakes in May, and then in a career-defining sequence she won the Listed Tauranga Classic, an emotion-charged Gr. 3 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate and then her crowning glory, the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.

She was to have four further starts, resulting in second in the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate, second in the Gr. 3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes, third in the Gr. 2 Tauranga Stakes and finally her fifth in the Captain Cook Stakes.

“We’re extremely proud of her achievements,” commented Mark Chittick, who will now take over care of the bonny mare. “Lady Aloof was the stud’s all-time benchmark horse in terms of the most wins and it’s taken 25 years to better her achievements.

“”It’s been an enjoyable few years and I have to say it’s been a masterful training effort to keep her up so long and to see her achieve what she has.”

Kasim back for busman's holiday: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Mon, 08 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
Leading Singapore apprentice Harry Kasim will be available for rides on the first two days of the Ellerslie carnival.
Leading Singapore apprentice Harry Kasim will be available for rides on the first two days of the Ellerslie carnival.

Leading Singapore apprentice Harry Kasim plans to make the most of the Christmas break on the Kranji scene with a busman’s holiday in New Zealand.

It will be a return to familiar territory for Malaysian-born Kasim, who rode 83 winners during the New Zealand stage of his apprenticeship before heading home in 2012. Under his official riding name K A’Isisuhairi – an abbreviation of his full name Mohd A’Isisuhairi Bin Kasim – he made the most of his initial three-kilogram claim to ride 73 winners last season.

This year the wins have not been as prolific, but with two racedays remaining in the 2014 season his 35 wins look enough to add a second apprentice title.

“My claim is down to one kilo now and with only 12 of my New Zealand wins being rated as city wins up here, I’ve still got another 20 wins to go before I lose my claim,” Kasim told www.theinformant.co.nz from Singapore today.

“I can’t complain, I’m pretty happy with the way things are going. I’m looking forward to the break though. It will be a good chance to catch up with all my Kiwi friends and hopefully pick up some rides.”

Kasim plans to make himself available to ride on the first two days of the Ellerslie carnival – December 26 and 28 – before heading back to Singapore in time for the Kranji New Year’s Day programme.

He has commissioned Auckland jockey agent Mike Brown to manage his bookings.     
Exciting three-year-old heading to Ellerslie: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Mon, 08 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014

Ocean Emperor (Craig Grylls) scores an eye-catching debut win at Te Rapa last month.
Ocean Emperor (Craig Grylls) scores an eye-catching debut win at Te Rapa last month.

Exciting three-year-old Ocean Emperor is scheduled to have his next start in a 1400-metre age-group race at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

The Gary Hennessy-trained colt confirmed smart trial form with an against the odds win at Te Rapa on November 23, when he almost threw the race away by running off on the home turn. Despite giving away lengths in the wayward incident, he reclaimed the lead and held out a late bid from another talented three-year-old, Raj Mahal.  

Ocean Emperor races in the same three-way ownership as Cox Plate winner Ocean Park, comprising Hennessy and Hong Kong businessmen Andrew Wong and Steve Yan. By Zabeel from the stakes-winning Pins mare Tootsie, he cost the trio $450,000 from Waikato Stud’s 2013 Karaka Premier draft.

“We’ve had to watch his shins but he’s come through Te Rapa in good shape,” Hennessy said. “The Ellerslie race looks just right, so hopefully we’ll get to that and then decide where to from there.”

Hennessy doesn’t disguise his regard for the handsome bay, describing him as “a lot sharper” than Ocean Park at this stage of his career and likewise destined for the top. Ocean Emperor is not entered for any three-year-old features on the domestic calendar, with Hennessy’s long-term goal the 1600-metre Randwick Guineas at the Sydney autumn carnival.

In the meantime, Hennessy is looking forward to his annual trip to Hong Kong International week, which begins with Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting featuring the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship.

Of special interest will be the first leg of the series, in which Hennessy’s purple, white and red colours will be worn by champion international jockey Ryan Moore atop Ocean Power, a half-brother to dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon.

“Steve (Yan) rang me earlier today highly excited that he’s scored Ryan Moore in the ballot for riders,” Hennessy told www.theinformant.co.nz. “They’re all good jockeys in the series, but it’s something special for Steve to know he’s got the very best of them.”

Ocean Power, a five-year-old by High Chaparral trained by Ricky Yiu, has won two of his 11 starts over 1800 and 2200 metres. Wednesday’s 1650-metre race will be his first at Happy Valley.  

Viadana on the mend: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Mon, 08 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014Multiple Group One winner Viadana is on the easy list after a frustrating Melbourne spring campaign.

She was unplaced in three appearances and returned home the worse for wear, according to trainer Lance Noble.

“We’ve had all sorts of problems since she got back,” he said. “She felt the hard ground in Australia and she had a deep-seated stone bruise that took an age to work its way out.

“She’s improving all the time now and I’d like to have another go at the Te Aroha race in the autumn.”

Viadana claimed the third Group One victory of her career when she won the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes in April.

Busy times ahead for blue and white hoops: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Mon, 08 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014

Pegasus Stakes winner Silver Eclipse has been confirmed for the Railway and Telegraph sprints in the weeks ahead.
Pegasus Stakes winner Silver Eclipse has been confirmed for the Railway and Telegraph sprints in the weeks ahead.

Horses racing in the blue and white hooped colours of Sir Peter Vela have exciting and busy times ahead of them as summer feature racing heats up.

On Saturday at Ellerslie the Stephen Ramsay/Julia Ritchie-rained Duquesa labelled her staying prospects with a smart performance in the Rating 75 Dunstan Feeds Championship Qualifier, her second middle-distance win in recent weeks.

The daughter of Encosta De Lago and champion stayer Ethereal holds nominations for both the Dunstan Feeds Final and the Gr. 3 City Of Auckland Cup, both to be run at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, as well as the Gr. 2 Wellington Cup later in January.

“We’re not 100 per cent certain yet, but given she’s out of Ethereal, I know Sir Peter would love to get some black type with her,” the Pencarrow team’s racing manager Garry Cossey told www.theinformant.co.nz today. “I ran a list of options past him yesterday and I’m just waiting to hear back before her programme is confirmed.”

Another more immediate option for the five-year-old is the Gr. 3 Manawatu Cup at Awapuni on December 20. “She’s gone up to a rating of 75 after the weekend, so that might be a race she could sneak into and then head to Ellerslie,” Cossey added.

Should Duquesa bypass the Dustan Final, the Vela colours are likely to still have a presence via another impressive last-start winner, Rasa Lila. The Darci Brahma four-year-old’s career began with one win and several placings from seven starts in Victoria.

She was having her third start for Ramsay and Ritchie when she capped two second placings with a smart win over 2100 metres at Ellerslie late last month and will chase Dunstan series points at Te Rapa on December 20.

New Year’s Day targets are also in mind for the Ramsay/Ritchie-trained Silver Eclipse, who is entered for the Railway Stakes, and imported mare Scintillula, who may well go from the Zabeel Classic on Boxing Day into the City Of Auckland Cup.

“Silver Eclipse got black type in the Pegasus Stakes at Riccarton and the plan is to try and get some Group One form in the Railway and Telegraph” Cossey said. “She’s still lightly raced and pretty much untapped.”

Galileo mare Scintillula, the winner of two of her 11 starts in Ireland and fourth in the Irish Oaks, was an eye-catching fourth in her 1600-metre New Zealand debut last month and will go direct to the Gr. 1 Zabeel Classic.

“Sir Peter says that she backed up super in Ireland, so the plan at this stage is to run her in both races at the Ellerslie carnival,” Cossey said.

The Shaune Ritchie-trained Atacama, who followed her Listed Matamata Cup win with another over 1800 metres at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day, is scheduled to drop back to 1600 metres this weekend in the Gr. 2  Cal Isuzu Stakes at Te Rapa.

“We’re keeping an eye on the weather forecast and hoping the track remains reasonable, but hopefully she can run and then be aimed at the Thorndon Mile,” explained Cossey. “As it stands, under the conditions she gets into the race with just 54 kilos.”

In Style digs deep to win thrilling Concorde: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Sat, 06 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014

In Style (inner, Michelle Wenn) fights strongly and comes out on top of Ryan Mark (Michael Coleman) in a close finish to the Gr. 3 Lindauer Concorde Handicap.
In Style (inner, Michelle Wenn) fights strongly and comes out on top of Ryan Mark (Michael Coleman) in a close finish to the Gr. 3 Lindauer Concorde Handicap.

Classy mare In Style punished all who overlooked her and scored her second consecutive stakes win with a courageous performance to win the Gr. 3 Lindauer Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie at double-figure odds.

In the process she did something no other horse has been able to do in 2014 – she beat Ryan Mark. The favourite brought an imposing six-race winning streak into today’s feature and ran another mighty race, clearly heading In Style and looking set for his seventh victory in a row. But In Style refused to surrender and lifted again, fighting for all she was worth and scoring by a nose in a desperate finish.

The others, high-quality sprinters in their own right, were a distant three lengths behind the first pair. Mosse produced a strong late finish along the rail to snatch third spot.

“She fought like a tiger,” In Style’s rider Michelle Wenn said. “She fought really well. Full credit to her.”

Ryan Mark’s owner-trainer John Morell warmly congratulated In Style’s jubilant connections in the stands as the result was confirmed.

Now the winner of six of her 13 starts and a mare of undeniable talent, In Style has nonetheless been at long odds for both of her stakes successes. She won the Listed Counties Bowl in a similarly close finish to return a dividend of $13.80, and her victory today came at $12.40.

Five of In Style’s six wins have come from just six appearances on tracks rated good.

“She really grows another leg on hard tracks,” trainer Danica Guy said. “It took us a while to realise just how much she prefers dry ground. We gave her a few runs on dead and slow tracks and she really didn’t run well. She’s got a good record but it would be even better if she only ran on these good tracks.”

Now a Group One target awaits, with In Style set to shoot for three in a row in the Railway Stakes back at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. She will be Guy’s first ever runner in the time-honoured Group One sprint.

“We’ll go straight to the Railway now,” Guy said. “She’ll go up a kilo in the weights for that but it shouldn’t worry her. She’s a lot stronger this year and is racing so well.”

Rated a $12 chance for the Railway before today’s win, In Style is now the equal second favourite at $5.50 with Bounding. Ryan Mark, who will be well suited under the set weight and penalty conditions of the race, is the $3.50 favourite.

In Style is raced by Matamata couple Paul and Shirlie Ryan. The five-year-old is by Fast ‘N’ Famous out of the Centaine mare Ribadesella, who died in July 2012 at the age of just seven.

“I bred In Style,” Paul Ryan said. “She’s actually the only foal out of the mare.”

The Ryans could be in for an unusual double on New Year’s Day, also being the owner-breeders of City Of Auckland Cup entrant Surpass.

Meanwhile, it was just one of those days for jockey Michael Coleman. Having had a certain victory aboard Puntinato blown away by a riderless horse earlier in the afternoon, he then pulled the wrong rein in the Concorde. The regular rider of both In Style and Ryan Mark, Coleman elected to ride Ryan Mark in the Concorde and was narrowly beaten by In Style.

Karaka 2015
04 Dec 2014Karaka 2015 - The NZ Experience
O'Sullivan and Scott chase feature double: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 04 Dec 2014
04 Dec 2014

Windsor Park Plate winner Pure Champion is a leading chance in Saturday's Gr. 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes.
Windsor Park Plate winner Pure Champion is a leading chance in Saturday's Gr. 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes.

Matamata trainer Lance O'Sullivan is relishing having the firepower to play at the top level again.

The Hall of Fame jockey will produce contenders in two feature races on Saturday with Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate winner Pure Champion tackling the Gr. 1 $200,000 Wellington Rydges Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and Whosyourmaster contesting the Gr. 3 $70,000 Lindauer Concorde Handicap (1200) at Ellerslie.

O'Sullivan, who trains in partnership with Andrew Scott, expects a bold run from former Hong Kong galloper Pure Champion, who was freshened after failing in the Gr. 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings in October. He trialled at Rotorua last week, going down by a head in a 1230m open heat.

"I'm happy with him," O'Sullivan said. "It's different to last time. When he got off the plane he was light in condition and we just had to train him up. 

“This time we've had to work him back to fitness. He did well in the short time he was out in the paddock and he'll probably parade a bit bigger in condition. 

"He was probably working a little bit better going into Hastings, but that's probably more that he's used to the environment now and has relaxed a bit more, so we're not worried. 

“He would probably have been better suited if it was over 1400 metres, but we've set him for this. It's a Group One race and we're hoping we've got it right on the day."

While the Captain Cook Stakes has attracted just a field of eight runners, six are Group One winners and most will progress to the Gr. 1 $200,000 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

"Quite a few of those eight are more than capable of winning," said O'Sullivan, who has retained Craig Grylls to ride. "There's a chance he'll be in the Zabeel Classic too. He failed running 2000 metres at Hastings, but he charged into the first corner and did a few things wrong, so we're happy to give him another chance at a mile and a quarter."

O'Sullivan was expecting another typically honest run from stable sprint star Whosyourmaster.

Bred and raced by Danny and Judy Moss, who shared in the ownership of 2000 Concorde winner O'Malleys Boy, Whosyourmaster produced one of the runs of the race in the Listed Counties Bowl last start, dashing home late for fifth.

"That's just him. He keeps his form pretty consistent. He doesn't change much day to day, the old boy," O'Sullivan said of the six-year-old Captain Rio half-brother to Group One winner Keep The Peace.

"He's up in the weights and he'll need things to go his way, but he's capable if all the ducks line up in a row. He'll be better suited to the set weights and penalties conditions of the Railway Stakes and the Telegraph Handicap."

Teenage apprentice Rory Hutchings, who has had four rides on Whosyourmaster for two wins and two placings, returns to the saddle on Saturday.

Fascination Street, Fascinate Me, Prize Lad, Sound Proposition, Prince Bruno, Giardini, and Persuasive round out the runners for the team this weekend.

Upbeat Allpress excited about future: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Mon, 01 Dec 2014
04 Dec 2014Lisa Allpress is remaining upbeat, despite the shock news that her current overseas contract won’t be renewed.

Both Allpress and Australian jockey Danny Beasley were the surprise omissions when the Singapore Turf Club announced their licensed riders for 2015.

“There’s no ill feeling and I’m excited about future opportunities,” Allpress said. “It’s been an amazing experience and I’m not at all disappointed – in life one door closes and another opens.

“I’ve had 64 winners while I’ve been here and I feel pretty proud of myself. It’s hard competing against the best jockeys from around the world – it’s been 16 months of hard work.”

Allpress, who was New Zealand’s champion rider in 2011-12 with 159 winners, is taking a relaxed approach to the future.

“I haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said. “I’ll get home and have a bit of a holiday and see what happens.

“(Husband) Karl and I have a trip planned in January and I’ll decide after that.”

Sargent looks ahead to Cauthen's autumn: Caryl Williamson, The Informant Mon, 01 Dec 2014
01 Dec 2014

John Sargent is pleased with his new recruit Cauthen's recovery from surgery.
John Sargent is pleased with his new recruit Cauthen's recovery from surgery.

Talented four-year-old Cauthen is breathing easy after throat surgery which his new trainer John Sargent hopes will help him get his career back on track.

Cauthen beat subsequent Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in a Listed race during the 2013 Melbourne spring when trained by New Zealander Andrew Campbell.

He was transferred to another Kiwi, Trent Busuttin, who was based in Melbourne this spring, but failed to live up to expectations in two starts.

The New Zealand connection has continued with ex-pat Sargent, who now trains at Randwick, in charge for his next campaign.

"Cauthen had the same wind operation as So You Think," Sargent said.

"He seems to have come through it well but we haven't put him under any pressure yet.

"The aim is to get a Group One with him next year. He has the ability and now we know he had an excuse."

Sargent is also looking forward to the return of Group One winner Kirramosa who has had problems of her own.

The winner of the 2013 VRC Oaks, Kirramosa missed the autumn with a leg problem and her Caulfield Cup bid was halted when she performed badly in the Caulfield Stakes.

"She has been on the treadmill and will be back in early December," Sargent said. "We will look at all the options for her."

Thunder Lady just failed to emulate her stablemate when second in this year's VRC Oaks and he returned to the stable has been delayed.

"She was getting ready to come back in but she had a temperature for four days so there's about a week's delay in her return," Sargent said.

"Neena Rock is also due back and she will get ready for the Coolmore Classic and the Queen Of The Turf Stakes in the autumn.

"They look like they will suit her."

Neena Rock is another horse Sargent has inherited from New Zealand with the aim of securing a Group One win to boost her value at stud.

She is by Fastnet Rock and her great grand dam is the champion United States mare Miesque, the winner of two Breeders' Cups.

Neena Rock had four starts during the spring with her best result victory in the Group Three Angst Stakes in October.

Sargent looks ahead to Cauthen's autumn: Caryl Williamson, The Informant Mon, 01 Dec 2014
01 Dec 2014

John Sargent is pleased with his new recruit Cauthen's recovery from surgery.
John Sargent is pleased with his new recruit Cauthen's recovery from surgery.

Talented four-year-old Cauthen is breathing easy after throat surgery which his new trainer John Sargent hopes will help him get his career back on track.

Cauthen beat subsequent Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in a Listed race during the 2013 Melbourne spring when trained by New Zealander Andrew Campbell.

He was transferred to another Kiwi, Trent Busuttin, who was based in Melbourne this spring, but failed to live up to expectations in two starts.

The New Zealand connection has continued with ex-pat Sargent, who now trains at Randwick, in charge for his next campaign.

"Cauthen had the same wind operation as So You Think," Sargent said.

"He seems to have come through it well but we haven't put him under any pressure yet.

"The aim is to get a Group One with him next year. He has the ability and now we know he had an excuse."

Sargent is also looking forward to the return of Group One winner Kirramosa who has had problems of her own.

The winner of the 2013 VRC Oaks, Kirramosa missed the autumn with a leg problem and her Caulfield Cup bid was halted when she performed badly in the Caulfield Stakes.

"She has been on the treadmill and will be back in early December," Sargent said. "We will look at all the options for her."

Thunder Lady just failed to emulate her stablemate when second in this year's VRC Oaks and he returned to the stable has been delayed.

"She was getting ready to come back in but she had a temperature for four days so there's about a week's delay in her return," Sargent said.

"Neena Rock is also due back and she will get ready for the Coolmore Classic and the Queen Of The Turf Stakes in the autumn.

"They look like they will suit her."

Neena Rock is another horse Sargent has inherited from New Zealand with the aim of securing a Group One win to boost her value at stud.

She is by Fastnet Rock and her great grand dam is the champion United States mare Miesque, the winner of two Breeders' Cups.

Neena Rock had four starts during the spring with her best result victory in the Group Three Angst Stakes in October.

Rasa Lila looks the goods in Ellerslie win: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Sun, 30 Nov 2014
01 Dec 2014

Rasa Lila (Vinnie Colgan) strides to an impressive win at Ellerslie yesterday.
Rasa Lila (Vinnie Colgan) strides to an impressive win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Promising four-year-old mare Rasa Lila displayed an electric turn of foot to capture the More FM 2100 and serve notice she could be a lightweight contender for staying features later in the season.

Co-trainer Julia Ritchie was delighted with the win and the assessment of the mare by wining rider Vinnie Colgan when the combination returned to the winner’s circle.

“Vinnie was full of praise for the win as he said she didn’t get a lot of luck and had to barge her way into a gap in the home straight before she unleashed a really good sprint,” Ritchie said.

“She had gone two nice races this campaign but she was looking for more ground. That’s why we stepped her up to the 2100 metres and she did exactly what we were hoping for.”

Sporting the familiar blue and white hooped colours of her breeder and owner, Sir Peter Vela, Rasa Lila was having her third start in New Zealand after doing her early racing from the stable of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig in Victoria.

“We knew David Hayes had a good opinion of her but she probably wasn’t quite strong enough in her first campaign over there,” Ritchie said. “Since she has come back and had a good break she has really strengthened up and has gotten better each start.

“She’s such a super horse to do anything with and has bounced through the run beautifully, so we have to sit down now and work out where to go with her.

“We do have her nominated for the Wellington and Auckland Cups, however the first priority will be to get her through the grades as she will still be eligible for Rating 75 race after that win.

“We’ll work out a programme with Gary (Cossey, racing manager) but it is likely she will have another run within the next two weeks as she still has plenty of improvement in her.”

New track ratings to roll out in Australia: AAP Turf, The Informant Sun, 30 Nov 2014
01 Dec 2014
Track descriptions similar to those used in European racing will be introduced across Australia from tomorrow.

In a revamp of Australia's track ratings system, the words `fast', `dead' and `slow' will be scrapped in favour of words designed to give a clearer and more accurate guide. From December 1 tracks will range in desrcription from firm to heavy, with only good and soft ratings in between.

The numerical ratings system will remain in conjunction, with the hardest surface to be rated a firm 1 and the wettest a heavy 10. The changes are being introduced by the Australian Racing Board following consultation with industry members and the public.

"Whilst there's never going to be unanimity of view, I do believe there is as great a consensus as you are ever going to get," ARB chief executive Peter McGauran said. "Importantly, the younger demographic believes the language to be more relevant and easily understood."

The ARB will conduct a separate review to determine if synthetic tracks should have their own specific ratings system. Until that is completed they will carry a `synthetic' rating.

Coleman opts for Ryan Mark in Concorde: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Sat, 29 Nov 2014
01 Dec 2014

Michael Coleman has opted for Ryan Mark in next Saturday's Concorde Handicap.
Michael Coleman has opted for Ryan Mark in next Saturday's Concorde Handicap.

Confirmation of rising northern sprint stars Ryan Mark and In Style for next Saturday’s Gr. 3 Concorde Handicap has left the latter’s trainer Danica Guy having to find a replacement jockey.

Michael Coleman has ridden In Style in all five of her wins, capped by the Listed Counties Bowl at Avondale a week ago, while he was also on board Ryan Mark when that exciting galloper took his winning sequence to six in the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint at Te Rapa three weeks ago. He subsequently made a commitment to the gelding’s owner-trainer John Morell for the Concorde.

Guy had been tossing up whether to run In Style again before the Gr. 1 Sistema Railway Stakes on New Year’s Day but has now opted for the Concorde on the way to the big Ellerslie sprint.

“She’s a mare that has to have firm ground and I’d hate to miss a race like the Concorde and then strike a wet track for the Railway,” explained Guy, who continued her purple patch of form at Otaki yesterday with wins by another emerging sprinter, Tomorrowland, and two-year-old China Silk before racing was abandoned.

“It’s disappointing that Michael has gone for Ryan Mark - not that I can really blame him for taking the ride on a horse like him,” she said. “I’ve got Leith (Innes) on standby for the Concorde, depending on what weight we get, so we’ll just have to wait and see when the noms come out.”

The Concorde, is run under standard handicap conditions, likely to be headed by 104-rated Durham Town, but the scenario around the Railway is somewhat different given its set-weight and penalty conditions. As of now, the Railway is headed by Albany Reunion at 58 kilograms, ahead of Durham Town, last year’s winner Bounding and Ginner Hart on 56kg, then Natuzzi, Whosyourmaster and Ryan Mark on 55.5kg. In Style is currently weighted at just 53.5kg.

The Concorde’s Group Three rating carries a one-kilogram Railway penalty to the winner if it has not won a race of that status in the 18 months up until January 1.

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