Cambridge stars on Free Handicaps

Vinnie Colgan delighted with the Gr. 1 NZ Derby win by Rangipo, who missed at the Horse Of The Year awards but was justifiably recognised on the NZ 3YO Free Handicap (1600m-plus).

Vinnie Colgan delighted with the Gr. 1 NZ Derby win by Rangipo, who missed at the Horse Of The Year awards but was recognised with the top honour on the NZ 3YO Free Handicap (1600m-plus).

Many young gallopers from the Cambridge centre have made their presence felt on the NZ Free Handicaps released this week, particularly in the three-year-old staying section.

Cambridge horses fill the first three spots on the NZ Free Handicaps for three-year-olds performing from 1600 metres upwards, with the top honour going to Tony Pike’s Gr. 1 NZ Derby winner Rangipo on 60.5kg.

Close behind on 60kg is the Gr. 1 $A2 million Australian Derby winner Tavago from the barn of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, who recently shifted to Victoria. Stephen Marsh’s Gr. 1 Australian Oaks winner Sofia Rosa is third on the handicaps with 58kg.

Sharing fifth equal spot with the Ardmore three-year-old What’s The Story on 57kg are Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks winner Provocative and Derby placegetter Raghu, both stablemates of Rangipo.

Continuing Cambridge’s dominance on the staying three-year-old handicap are The Hassler (trained by Roger James) in eighth spot on 56.5kg and Get That Jive (Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman) in 10th equal rating with 55.5kg.

The Pike-trained Sacred Elixir validated his recognition as NZ Champion Three-Year-Old at last Sunday’s Horse Of The Year awards in Auckland with the top rating on the NZ Two-Year-Old Free Handicap with 58.5kg, 0.5 kg above the unbeaten Group One winner Heroic Valour.

The Busuttin and Young-trained Sicario is sixth on the juvenile list with 56kg, while four of the five horses sharing the next rating on 55.5kg also did their racing from the Cambridge centre. They are the Baker and Forsman stablemates Luna Rossa and Saracino, the Busuttin and Young-trained Caorunn and Manolo Blahniq, who was trained by Craig Thornton.

Rangipo also figures near the top of the list on the Three-Year-Old Free Handicap (from 1200 to 1600m), being in third spot on 58kg behind Xtravagant (61.5kg) and Dukedom (58.5kg).

Also featuring within the top 10 in that category are Margaret and Tim Carter’s Battle Time and Tavago (equal seventh on 56.5kg), while Get That Jive is ninth on 56kg.

The Free Handicaps demonstrate further what a wonderful season Cambridge has experienced in 2015-16 and what exciting times lay ahead for the exciting young gallopers.