Cropp Back In Business

Lisa Cropp made a welcome return to black type success last Saturday.
The vastly experienced Cropp combined with one of the least experienced runners to win the Listed Rotorua Stakes at Arawa Park.
Oak Park, owned in Queensland and prepared by Murray Baker, withstood a determined late bid from Zennista to win the Windsor Park Stud sponsored event.
The diminutive filly held on in a driving finish to win by a half head, with another local, Fleur De Lune  a further short head back in third spot.
“It’s great to win a decent race here in NZ again” Cropp said after the win.
“I’m certainly appreciative of Murray Baker giving me the opportunity to ride this filly today” she added.
Cropp’s strength in a finish certainly helped Oak Park secure the valuable black type win.
“She’s not very big but gee she’s got a big heart” said Cropp later.
The More Than Ready filly was scoring her fourth win from just 12 starts and it was easily her most important win to date.
Baker stable foreman Andrew Forsman revealed how Oak Park was a surprise starter in the race.
“We nominated her for the R75 race as well and when we saw she was two on the ballot for this race, we were pretty sure she would be in the other race” said Forsman.
Luckily, Oak Park got the two scratchings she required for a start in the Rotorua Stakes, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Forsman was delighted for another reason with the success.
“Her owner Mr Collins, lives in Queensland and he’s been a little unwell recently, so this will be a great fillip for him” he said.
For Cropp the win was special too.
“It’s been hard work getting back into the riding scene here, but I’m enjoying it and maybe this is the start of some good times” said Cropp.
With James McDonald plying his trade on the world stage, it is great to have a senior rider of Cropp’s ability here.
With all that has happened previously in her career, one fact still remains undiminished.
She can ride!
There were two other local successes at Arawa Park on Saturday.
Shakeitup caused an upset when winning at odds of 25 to 1 over 2200m.
Given a lovely ride by Richard Cully, Shakeitup stormed through on the inner to beat another local, Moni Nui, ridden by Lance MacFarlane.
Shakeitup is owned and trained by Michael Roustoby and Jen McIlroy.
Although unwanted in the betting, connections were expecting a good run.
“Whenever Richard rides him he finishes in the first three and he’d improved with his fresh up run recently” said Roustoby.
Although last weekend’s victory came on the flat, Shakeitup’s future definitely lies over fences.
“He’s a promising hurdler and we’ll aim him towards the Hawkes Bay Hurdles” said Roustoby.
It was the fifth win of Shakeitup’s career and he could be in for a profitable winter.
Happyto Keepa headed another local quinella when winning over 1400m.
Owned and trained by Jocelyn Burley, Happyto Keepa completed a notable back to back double after scoring at her previous start.
“I thought she’d run well today and although there wasn’t much in it at the finish, she deserved it” said Burley.
Ridden by Rogan Norvall, Happyto Keepa prevailed by the barest of margins over race favourite Lucy In Disguise.
“I was confident we had won” said Norvall after the judge confirmed the placings.
“Jocelyn’s done a great job with this mare and she seems so much stronger now too” added Norvall.
Happyto Keepa has fashioned a very good record with Saturday’s win her fourth from 14 starts.
The under rated mare is one to watch closely in the near future.   
Finally, the Black Caviar story continued on it’s merry way last Saturday.
The Aussie wonder mare made it twenty one wins from twenty one starts when winning another Group One sprint, the Goodwood.
The hype surrounding her is unbelievable and the scenes trackside were unprecedented.   
Of course she now heads to Royal Ascot to take on the best Eurpoe can offer.
And trust me…….. she will continue to win.
Simply put, she is equine perfection.
Catch you next week!