From the Commentary Box 8 March 2016

Cambridge gallopers dominated BMW NZ Derby day at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Six of the ten race card were won by Cambridge trained horses, including the four black type features on the programme. Heading the charge was local trainer Tony Pike, who had a day to remember.

Pike saddled up two of the day’s feature race winners, including the BMW NZ Derby with RANGIPO. RANGIPO capped off an outstanding campaign, with a richly deserved win in the 2400m Group 1 event.

Sent out the favourite after lead up wins in the Group 2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas and the Group 2 Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas, RANGIPO had to again call on all reserves to win. With Derby King Vinny Colgan aboard, RANGIPO prevailed in a thrilling finish to beat WHAT’S THE STORY and his stablemate, RAGHU.

For Pike the win was both emotional and exciting.

“At the 100m I thought we had the quinella, but I’m just so proud of both of my horses,” said Pike. “You’d go to war with these two horses by your side …. they never let you down.” he added.

RANGIPO is raced by his breeders John and Margaret Thompson.

For Colgan the win was his sixth in the race. “You never get tired of winning a Derby, and my horse deserved to win it. He just never quits.” said Colgan.

Pike also saddled up SACRED STAR to win the Group 3 Darley Plate. Last season’s Champion sprinter finally got the good track conditions he needs as he put away a quality field. “His campaign has been derailed by wet tracks but he showed today how good he is.” said Pike.

The black type features for Cup week may not be over yet for Pike.

He will saddle up the current favourite for this weekend’s Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup in SACRED MASTER. “I’m thrilled with how he’s going and I’m confident he’ll give a very good account of himself,” said Pike.

Also successful at Ellerslie was the Baker/Forsman trained filly MIME. The Mastercraftsman filly scored in the Group 3 Sunline Vase over 2100m. MIME was fresh from her last start win at Te Rapa in the Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic. The manner of her last two wins would suggest she’s a big chance in the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks at Trentham in two weeks time.

“She puts herself in the race and she relaxes which suggests she’ll get the 2400m of the Oaks trip.” said rider Michael Coleman after the win.

MIME’S major obstacle in the Wellfield NZ Oaks will be another local filly SOFIA ROSA. SOFIA ROSA’S trainer Stephen Marsh also enjoyed success at Ellerslie with NO MORE TEARS winning the Stella Artois Mr Tiz Trophy over 1200m. NO MORE TEARS scored easily in the Group 3 sprint. “She’s also shown ability and over all her form this campaign has reflected that,” said Marsh. Future plans for NO MORE TEARS could include Australia. “I think she’ll measure up over there and there are some nice races for her.” said Marsh.

The last two Cambridge trained winners on NZ Derby Day were GO NICHOLAS and VICTORY DRIVE. The Shelley Hale prepared GO NICHOLAS created a favourable impression when successful over 1200m. His rider Opie Bosson was certainly impressed. “He’s a serious horse this ………… and wait when he learns what it’s all about.” said Bosson.

VICTORY DRIVE’S win in the last race for the Baker/Forsman team capped off an outstanding day for the Cambridge Centre.

To win six races on a ten race card is a wonderful achievement.

To do it on Derby day takes it to another level. Well done!!

Catch you soon.

George.

From the Commentary Box 23 February 2016

The Cambridge connection played a huge part in proceedings at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Four of the eight races carded were won by Cambridge trained horses.

Leading the charge was the in-form Tony Pike team who picked up the two feature races at the meeting. Pike saddled up promising stayer SACRED MASTER to win the Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup. Less than forty minutes later, crack three year old RANGIPO had added the Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas.

SACRED MASTER cemented his place for next months Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup with a barn storming win in the Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup. Ridden by Michael McNab, SACRED MASTER proved too strong for his opposition over the concluding stages of the 2400m feature.

SACRED MASTER’S victory capped off a gruelling week for McNab. McNab picked up the ride on SACRED MASTER at the recommendation of regular rider Leith Innes. “Leith wasn’t able to make the 52kgs to ride him and he suggested I should ride,” explained a delighted McNab after the race.

That delight stemmed largely from the monumental personal effort McNab had put in during the week. It meant a leaner, meaner McNab rode SACRED MASTER on Saturday.
And what a ride it was, with trainer Tony Pike quick to acknowledge it afterwards. “That was a huge effort by Michael to make carded weight and he rode him beautifully” said Pike.

SACRED MASTER will be one of the favourites for the Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup next month and he’s a huge chance.

Likewise stablemate RANGIPO in the BMW NZ Derby. The three year old gelding again defied his opposition when successful in the Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas.

A narrow last start winner in the Waikato Guineas a fortnight ago, RANGIPO held out BRIGHTON and the deadheaters, GET THAT JIVE and RAGHU in another desperate finish.

Pike confirmed plans to proceed towards the BMW NZ Derby with what looks likely to be a three pronged attack. “RANGIPO and RAGHU showed they are on track with their runs and I thought the filly PROVOCATIVE, was doing her best work at the line too” said Pike.

Pike will be hoping his run of success will continue over the upcoming Auckland Cup week.

SAINT EMILION and GO NICHOLAS were the other two local winners at Ellerslie.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, SAINT EMILION scored an all the way victory with Opie Bosson aboard. SAINT EMILION kept up a strong gallop to beat the race favourite SNAPSHOT, part owned by Richie McCaw.

Bosson was also successful aboard the Shelley Hale trained GO NICHOLAS. GO NICHOLAS took his record to two wins from just four starts and looks very promising.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers

George

Commentary Box 9 February 2016

Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Local trainer Tony Pike must be eagerly anticipating next month’s BMW NZ Derby at Ellerslie. Pike provided the quinella in the feature race at Te Rapa last Saturday, the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas, in RANGIPO and RAGHU.

One of the traditional lead up races to the NZ Derby, the Waikato Guineas has proven to be a great guide in recent years. Four of the last five winners of the Waikato Guineas have gone on to win the NZ Derby, and Pike will be hoping that trend continues.

RANGIPO scored a narrow win in the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas over his stablemate RAGHU and another Cambridge trained runner GET THAT JIVE, in a thrilling three way finish.

To most pundits, including a certain Maori commentator, RAGHU looked to have gained the upper hand right on the line. His rider Michael McNab was pretty sure his mount had won. “There wasn’t much in it, but I thought my bloke had done enough.” said McNab later.

Vinny Colgan, who rode RANGIPO, was also sure his mount had been beaten.
“I wasn’t sure, but I thought we’d been beaten.” said the in-form Colgan.

Pike was being interviewed on Trackside before the Judge’s call, and when pressed felt RAGHU had done enough to win. Like nearly everyone else, Pike was surprised when RANGIPO got the verdict. “Regardless of who won, I’m rapt the way both horses finished off the race, they were strong at the line.” said Pike.

Third placegetter GET THAT JIVE, trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, also did his Derby prospects no harm with his bold effort. Rider Opie Bosson was thrilled with his effort. “He hasn’t raced for several weeks and he’s going to improve greatly with that run under his belt.” said Bosson.

It was Pike though who had the biggest smile on his dial after the race. Adding to Pike’s confidence from a Derby perspective is the fact he’ll probably have another Derby runner in PROVOCATIVE. The ZABEEL filly created a huge impression when winning at Ellerslie last Thursday. The lightly raced filly is still a work in progress, as evidenced by a tendency to race greenly down the home straight, but boy has she got some gears.

Looks like a few sleepless nights coming up “Pikey”.

Pike also prepared PARKER’S PIECE to win at Te Rapa. Ridden by Vinny Colgan, PARKER’S PIECE dominated her rivals over 1200m after finding the lead shortly after the start. Colgan eased the tempo mid race before kicking his mount clear on straightening. “Two strides into the straight and I thought we’d win.” said Colgan later.
It was the third win from eight starts for the Hong Kong owned PARKER’S PIECE.

Finally the other Cambridge winner on the day was LUEN YAT MIRACLE. The Shane Crawford trained galloper scored an upset win at odds of 33 – 1 with Brendan Hutton aboard. The win was a welcome change of luck for Hutton, who only recently returned to race riding after a frustrating run of injuries.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers

George

From the Commentary Box – 2 February 2016

Cambridge trained horses have been on a winning spree recently.

Several have caught the eye, and from that perspective, here are six of the best, according to yours truly.

TURN ME LOOSE | The dual Group One winner hasn’t started since his brilliant all the way win in the $1m Emirates Stakes at Flemington in November. That win completed a memorable Spring campaign which included success in the Group Two Crystal Mile on Cox Plate day. Reports emanating from the Cambridge centre indicate that TURN ME LOOSE is absolutely flying and there is a fair bit of confidence in his upcoming Australian campaign. He will head shortly to Melbourne to contest further Group One spoils and then, all things going well, will head to Sydney.

KOENIGSEGG ONE | This lightly raced SWISS ACE gelding is headed for the top. His win on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie was as good as they come. Prepared by Tony Pike, KOENIGSEGG ONE blew his rivals off the track with a dazzling turn of foot. Just keep putting it on when he lines up next.

TAVAGO | Yet another of the progeny of TAVISTOCK, TAVAGO was unlucky not to win on Karaka Million night. The current NZ Derby favourite had a chequered run over the final stages to finish third, just a nose and a head from the winner. His final sectional times were the best of any runner that night and he’s my tip to win the NZ Derby in March. Trained by the Busuttin and Young partnership, TAVAGO is currently at 8 to 1 on fixed odds for the NZ Derby and I suggest that will shorten considerably as the race gets closer.

SACRED MASTER | An off track at Ellerslie cost him his chance in the Dunstan Championship Final on New Years Day. He was sent out favourite after a ridiculously easy win at his previous start. Last Saturday at Matamata, he overcame a track that favoured the on pace runners, to win narrowly over 2000m. Although there wasn’t much in it at the finish, SACRED MASTER did enough to convince me he’s a huge chance in the Auckland Cup in March. He is a seriously talented stayer.

LEWIS CAROLL | Only an obsession with big horses has prevented LEWIS CAROLL from being sold to Hong Kong. Trainer and co-owner Ngaire Fraser related that information after LEWIS CAROLL maintained his unbeaten record with a stunning win over 1200m at Matamata last Saturday. If proof was ever needed that size is an over rated commodity in horses, LEWIS CAROLL is living proof. He’s not very big, to state the obvious, but gee he’s got some gears, I kid you not!

JESSABEEL | She scored at Te Teko on Monday in a lowly rating 65, but I think this Roger James’ trained filly has NZ Oaks written all over her. She obviously has a way to go, but I believe she’s got the necessary qualities to be a contender, especially when she steps out over ground.

Remember, you read it here first.

Catch you next week.

From the Commentary Box – Monday, 11th January 2015

Sacred Elixir burst into Karaka Million contention at Ellerslie last Saturday

The strapping son of Pour Moi scored a narrow last stride victory over The Soultaker in
their final lead up race. Trained by Tony Pike, Sacred Elixir was narrowly beaten on debut two weeks ago at Ellerslie. As the horses flashed across the line on Saturday Pike wasn’t sure if his horse had won. “I thought we’d been out bobbed again” admitted Pike after the Judge’s call went his way. “He had to win today to guarantee a start in the Karaka Million so it was crucial the result fell our way this time” added Pike.

Sacred Elixir is raced by the successful Raffles Farm ownership and Pike is surprised by his two year old form. “We brought him as a staying type and when you look at him that’s the impression he gives you physically, so it’s great to see him showing so much as this early stage of his career” said Pike. Ridden by Leith Innes, Sacred Elixir overcame a chequered run over the final 250m to gain the nose victory. “The plan was to qualify for the Karaka Million and he got the job done” said Innes afterwards.

TAB bookies reacted quickly to the win by Sacred Elixir, putting him to the third line of betting at $7.

The dominant pre post favourite for NZ’s richest horserace, is another Cambridge trained runner Manolo Blahniq. The Craig Thornton prepared colt was hugely impressive when winning the Eclipse Stakes on New Year’s Day. Both horses gives Cambridge a great chance to claim the major prize on January 24th.

Also enjoying success at Ellerslie on Saturday was Tarissa Mitchell.

The former successful jockey saddled up a double on Saturday with Irish Call and Call Me Royal both saluting. Irish Call won at just his second race day appearance over 1400m with Matt Cameron aboard. After striding to the lead, Cameron was able to dictate the tempo before kicking clear on the home turn. “Matt rode him a treat and it was pleasing to see him win like that” said Mitchell after the race.

Cameron also combined with Mitchell’s other winner, Call Me Royal in the last race on the card. After settling just in behind the leaders from a wide gate, Call Me Royal produced a
strong finishing burst to win comfortably. For Mitchell the double was a huge thrill. “To win a race at Ellerslie is always special but to win two on the same day is unbelievable” said Mitchell.

It was business as usual for the Baker / Forsman training partnership when Saavoya scored at Ellerslie too. One of last season’s better three year old fillies, Saavoya was one of three winners on the card for rider Matt Cameron. Cameron expressed confidence in Saavoya’s chance in a pre race interview. “Murray Baker told me she’s flying in trackwork so she’s got to be a great chance” said Cameron. And so it proved with Saavoya drawing clear of her opposition over the concluding stages. She looks in for a profitable summer.

The busy summer racing continues this week with the focus at Trentham for the Wellington Cup carnival over the next couple of weeks, with the National Yearling Sales at Karaka just around the corner too.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers

George

From the Commentary Box – Monday, 7th December 2015

As a spectacle, I thought the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham last Saturday was a huge disappointment. The race promised plenty with six Group One performers in the field of nine. When you’ve got Kawi, Soriano, Nashville, Shuka, Julinsky Prince and Sahkee’s Solider engaged, I think you’re entitled to get excited. Alas, the race was nothing more than a $200,000 walk fest.

And at the risk of being branded another “grandstand jockey” I’ve got no doubt who is to
blame. I’m sure some of the jockeys who competed in the race, would like to do it all again. Put it this way, most of the riders who rode in the race, were guilty of impersonating Jockey’s. They got their riding fees under false pretences. For those who missed the race, it failed to deliver as a spectacle because some of our top jockeys put in some of the worst rides you’d see in a Group One race. The pacemaker Authentic Paddy, ridden by Robbie Hannam, set a ridiculously slow tempo in front. When Hannam realised no one was going to take him on, he eased the tempo even more resulting in several of his rivals over racing back in behind him. I don’t blame Hannam for this, in fact his ride was the second best ride in the race.

The best ride came from Johnathon Parkes aboard eventual winner Julinsky Prince. Parkes realised what was happening and made a move to sit up alongside the leader with 800m. “I thought the best place to be was outside the leader the way the race had panned out” said Parkes. He was right. When the field sprinted on the home turn, the backmarkers including race favourite Kawi, were several lengths behind Julinsky Prince and Authentic Paddy. What Parkes did was show some initiative. He backed himself and had total belief in his mount. Undoubtedly, that won him the race. Initiative is something top jockeys show regularly. Some call it intuition, the ability to switch to Plan B mid race when Plan A has turned to custard.

Remember James McDonald’s ride aboard Whoshotthebarman at Sandown over the recently completed Victorian Spring Carnival? McDonald had his mount at the tail of the field, but when the leaders were starting to walk mid race, he sent his mount forward to the lead. It caught all his rivals by surprise and eventually the pair raced away for an easy win.

Initiative. We saw it again at Trentham from Johnathon Parkes aboard Julinsky Prince. It won him the race.

Speaking of winners, Cambridge stables were to the fore at both Trentham and Ellerslie last Saturday. Leading the charge was Stephen Marsh with a winner at each venue. Marsh saddled up Seize The Moment to win at Trentham, while Sofia Rosa scored at Ellerslie. Seize The Moment appreciated racing that way around, while Sofia Rosa overcame waywardness to win. Both horses will be aimed at some big races over the next few months.

Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young scored with Natural Achiever also at Trentham. The talented Savabeel three year old remains unbeaten after an impressive debut win at his previous start. He looks a very promising type.

Others to salute at Ellerslie included the Tony Pike trained pair, Salford Art and Maid of Steel.

The almost obligatory winner from the Baker and Forsman team came courtesy of Ana.

The Trevor and Martin Cruz trained Wingate scored a dominant win over 1200m, continuing a recent run of success for the stable.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers
George

From the Commentary Box – Monday, 23rd November 2015

Roger James signalled his team is ready to fire after last weekend’s racing

The highly successful trainer got a four win haul, picking up a double at both Avondale and Te Rapa. James produced Never In Doubt and Tavy to win at Avondale on Saturday while Cool Tart and Howland saluted at the Cambridge Jockey Club meeting at Te Rapa on Sunday.

Never In Doubt got the ball rolling when winning her maiden over 1600m. The lightly raced Elusive City mare scored comfortably for Craig Grylls when leading home a Cambridge trained trifecta. There looks a lot more wins in store for her judging by this win.

Likewise for her stablemate Tavy. The talented mare returned to the Winner’s Circle, with a barn storming victory over 1400m. After settling back near the tail of the field, Tavy produced an electrifying burst to quickly cruise past her nearest rivals, Thee Auld Floozie and Increditable Hulk. Again it was a Cambridge trained trifecta. Trainer Roger James was thrilled with the winning effort. “She didn’t surprise me in the slightest how she won today because she’s always been a very talented mare” said James. James explained a series of wide draws has plagued Tavy’s latest campaign. “I’ve scratched her because of wide draws and out of sheer frustration I lined her up at Ellerslie last start even though she drew wide” said James. Tavy looks set for a profitable time over the next few months.

On Sunday, James produced a couple of promising maiden gallopers. Cool Tart justified her odds on favouritism for a resounding victory over 1600m. Whilst not as decisive as Cool Tart, stablemate Howland caught the eye when holding on for a strong win also over 1600m. Both are lightly raced and look to have bright futures.

Also successful at Avondale on Saturday were Big Dreamer for Paul Mirabelli and
Nomisma for Tony Pike. Big Dreamer upset the favourites when winning at 32 to 1 while Nomisma was well supported when winning the last race on the card. Although unable to nab one of the four black type feature races on the card, Cambridge horses went close with the Tim and Margaret Carter trained Farm Boy narrowly beaten by Vavasour in the Counties Cup.

Promising two year old Manolo Blahniq, trained by Craig Thornton, went down narrowly on debut behind The Soultaker in the Murdoch Newell Stakes, while Kelly O’Reilly was a game third in the Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

At Te Rapa on Sunday, the locals made their presence felt for the Cambridge Jockey Club meeting, winning five of the nine races. As already discussed Roger James got a double with Cool Tart and Howland.

Joining them were Natural Achiever, Trojan Warrior and Shot In The Dark. Natural Achiever bolted in on debut for the Busuttin / Young stable and looks to have a very promising future.

Trojan Warrior came from last on the turn to win nicely for Anne Herbert while Shot In The Dark scored a tough win for the Baker / Forsman team in the last race.

Finally, congratulations to all the local consignors at last week’s hugely successful NZB
Ready To Run Sale.

Special mention must be made of Jeremy Whales’ Diamond Lodge who was again the leading vendor on aggregate and also to Bruce and Maureen Harvey’s Ascot Farm who sold the sale topper, an O’Reilly gelding for a record $525,000.

I look forward to the shout !!

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers

George

From the Commentary Box – Tuesday, 27th October 2015

The “B Team” were at it again in Melbourne last Saturday

The combination of trainer Murray Baker and jockey Opie Bosson have made a huge impact at this year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival. The pair, long regarded as two of the best in their respective fields, have had a remarkable run of success over the past week. They combined to win the prestigious Caulfield Cup with dual trans Tasman Derby winner Mongolian Khan, and quickly followed that with success in the Seymour Cup with another talented four year old, Turn Me Loose.

And it was Turn Me Loose who again stepped up to the plate with a scintillating front running performance at Moonee Valley last Saturday to win the Group Two Crystal Mile. After bouncing to the lead Turn Me Loose was never headed, aided by another brilliant Opie Bosson ride.

Bosson allowed the powerful entire to bowl along freely in front of his quality opposition. “What you see is what you get with him” said Bosson later. “He can get fired up and quite keen but he’s one of those horses that has a high cruising speed and can maintain a long sprint” said Bosson.

The combination stole a break on their rivals as the field neared the home turn, and although runner up Godolphin galloper Bow Creek, with James McDonald aboard, was closing quickly there was still a half length margin at the line. Race favourite Lucky Hussler was nearly three lengths away in third spot.

Turn Me Loose was purchased by his group of Melbourne based owners at the NZB Ready to Run Sale from the draft of Mana Park for $52,000. Last year’s 2000 Guineas winner has already taken his earnings to more than $500,000 in just ten starts, with the promise of more to come.

“He’ll head to the Emirates at Flemington on the last day of the Cup week” said Baker. The Group One metric mile is worth A$1million and Baker is confident of another good showing. “He showed today he’s capable of mixing it with the best over here, and although we’ve had to battle some issues along the way, he’s right in the zone now” said Baker.

Of course, the Baker/ Bosson team have another mission prior to the Emirates race. There’s the small matter of winning a certain 3200m Cup race next Tuesday at Flemington with Mongolian Khan. And it would take a brave man to bet against them!

A little closer to home, there was more success for Cambridge over Labour weekend. Stephen Marsh produced the highly promising Darci Brahma filly, No More Tears, to win the Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie. Making just her third race day appearance, No More Tears scored a brave win with Michael Coleman aboard. It was the second stakes win for No More Tears in her brief career and it was a performance that impressed her jockey. “She was always travelling well and I was never worried because I felt she had plenty more to offer” said Coleman. No More Tears could be headed to Riccarton for the One Thousand Guineas.

Also successful at Ellerslie was Illuminati for trainer Ben Foote. The Keeper mare recorded her 8th win from 27 starts when successful for apprentice rider Alyssa Schwerin. “Alyssa rode her well and the mare did the rest” said Foote. Illuminati has fashioned a wonderfully consistent record taking her stake earnings to over $140,000.

At Te Rapa on Monday, Cambridge stables won four races on the card. Tim and Margaret Carter scored a double with Arizona Blizzard and Ludgrosve winning. Tony Pike had success with Slice of Cake and the Baker/ Forsman team won with Highland Park.

And finally …..congratulations to Cambridge based jockey Michael McNab who had his best day in the saddle at Riccarton last Saturday. McNab rode four winners on the card and again showed why he’s considered a talented rider by many good judges in the industry.

Enjoy Melbourne Cup Day next Tuesday.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers

George

From the Commentary Box – Monday, 19th October 2015

Champion trainer Murray Baker is the King of the Understatement

Moments after his stable star Mongolian Khan had scored a stirring win in the prestigious Caulfield Cup, Baker was at his mischievous best when interviewed by the media. “I’ve been trying to win this race for a while now so maybe this win is one for good attendance” smiled Baker.

Good try Murray, but you’d be flat finding someone to agree with you. Mongolian Khan’s win was the result of a near military like precision plan hatched by Baker and training partner Andrew Forsman several months ago. Baker reflected on that as the magnitude of the win sunk in. “After his three year old year, we set him for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup campaign, and everything has fallen into place beautifully” said Baker.

Mongolian Khan was installed the race favourite after an eye catching third at his last start. Ridden by ace NZ jockey Opie Bosson, Mongolian Khan settled beautifully just in behind the leaders in the 2400m event. “We found a lovely spot during the race and he just relaxed so well I was pretty confident” said a delighted Bosson afterwards. As the field neared the home turn, Bosson sent Mongolian Khan forward to tackle the leaders. “That was riding to instructions as Murray told me to go early and make it a staying race” explained Bosson.

Both Baker and Bosson are adamant that Mongolian Khan’s greatest attribute is his staying prowess. “Once he hits top gear, he just keeps going and not many can get past him, especially over a staying trip” said Baker.

Mongolian Khan scored by half a length from European galloper Trip To Paris with another European Our Ivanhowe a further one and a half lengths away. As always, there were a couple of nice runs just in behind the placegetters including the Japanese horse Fame Game, and the former Kiwi Who Shot The Barman. The Fame Game in particular was impressive coming from last on the home turn to finish 6th. His rider Zac Purton was grilled by stewards after the race over his ride but no charges were laid.

The day belonged to Mongolian Khan though. Much pre race talk centred on the International horses in the race.

In the end, it was the Tasmanian bred, Chinese owned, New Zealand trained and ridden galloper who prevailed.

Can he win the Melbourne Cup?

Who knows?

Maybe Murray Baker can get another one for good attendance!

That wasn’t the only cup win for the Baker and Forsman team in Melbourne last weekend.
Last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Turn Me Loose scored an effortless win in the Seymour Cup on Sunday. The strapping son of Ifraaj led all the way for a resounding win over 1600m with Bosson aboard. He has some Group One targets ahead of him, including the Emirates Stakes at Flemington.

Closer to home, Lee Somervell again enjoyed success at Rotorua last Saturday. The talented mare Celebrity Miss, fresh from her last start Group One third placing, scored an easy win in the Listed Jakkelberry Classic. Ridden by Trudy Thornton, Celebrity Miss was always travelling like a winner outside the leader All The Way. “She was cruising throughout and I was never worried” said Thornton.

Somervell is enjoying a stellar season with his team, highlighted by the Group One winner Addictive Habit.

It was something of a Cambridge benefit at Rotorua on Saturday. Apart from Celebrity Miss winning, there were four other local winners on the nine race card.

Diva Achiever looked to have a promising future when clearing maidens for the Busuttin
– Young partnership. Billy Mojo scored a brave win for Stephen Marsh in a quality three year old field. Tony Pike saddled up Rangipo, aided by a special Vinny Colgan ride, to win over 1400m. And Varro capped off some consistent recent efforts for trainer Todd Mitchell when scoring in the last race.

All in all, not a bad weekend for Cambridge gallopers.

I’ll catch you next week.

Cheers
George

From the Commentary Box – Monday, 5th October 2015

Cambridge horses dominated the final day of the Hawkes Bay Carnival at Hastings on Saturday

The Group One Livamol Classic was a triumph for trainer Lee Somervell saddling up the winner Addictive Habit and the third placegetter Celebrity Miss. “I was chuffed just to have two runners in a Group One and to almost get the quinella is a career highlight” said Somervell.

Addictive Habit ran out a comfortable winner with Sam Spratt aboard, holding out Benzini with Celebrity Miss a close up third. After sitting outside the leader for most of the way, Addictive Habit bounded clear with 250m to run. “The way the race panned out I was always confident of winning” said Spratt.

Stablemate Celebrity Miss, after enjoying a perfect run in the trail throughout, fought well for her third placing. “I’m proud of both of my horses because you don’t get too many opportunities at this level” said a delighted Somervell after the race.

Somervell is an accomplished horseman of many years standing and he has his team firing on all cylinders at the minute.

Another Cambridge trainer in the same waka, is Stephen Marsh. Marsh has formed a lethal combination with jockey Danielle Johnson and that was clearly evident at Hastings on Saturday. The pair combined for three wins last Saturday.

Leading their charge was three year old filly Serious Satire, a brilliant winner of the Gold Trail Stakes. The One Thousand Guineas aspirant again showed her immense talent when storming home for an impressive win. Marsh has made no secret of the high regard he holds Serious Satire in. “I’ve known for a while how good she is and it’s just great seeing her do the business again” said Marsh. Marsh added he was a little worried about how Serious Satire would compete over 1200m. “She was vulnerable second up over 1200m but like all the good ones they somehow find a way through that” said Marsh.

Marsh and Johnson also combined with All Torn Up and Seize the Moment for victories on the day. Former Hong Kong galloper All Torn Up created a good impression when winning fresh up over 1200m. The effort represented a very good training feat by Marsh with All Torn Up scoring by nearly a length.

Completing a great day at the office for the trainer jockey combination was Seize the Moment, who scored over 1400m. A recent bold fresh up run at Taupo indicated Seize the Moment wasn’t far from a winning turn and so it proved.

Not to be outdone another local trainer Tony Pike saddled up a couple of winners too. Pike produced the highly talented sprinter Allez Eagle for a stunning fresh up win over 1200m. In a nail biting finish, Allez Eagle nosed out multiple Group One performer Recite with race favourite Ryan Mark close up in third spot. Pike will set some ambitious targets for Allez Eagle. “He’s always looked a Group One horse and there’s some fun ahead with him for sure” said Pike.
The same could be said for Pike’s other winner on the card, Sacred Master. The promising stayer justified some inspired support when scoring for Leith Innes over 2000m. Although considered a work in progress by Innes, Sacred Master has the potential to become a very good stayer. “He’s still a bit green but when the penny drops, he’ll go a long way” said the experienced hoop.

The last of the Cambridge winners was the Baker Forsman trained filly Mime. The Mastercraftsman filly took her record to two wins and two seconds from four starts. Ridden by Matt Cameron, Mime pounced on the leaders at the 250m and proved too strong. She looks a promising type.

Seven wins on the eleven race card showed the domination of Cambridge horses. Congrats to all.

I’ll catch you soon.

Cheers
George