Venn’s welcome change of luck

Nobody could begrudge Cambridge owner-trainer Denise Venn her win with Handsome As at Ellerslie yesterday.

Venn has only a few horses in work and had planned to start two of her team at the National Jumps Day meeting, but disaster struck last Monday.

“I had three in work last Monday, but by the end of the day I was down to just one, Handsome As,” said Venn. “I had intended running Prince Silver Dale in the amateur riders’ event at Ellerslie, but after he galloped on Monday he was sore. He had a slight tendon injury so he’s gone out. The other one I had in work was a Don Eduardo gelding, who was to go to the trials last Friday, but he chipped the back of his fetlock.”

Venn certainly knows the ups and downs of racing and after taking the early week setbacks on her chin she was all smiles after Handsome As broke through for his first win in the Coca-Cola Mile. “It was good to get that one yesterday,” said Venn, who races the Handsome Ransom gelding in partnership with her mother, Pauline. “Shelley (Houston) rode him really well and he deserved to get a win. He went a good race at Te Aroha beforehand.”

Handsome As had been entered in a couple of sales before being bought by Venn. He was withdrawn from the weanling sale at Karaka and was passed in at the South Island Sale in August 2009. Reoffered by Esker Lodge at the 2010 National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Bloodstock Sale, he was purchased by Venn for $7500.

Handsome As won a trial before being unplaced in his debut at Tauranga last August and showed his first glimpse of form when third behind Sanz in his fifth start, at Te Aroha on September 21.

Venn never has more than a few horses in work and her previous win was in February 2010 at Pukekohe with Prince Silver Dale. “Now that I’ve had to put a couple out I’ve got a couple more than can come in now,” said Venn, who trains mainly for her family.

Venn is a daughter of the late Graham Venn, who was a successful trainer, initially from his Te Kuiti farm. His host of good horses included Lord Trustful, Resolution, Excelsior and Tamalane.