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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.

Vale Norm Holland, champion jockey, true gentleman: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Mon, 01 Dec 2014
01 Dec 2014
Norm Holland, OBE, made a huge contribution to racing.
Norm Holland, OBE, made a huge contribution to racing.

Racing has lost one of its iconic members with the passing at age 90 of Norman Bannerman Holland, champion jockey and true legend of the turf.

With a list of accolades that include an OBE, recipient of the NZTR Excellence in Contribution to Racing, Ellerslie Legend and life membership of the Auckland Racing Club, it’s clear that Norm Holland left his mark on the sport that was his life and love.

That began as a childhood emigrant from England, followed by a jockey’s apprenticeship in Taranaki and a life-changing youthful indiscretion that was more than balanced by three jockeys’ premierships in the late 1940s and early ’50s.

The list of top horses he rode was headed by champion three-year-old Syntax, while he counted amongst his toughest rivals Bill Broughton, the dominant jockey of the post-War era, along with the Ellis brothers, Larry Wiggins, Jack Mudford and Wally Hooton. Into the 1960s they were followed by Bill and Bob Skelton, Grenville Hughes and David Peake.

Holland retired in the early 1970s with close to 1,000 wins, but he maintained a close link to race-riding for years afterwards. Nearly two decades as Auckland Apprentice School riding master and even longer as jockey liaison officer at most northern racing venues were a measure of the valued contribution he made so willingly.

“Apart from anything else I just love the contact with such a wonderful group of people,” he said at the time. “Everybody has their job to do and I enjoy helping make the whole day work.”

Norm, invariably distinctive as the best dressed man on course, continued his liaison role into his eighties, stepping back only when the demands of travel around the northern district became too challenging. His health deteriorated in more recent times and he spent his final years in care, notwithstanding the daily attention of his beloved wife Myrna.

Experience wins as China Silk takes Otaki opener: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Fri, 28 Nov 2014
28 Nov 2014
Race experience was to the fore in the Courtesy Ford 2yo at Otaki today as third-starter China Silk led all the way and held on to beat an inexperienced field of juveniles in the $20,000 opening event on the Premier programme.

Sent out favourite for the race following the scratching of highly rated debutant Rocanto, China Silk scooted out of the gates to find the lead early in the 1000-metre event.

Celtic Cross and Mr Conductor tried to go forward and put pressure on, but China Silk was unfazed. She travelled beautifully to the turn under Leith Innes and then kicked strongly along the rails to keep the late-finishing Okagbare and Perfect Harmonee at bay. She won the race by a long neck.

“She jumped really well and settled well in the running,” trainer Danica Guy said. “She was probably a bit more educated than the others, having had a couple of starts before this, and that might have helped her today.”

A daughter of Kentucky Derby runner-up and highly promising sire Hard Spun, China Silk was bought for just $9,000 at the South Island session of the National Yearling Sales. After encouraging runs for fourth and third in her first two races, today’s win took her prize-money earnings past the $10,000 mark.

But she is set to race for a lot more money than that in a couple of months’ time.

“She’s heading to the Karaka Million,” Guy said. “She’s probably safely in the field now so we can relax and work out how we get there. But that’s the goal anyway.”

The win continued a terrific week for Guy, who saddled up classy mare In Style for a win in the Listed Counties Bowl last Saturday.

Today’s opening race was run in a time of 57.96 seconds for the 1000 metres on a track rated Dead4.

Investigations ongoing in latest Cropp case: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Fri, 28 Nov 2014
28 Nov 2014

Investigations into the irregular test returned by Lisa Cropp are ongoing.
Investigations into the irregular test returned by Lisa Cropp are ongoing.

Investigations are ongoing before any formal charges are laid in the wake of the irregular drug test returned by comeback jockey Lisa Cropp at yesterday’s Te Awamutu race meeting.

The former champion was one of several jockeys asked to provide a urine sample and the only one of them who failed to pass the interim test. Cropp’s “non-negative” return prompted stewards to stand her down and she will remain sidelined until the matter has been further investigated by the Racing Integrity Unit and any resultant charges are handed on to the Judicial Control Authority for judgment.

Cropp returned to race-riding earlier this month after an injury-enforced absence of two years. From 26 mounts she had yet to ride a winner but finished second in what was to be her final mount, Nek Minnit, early on the Te Awamutu card before being stood down.

It’s almost a decade since Cropp returned a positive test to amphetamine in the same season that she set a then record 197 wins on the way to securing the 2004-05 jockeys’ premiership. Then followed a lengthy legal process which finally came to a conclusion in 2009 with Cropp being found guilty of the original charge. She was suspended for nine months and incurred fines and costs of almost $100,000.

She renewed her licence in the 2011-12 season when she rode seven winners from 112 mounts, but after relocating to Victoria, she voluntarily relinquished her licence.

When Cropp was charged over her 2005 methamphetamine charge she was able to continue riding, but under revised legislation she cannot compete until the outcome of any JCA hearing is known.

More than a year has passed since any licensed jockey has been found guilty of a drug offence. That jockey was Leanne Isherwood, who returned a positive test to methamphetamine after being tested during trackwork in August last year. At a subsequent hearing in November, Isherwood was found guilty and disqualified for 12 months.

Isherwood had previous history, having been charged with methamphetamine offences in 2002 only for those charges to be dropped due to a technicality. In 2007 she was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention for her part in an police investigation involving methamphetamine and cannabis.   

War vet with prosthetic leg cleared for race riding: AAP Turf, The Informant Thu, 27 Nov 2014
28 Nov 2014
A British point-to-point jockey who lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan has not let his war injury stop him returning to race riding.

Former army officer Guy Disney, 32, rode five winners before losing his right leg below the knee in 2009 when he was in a vehicle hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

With the help of an inventive navy doctor and a customised Australian-produced leather 'toe stopper', Disney has now ridden in his first race with an artificial leg.

The war veteran initially struggled to convince the British Horseracing Authority it was safe for him to compete, according to reports in the UK's The Telegraph.

But a naval doctor with experience helping injured pilots return to the cockpit helped Disney make his case to the BHA by proving his artificial leg was not a safety concern.

He showed video footage of him losing and regaining his irons at speed to demonstrate his control.

Disney told the Telegraph he didn't expect miracles as a one-legged jockey but hoped to ride in more point-to-points in the new year on his white horse Swing Bill.

Sargent excited about Cauthen's future: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 27 Nov 2014
28 Nov 2014John Sargent is confident new stable recruit Cauthen can be competitive in top company next autumn.

The Randwick conditioner has taken care of the lightly-raced stakes winner, who has undergone a wind operation since he last raced.

“We got told he only had 30 percent open and that’s not going to allow a horse to run at his full capacity,” Sargent said. "Jonathon Lumsden, who did the same operation on So You Think, operated on Cauthen and the horse looks magnificent.”

Cauthen arrived at Sargent’s yard on Monday and will be taken along quietly with his autumn targets yet to be confirmed.

"He might be best suited over shorter trips, but I’ll see how he comes along over the next couple of months,” he said. “At his best he’s up to the top level.

"I’ve seen the horse a few times throughout his career and he’s definitely never looked better. There’s plenty of talent there and he’s had a very genuine excuse for not going on with it. That looks to be fixed now.”

Cauthen posted two wins, including last season’s Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley, from five starts for Opaki trainer Andrew Campbell and then joined the Melbourne spring carnival team of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.

He finished sixth in both his Victorian outings for the Cambridge duo before undergoing surgery.

Sargent will also welcome back his Gr. 1 VRC Oaks winner Kirramosa next week after a hamstring injury cut short her spring.

“She’ll be here with Neena Rock as well and Thunder Lady will have another couple of weeks out before she returns,” he said.

Neena Rock won the Gr. 3 Angst Stakes during her last preparation while Thunder Lady claimed the Gr. 2 Wakeful Stakes before she was runner-up in the Gr. 1 VRC Oaks.

Shailer signs on as jockey agent: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 27 Nov 2014
28 Nov 2014Matamata trainer and Trackside personality Paul Shailer is getting deeper involved in jockey management.

Shailer, who trains in partnership with his brother Kris, had managed Kelly Myers until the couple's relationship ended, but he has now signed on to manage Sam Collett and Michael McNab and has considered adding further jockeys to his stable.

"I was originally doing Kelly's rides and it was something I really enjoyed, but then that broke down," Shailer said.

"I'm doing Weigh In and watching a lot of races for that and it takes up a lot of time, so it really goes hand-in-hand. 

“I've taken a bit of a backward step from the training with Kris doing more at the moment so it fits in well."

13 Wins at 3 Racemeetings!
27 Nov 2014

Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday's race meetings have seen Matamata based trainers winning 13 races! 

Congratulations to all connections!

 

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