Lizzie leads home clean sweep

Lizzie L’Amour (Matt Cameron), centre in blinkers, beating stablemates Love Affair (far left) and Stolen Dance (right, rail) in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes yesterday. Fellow Cambridge mare Devise (white blaze) is fourth.

The country’s leading trainers have continued their recent domination of a Te Rapa Group Two feature with this year’s winner completing a stunning stakes double on the Hamilton course. 

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have enjoyed a stellar run in the Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) with past successes with Lady Kipling (2011), Diademe (2013), Sports Illustrated (2014) and Coldplay (last year).

It was the turn yesterday of Lizzie L’Amour, who led home a stable trifecta 12 months to the day since she claimed top honours in the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m).

The Zabeel mare was making her first appearance since a frustrating spring campaign in Melbourne where she failed to flatter in four appearances.

“In Australia she didn’t exhibit this sort of form and I don’t know why – she’s not called Dizzy Lizzie for nothing,” said Baker. “She had been working well, though.”

Lizzie L’Amour sat outside the leader Stolen Dance and she finished bravely under rider Matthew Cameron.

“She’s obviously a very good mare when she’s right and it was a good ride from Matt. He got his tactics right,” said Baker.

The favourite Love Affair did well to come from the rear on a day when there was a bias toward on pace runners. She wound up an eye-catching second in her first crack at weight-for-age, while Stolen Dance boxed on strongly for third.

“It’s very satisfying and a big surprise,” said Baker. “I thought Love Affair would be very hard to beat. She’s a very good horse and her turn will come.”

Lizzie L’Amour will now defend her crown in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day at Ellerslie where she will renew her rivalry with Stolen Dance. Plans for Love Affair have yet to be confirmed.

– NZ Racing Desk.


Ritchie chasing Derby spots

Formidable (Danielle Johnson) breaking through for his first win at Avondale recently.

Vodafone New Zealand Derby hopes Formidable and Owen Patrick have the opportunity at Ellerslie tomorrow to boost their classic prospects.

The stablemates will step out in the Listed Auckland Age Group Concerns 3YO Salver (2100m) in bids to take the financial pressure off securing starts in March’s 2400-metre feature.

“It probably hasn’t been the greatest lead-up to the Derby, but in this case if they can bank some money it puts us in a more comfortable position,” said their Cambridge trainer, Shaune Ritchie.

“If we can get as much prize-money as possible we can give them 10 days off and then push on to the big dance.”

Formidable, a son of Shocking, had twice finished runner-up before he broke through at Avondale over 1600 metres last start.

“He won a soft maiden race as an odds-on favourite and while he may not have been that impressive, he’s a real staying horse,” said Ritchie.

Owen Patrick has been placed in his first two appearances, but was caught wide on a slow pace when out of the frame in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m).

“He’s been racing against the better quality fields without any luck,” said Ritchie. “He’s drawn wide in all three runs and he’s got the outside gate again on Sunday.

“There’s not much between my two and they have both been looking for more ground pretty much since they walked through the stable gate.”

Leith Innes will ride Formidable and Sam Weatherley continues his association with Owen Patrick.

– NZ Racing Desk.

Patience pays off with James’ winners

Boomerang (Leith Innes) looking a horse to follow when shedding his maiden status at Tauranga today.

Patience has been the key with the three winners Cambridge trainer Roger James has unleashed in the last few days.

Monrecour completed a double and took her record to three wins from 10 starts when winning for James at Wednesday’s Ellerslie twilight meeting and stablemates Boomerang and St Andre carried on the stable’s winning way when clearing maiden ranks at Tauranga today.

Like Monrecour, Boomerang is a lightly tried four-year-old, while St Andre is a three-year-old who didn’t appear at the trials until last June (when winning at Avondale) and didn’t make his raceday debut until last month.

Boomerang has been taken along particularly quietly by James. He had his first couple of trials late last year and ran second in his debut over 1400 metres at New Plymouth last December before being given just one more start last campaign, when fourth over 1600 at Te Teko a month later.

It wasn’t until last month that Boomerang reappeared on the scene, when third in a trial at Cambridge, and he was fresh-up when he went into today’s St Patrick’s Day Races 1400 at Tauranga.

“He’s shown me well above average ability for a long time,” said James. “He’s a big boy and he’s a traditional old-fashioned New Zealand stayer and I’ve had to wait.

“They don’t lose their ability but get better and stronger if you wait for them.”

Owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay have heeded James’ advice with Boomerang and they look certain to be rewarded by the son of O’Reilly.

Boomerang settled midfield on the inner in today’s assignment and rider Leith Innes angled him off the fence across the top and had him out into the clear on the home turn.

It was then a case of Boomerang letting down with his finish and he didn’t disappoint. He ranged up to the leaders inside the final 200 metres and finished off strongly to score by a short neck from Master Painton.

“It was a good effort because he’s not brilliant out of the gat and the 1400 was a bit short for him,” said Innes. “He got to the front and gawked around a bit. Once he gets up in distance you’ll see a pretty good horse.”

In the same event Boomerang’s stablemate The Magnate had little luck when finishing fourth and showed he isn’t far off a win. Whereas Boomerang had a clear run in the home straight, The Magnate was searching for a gap for much of the final 300 metres.

Michael Coleman getting the best out of the lightly tried St Andre to beat Mark Two at Tauranga today.

Like Boomerang, St Andre also did things wrong when he quit maiden ranks today, but to be fair it was just his third start and his first time in blinkers.

Rider Michael Coleman had him in the early rush for the lead in the Kiwi Bus Builders 1600 then allowed him to ease and track the leader before moving up to challenge rounding the home turn.

He hit the lead soon after then, through greenness, was headed by Mark Two and fought back gamely to win by a mere nose.

The Stephen Marsh-trained Mark Two was second with Sacred Party, prepared by Tony Pike, and Luxe (Emma-Lee and David Browne) filling the next two spots to make it a complete sweep for Cambridge stables.

“He needed the blinkers,” said James. “He’s still green. I noticed in the tough battle he would prick his ears and is not totally committed yet. He’ll make a nice horse.”

A gelding by Echoes Of Heaven from the useful Volksraad mare Isla Bella (three wins), St Andre preceded the win with a debut fifth behind the talented Seduttore over 1200 at Avondale and a fourth to the promising Iffindoubt over 1400 on that same track.

Monrecour is obviously the more experienced of James’ three winners and has been in the first four in all bar one of her 10 starts, but her record could be even better.

“The rub of the green hasn’t always gone her way,” said James. “I think she’s an emerging mare and we’ve had to wait for her, but from here on in the owners could get better rewards.”

Monrecour is a Zacinto mare from Udiditagain, who won three races including the Listed Champagne Stakes at Wingatui, and was runner-up in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham.

Unlike her dam, Monrecour didn’t race as two-year-old. She made her debut last January at Tauranga as a summer three-year-old and it was a winning one over 1300 metres.

Her connections then had to almost 11 months for Monrecour’s second win, at Pukekohe late last month, and had to be content with the string of minor placings. But the manner of her Pukekohe win and the victory at Ellerslie on Wednesday evening suggested they will have more celebrations ahead.

She was ridden a treat by Vinnie Colgan when winning at Pukekohe and it was a similar performance from visiting Australian apprentice Ben Allen at Ellerslie.

Allen bounced her out first, eased her into the trail, angled her out on the turn and had her challenging with 200 metres to run. It was then up to Monrecour and she kicked clear to win attractively by a length and three-quarters.

James also produced another couple of promising gallopers at the Ellerslie twilight meeting.

Rondinella, an Ocean Park half-sister to the multiple Group winner Vavasour and recent Perth stakeswinner Celebrity Dream, was impressive when charging home down the outside for third behind Lily The Pink on debut in the juvenile race, while Arundel fought well for third in the final event.

James will be hoping his luck holds with his two runners over the weekend, Misty Music in the fifth event at Te Rapa tomorrow and Doubtless Bay in the third race at Ellerslie on Sunday.

Marsh stable on a roll

Cascata (Alysha Collett) doing best to beat stablemate Belle Fascino (outside) in the final event at Hastings.

A couple of quinellas in a couple of days has been part of a successful week for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh.

At Wednesday’s Ellerslie twilight meeting Marsh watched his stable runners My Dakota and Felaar provide the quinella in the third event, the Ezgo Golf Cart Rentals 1600, then a day later at Hastings he celebrated his father Bruce’s birthday when winning three races on the eight-race card, including landing another quinella when Cascata narrowly defeated stablemate Belle Fascino in the final event, the Interislander Summer Festival New Years Day 1400.

Earlier on the Hastings programme the Marsh stablemates Akoya and Al Vandaam prevailed.

The winning streak took Marsh’s tally for the season to 23 and he has several strong chances to add to the list over the next couple of days. He has six runners at Te Rapa tomorrow and a couple at Ellerslie on Sunday.

Marsh went into Wednesday’s meeting with confidence over the prospects of My Dakota and Felaar and let punters know his feelings when interviewed pre-race. “I’d be struggling to see anything else hitting the line as good as them,” he said.

The pair lived right up to expectations and paved the way for success in the Jockeys’ World Cup Prelude for the Vodafone International team of Jason Collett, Damian Lane and Jamie Kah. My Dakota was ridden by Collett, while Felaar was pushed right by Lane, one of Melbourne’s leading hoops.

Both horses were settled midfield and after going wide to make their runs they joined the fray together with My Dakota finishing strongest to win by a head from Felaar.

My Dakota, a four-year-old daughter of Per Incanto, deserved the win after some strong lead-up form, which included four placings in her previous six starts.

She has been in top form this season, beginning with a second to the smart Yearn at Te Rapa on September 20 then a strong-finishing second to subsequent stakes-placegetter Kapoor at Taupo before a fourth to two very promising gallopers, Grand Soleil and Vaudesir, when stepped up to 1600 metres at Ellerslie last month.

Though placed, Marsh was concerned about My Dakota at Ellerslie.

“She didn’t really parade in the best fashion that day,” he said. “She was a bit dull, but we couldn’t find anything wrong with her. We gave her a little freshen-up, just over a month between runs, and that’s probably the key to her.”

Stablemate Felaar also had the form on the board going into last Wednesday’s run, having finished a sound third behind Darci de Luca fresh-up over 1400 metres at Te Rapa last month. He had also been placed once in three previous runs last campaign.

“He’s another horse I really rate,” said Marsh. “I’ve waited a long time for him. His first-up run was good and he went exactly how we hoped.”

Akoya (Danielle Johnson) capping a strong trials win with a nice first-up victory at Hastings yesterday.

With that quinella on the board, Marsh went into yesterday’s Hastings meeting with confidence over the prospects of his charges and there was no surprise to see his talented mare Akoya start her campaign with a win in the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Qualifier.

Akoya had hinted she was on the right track when winning at the recent Matamata trials and the form from that 1000-metre heat has stacked up well as the runner-up was Gr.1 Sistema Railway candidate Gift Of Power, who went on to win decisively at Trentham, and third home was Break My Stride, who chased Charles Road home when second at Pukekohe.

Ridden by Danielle Johnson, Akoya bounced out well in her Hastings engagement, tracked the leader Straight Sets then got up in the last 50 metres to score by a half-length to take her record to three wins and three placings from seven starts.

Al Vandaam was also well-supported in her Hastings contest, the Trinity Hill Mile, and in the hands of premiership leader Sam Collett she set a leisurely pace and won by three-quarters of a length from another Cambridge galloper, the Emma-Lee and David Browne-trained Pont Alma.

Bred and raced by Kevin Hickman, Al Vandaam had been most consistent leading up to the maiden win, having recorded three seconds, a third and two fourths from her previous eight starts.

Marsh went within a half-head of winding up with a deadheat for first in the final event yesterday with Cascata getting home in a thrilling finish over Belle Fascino, a last-start maiden winner at Te Awamutu.

A deadheat would have suited Marsh better as he is a part-owner of Belle Fascino, however there looks more in store for the runner-up who unleashed a big finish.

It was Cascata’s third win from 10 starts and her second in succession after scoring decisively at Avondale a couple of weeks ago and she would have been unlucky not to win.

She was held up on the home turn and had to be angled across heels inside the final 250 metres to get out into the clear.

Once balanced, she responded well for rider Alysha Collett and the manner in which she won suggests she will go further through the grades for owner-breeder Gerry Harvey.


Dynamic duo shoot for double-double

Love Affair pictured winning at Te Rapa last April. She will attempt to maintain her unbeaten record on the track this weekend.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will chase a repeat of a prized double at Te Rapa on Saturday. 

The Cambridge training duo produced Coldplay and Lizzie L’Amour to claim the Gr.2 Cal Izusu Stakes-Gr.3 SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup double last year and have a strong hand in both races again this weekend.

Last-start Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) winner Maygrove and Waverley Cup-placed Zacada tackle the Waikato Cup (2400m), while Lizzie L’Amour, Stolen Dance and Love Affair make up a three-pronged attack on the weight-for-age Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares.

The Cal Isuzu is a race the stable has won regularly in recent years with Lady Kipling (2011), Diademe (2013), Sports Illustrated (2014) and Coldplay all successful, remarkably all four by Waikato Stud sires and both Sports Illustrated and Coldplay wearing Waikato Stud colours.

Emerging star Love Affair will bid to continue that trend, the Garry Chittick-bred and raced daughter of Savabeel shooting for her fifth win in just six starts.

Just as Sports Illustrated did, Love Affair was successful in a lower grade race last start at Pukekohe as her lead-up to her first shot at a Group race.

“We think she’s a pretty good horse. She’s a good-class mare and we think she’ll measure up,” said Baker.

“She won well at Pukekohe last time and she’s gone on the right way since. She’s a very promising horse.”

TAB bookmakers have installed Love Affair as a $2.30 favourite for the Cal Isuzu Stakes, with Lizzie L’Amour and Stolen Dance (who won the race in 2015 for her then trainer David Greene) as $4.80 equal second favourites.

“Stolen Dance will go a good race,” said Baker. “She’s a class act. With Lizzie L’Amour, we’ll try her out and see how she goes. It will probably be a bit short for her but she’s a good horse, too.”

Baker has plans to start Lizzie L’Amour and Stolen Dance in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day should they run to his satisfaction on Saturday, while no plan has yet been confirmed for Love Affair.

The master trainer is pleased with his Waikato Cup pair leading into their staying test.

“Zacada’s not the worst and he’ll get the trip all right,” said Baker. “He’s had a run at the trip and finished second and he was fourth in the [New Zealand] St Leger over 2500m. He got home well last week and he’ll go a good race.

“Maygrove has that big weight to carry again, but it’s not a great field and he’s racing well.

“He’s about the same as he was the year he won the Wellington Cup and he’ll put in again like he always does.”

– NZ Racing Desk.


Ritchie confident of more black-type

Devise, who is poised to earn more black-type at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie is bullish about Devise’s prospects in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.

“She looks a good chance to get some more black type on the pedigree page,” said Ritchie. “As long as she races up to expectations and comes through well, the Zabeel Classic is on the cards.”

Devise has won three of her 11 starts with her most recent win being fresh-up over 1400 metres at Ellerslie early last month. She then finished a solid third at Pukekohe behind the smart Love Affair, who is again a leading rival this weekend.

Devise developed into a fine staying three-year-old last season. After finishing fourth in the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie and second to Nicoletta in the Gr.3 Wellfield Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, she produced three top performances over ground.

She was third in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa, third in the Gr.3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings then a hard-fought second to Bonneval in the Gr.1 Wellfield NZ Oaks (2400m) at Trentham. She followed up with an eighth when taken to Sydney for the Gr.1 ATC Oaks.

Devise will be ridden by Michael Coleman, while Chris Johnson will be aboard her stablemate Let Her Rip.

“Chris Johnson is a good booking for Let Her Rip,” said Ritchie. “We’ll be riding her cold as she’s best when she’s held up for the last crack at them.”

Johnson has ridden Let Her Rip on two occasions. The first time resulted in a win in the Gr.3 ISCL Rotorua Stakes (1400m) at Rotorua last May and he was then reunited with her fresh-up when fourth to Francaletta in the Gr.3 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Hawera in October.

Let Her Rip’s most recent outing was at Pukekohe last month when she finished ninth behind Sensible Princess in the Gr.2 NRM Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

  • NZ Racing Desk

Top trainers provide dream start for Allen

Visiting Melbourne apprentice Ben Allen got the winning feel on Lily The Pink in the first race at Ellerslie’s twilight meeting.

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman helped Victorian apprentice Ben Allen make an immediate impact in New Zealand when he won the opening leg of the Jockeys’ World Cup series at Ellerslie this afternoon.

Allen had tipped Lily The Pink to be his best prospect on the twilight programme prior to the Edwards Sound Maiden (1400m) and duly produced a copybook ride to rein the favourite to a comfortable victory.

“She did everything right,” said Allen. “She felt the track, it was a little bit firm and she’ll be much better with some cut in the ground, but she got the job done.”

Allen settled Lily The Pink close to the pace and was out to challenge 250 metres from the finish before drawing clear to beat the pacemaker Zenvo and Jason Collett by a length and a-quarter with Rondinella a late-finishing third under Matt Cameron.

It was a complete Cambridge stables’ finish with Zenvo trained by Shaune Ritchie and Rondinella by Roger James.

Lily The Pink was making her seasonal debut following a break after one appearance as a two-year-old.

Her connections gave an indication of their regard for the daughter of Makfi when she was pitched straight into black-type company in the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes (1400m) and finished a creditable fourth behind Haussmann.

“She’s not overly tall, she’s quite compact, and she’s showed a lot of ability all the way through,” said Forsman.

Lily The Pink holds Group One nominations for next month’s Gr.1 Grant Plumbing Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham and the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) in the autumn.

– NZ Racing Desk.

Big weekend for Treweeks

Mr Stunning (Nash Rawiller) rounding off a big weekend for Mark and Shelley Treweek when holding out stablemate D B Pin in the Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint. (Photo: Hong Kong JC).

Lyndhurst Farm’s Mark and Shelley Treweek were always going to have something to celebrate over the weekend, but what eventuated exceeded their plans.

Three celebrations on Saturday were capped by a Group One highlight with Mr Stunning in the $HK18.5 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday evening.

Mr Stunning is one of their many pin-hooking success stories. The couple bought the son of Exceed and Excel from the 2013 Melbourne Premier Weanling Sale for $A110,000 and sold him the following year in the Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka for $250,000 to Magus Equine, the Hong Kong operation of Willie Leung.

On Sunday John Size completed his own slice of history in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint when becoming the first trainer to prepare the quinella in a Hong Kong International Races feature when Mr Stunning beat stablemate D B Pin.

Mr Stunning had won an Avondale trial in June 2015 before heading to Hong Kong, where his record now stands at 10 wins and three placings from 16 starts. He won the Gr.2 Hong Kong Sprint Cup last April, then was runner-up in Gr.1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize and he has now won his last three starts, beginning with Gr.2 Premier Bowl on October 22 then continuing with the Gr.2 Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint last month.

“I was up there with Danny Rolston, from New Zealand Bloodstock, promoting the Ready To Run Sale when he won the Premier Bowl,” Mark Treweek said. “I got to meet his owner and was even taken down to the parade ring to be in the winning photo. It was good to see him (Mr Stunning) again.”

When purchasing the aptly named Mr Stunning as a weanling, the Treweeks were taken by his presence and movement.

“He was really attractive, not very big, but he had really good movement on him,” Treweek said. “He is out of an English mare and was bred by Tony Santic, Makybe Diva’s owner, and was part of a dispersal sale he was having.”

The Treweeks have followed Mr Stunning’s fortunes in Hong Kong and were thrilled to see him break through for the Group One win.

Mark Treweek was lucky enough to see Mr Stunning in winning style earlier this season.

“He’s always shown so much,” Treweek said. “He’s been the highest rated horse in Hong Kong all year.”

Size now plans to target the Gr.1 Centenary Sprint Cup in January and Gr. 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in April with Mr Stunning.

Even before Mr Stunning’s biggest moment of glory, the Treweeks had plenty to celebrate the previous day.

The couple’s daughter, Nicole, celebrated her 29th birthday last Saturday and the occasion was marked with an Ellerslie win by the Treweek’s promising galloper Magic Chai. And on the same Auckland programme the Treweeks were involved in the quinella in the open sprint when Volpe Veloce narrowly defeated Heroic Valour.

Volpe Veloce is yet another of the horses the Treweeks have pin-hooked, having bought the daughter of Foxwedge for $A120,000 from the Melbourne 2014 National Weanling Sale and on-sold her to Matamata trainer Graham Richardson at the Premier Sale at Karaka the following year for $240,000.

The Treweeks involvement with Heroic Valour is as members of the Te Akau 2015 Breeding Syndicate which race the Fastnet Rock four-year-old.

“It’s the first of the Te Akau syndicates we have been in and we’re having a lot of fun,” Treweek said. “We wanted him to win, but to run second to Volpe Veloce was the next best thing.

“She’s a top mare and she’s going to the Railway and Heroic Valour could be there, too, so it’s going to be exciting for us.

“Heroic Valour has already done well winning the Group One (Sistema Diamond Stakes) at Ellerslie as a two-year-old and being placed in the (Gr.1) 2000 Guineas.”

New Year’s Day at Ellerslie promises to be a big day for the Treweeks. As well as the Sistema Railway, the programme includes the Gr.2 Laser Plumbing Te Puke Avondale Cup and the $100,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final.

“We could have runners in all three races,” Treweek said. “Kachhi, a mare we bred and race, is being aimed at the Avondale Cup and if she doesn’t run in that she’ll start in the Dunstan Final, which is the race Magic Chai is going for. They’re the only three horses we are racing at the moment.

“Kachhi is the last foal of our mare Barija, She died a couple of hours after having her and Kachhi was raised on a foster mare.”

Highlights the Treweeks have experienced as owners include the 2000 Guineas with Atlante, the Grand National Hurdles with Cool Water and the Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes with San Luis.

This year they had double interest in the 2000 Guineas with Ever Loyal (third) and Te Akau Shark (fourth) being horses they prepared for sales.

The Treweeks are noted experts in preparing horses for the various sales. Their Lyndhurst Farm operation was the leading vendor by average at last month’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run sale of two-year-olds and, in total, they have sold 10 Group One winners and at least 25 stakes performers.

Lyndhurst Farm is very much a family concern with Mark and Shelley being joined in the day to day operation by their son Dylan (25), while Nicole helps out during sales time. And it’s going to be all hands on deck for the first session of the National Yearling Sales at Karaka in late January.

Lyndhurst Farm a 13-strong draft in Book One with many of the leading sires represented, including Tavistock, Fastnet Rock, I Am Invincible, Written Tycoon, Sebring, Reset, Hinchinbrook and Iffraaj. Ocean Park and other young sires Charm Spirit and Brazen Beau complete the line-up.

“Most of them are our own, but we also have some for clients,” Treweek said. “It should be a good sale.”

Best yet to come from Ever Loyal


Ever Loyal scoring a decisive win in the Listed Zacinto Stakes at Riccarton.

Smart Cambridge galloper Ever Loyal came a long way in a short time during the spring and continued improvement is expected during his summer campaign.

The Sebring three-year-old made his first appearance in September and off the back of two subsequent wins, including victory in the Listed Zacinto Stakes (1600m), he was a brave third after making the pace in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).

“He did it all on one preparation and he did a very good job for a big, green horse,” said trainer Tony Pike.

“It wasn’t the plan to lead in the Guineas. He was supposed to sit outside Bostonian, who slipped at the start, and Ever Loyal was left in front. That’s not his style and he’s best sitting in behind them.”

Raced by prominent Australian owner Rob Ferguson, Ever Loyal is now back in the stable and will return to racing later this month.

“He had a short break and I’m really happy with the way he has come back,” said Pike.

“He’ll be a better horse this time around and, at this stage, the plan is to kick him off at Ellerslie on Boxing Day in the three-year-old race over 1400 metres. The main target for him is the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.”

Meanwhile, multiple top-flight winner Sacred Star is on target for a first-up crack at the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m), a race he finished fourth in two years ago, on New Year’s Day.

“I’m really happy with the old boy,” said Pike. “He’s got his issues and he always has had, but he’s well and we’ve got about 20kg to pull off him in the next three weeks.”

– NZ Racing Desk.


Injury sidelines Mime

Mime winning the Gr.2 Travis Stakes at Te Rapa last April.

The summer preparation of the quality Cambridge mare Mime is over.

The Group Two winner and Group One placegetter was to have contested last Saturday’s Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) before injury ruled out her trip to Wellington.

“Unfortunately she rolled a joint and has damaged ligaments,” said Andrew Forsman, who trains the five-year-old with Murray Baker.

“It’s the end of her preparation and hopefully we can get her back for the autumn.”

  • NZ Racing Desk