Calder makes immediate impact

Fresh from a further stint in Macau, Cambridge jockey Andrew Calder was showing his skills at the Racing Tauranga meeting today.

Calder rode in Macau last Friday and Saturday and was back in New Zealand last Monday with his services sought for today’s Tauranga meeting. Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman snapped him up for four of their charges, while Ralph Manning also engaged him for Civics Rock.

He began the day with an unlucky third on Neo in the first event then picked up a sixth on Khalessi and a second on Great Of Favours, who was beaten a head. Then his luck changed in the next two races, scoring on Mackadoo in the Gilmours Tauranga 1400 and Civics Rock in the Gartshore Construction 1200.

“It’s good to get some winners so soon,” said Calder. “I did all right over in Macau during the two months I was there. I won seven, but I was keen to come back for the spring. I could go back a bit later on, but for now I want to concentrate on getting going here again.”

Mackadoo looked a big chance to give Calder a win today and so it proved as he beat stablemate Swami by a neck. He had won four of his previous 15 starts and those wins included a three-year-old event at Caulfield in September 2010. His most recent win had been at Hawera last May and he was spelled after a couple more runs.

“He’s got heaps of ability, but he’s had a lot of leg problems and he tends to look after himself a bit,” said Forsman after last Saturday’s win. “This was only his second start right-handed and he ran last in his first one this way round. He had been working well.”

Good trackwork has also boosted the confidence of Ralph Manning over the prospects of Civics Rock in the Gartshore Construction 1200. “I thought he’d win,” said Manning. “He has been working with Innovation (a stakeswinner and runner in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes) and working really well. He’s amazing because he’s been up for so long and he’s still going so well.”

The four-year-old won with authority, settling back and storming down the outside to beat the pacemaker Danrose, while there was a gap to third-placed Sweet Suitor.

Civics Rock, a son of Civics (who stands at Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge), has now won six races from 18 starts and is raced by Manning and Tony Coombe.