From the Commentary Box – Monday, 16 December 2013


Cambridge trained horses dominated Waikato Cup day at Te Rapa last Saturday.

The locals won five of the ten races on the card, including three of the four feature races.

Leading the charge again was the in form stable of Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue.

The training combination provided two winners, including the Waikato Cup winner More Than Sacred.

Sent out as the dominant pre race favourite, More Than Sacred had to dig deep to head off Wisecrack in the Group Three staying feature.

Wisecrack, ridden by Mark Du Plessis, nearly stole the race after shooting several lengths clear with 800m to go.

“The pace was so slow and my horse was over racing so I thought I’d let him run” said Du Plessis.

It was only over the last 50m that More Than Sacred was able to overhaul Wisecrack to win by three quarters of a length, with another local, Guns at Five a game third after being trapped wide throughout.     

Last years’ NZ Oaks winner, More Than Sacred was ridden by Leith Innes, who was praised by co trainer Tony Pike after the win.

“Leith made a huge effort to get down to the 53kgs today and his ride was a real no panic ride” said Pike.

Innes had been on a strict diet for two weeks to strip his already lean frame to get down to the weight.

“I knew she would be worth the effort and thats how it turned out” said Innes.

Raced by Raffles Farm, More Than Sacred will be a force to be reckoned with in the major staying races over the summer months.

The same owner, trainer and jockey combination capped off the day with Sacred Star winning the last race on the card.

In the process, Sacred Star completed a notable hat trick of wins and looks a galloper of real potential coming through the grades.


Diademe gave Innes a big race double when she led all the way to win the Group Two Cal – Isuzu Stakes.

The Baker – Forsman trained mare dominated her rivals, scoring comfortably from another local, Zurella.

Diademe looked unlucky at her last start after being held up in the straight.

Innes allowed her to stride to the lead and rated her beautifully to win comfortably.

Stablemate and race favourite Lady Kipling was never travelling well according to her rider Opie Bosson.

“She felt flat a long way from home and I was never confident at any stage” said Bosson.

Diademe looks set to be a major player over the summer months.


Former Hong Kong galloper Pizzazz created a boilover when winning the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Sprint.

Trained by John Bell, Pizzazz came from near last on the turn to storm to a narrow victory over Needly with another local, Harvest close up in third spot.

Ridden by Reece Jones, Pizzazz surprised punters returning $62 for the win.

Bell, however, was not surprised by the win.

“He was caught wide at his last start and his jockey Trudy Thornton said he’d win his next start” said Bell.

Rider Reece Jones was suitably impressed.

“I had watched his races from Hong Kong and he always stormed home from well back in the field so we just rode him like that” said the senior rider.

The acceleration Pizzazz showed will ensure he won’t be at such lucrative odds next time.


The other local winner at Te Rapa was Procurement.

The O’Reilly filly created another favourable impression when scoring over 1400m.

Fresh from an impressive debut win at her previous start, Procurement handled the rise in class with contemptuous ease.

Sent straight to the front by jockey Danielle Johnson, Procurement gave her army of supporters no cause for concern, scoring by two and a half lengths.

Trainer Stephen Marsh felt vindicated by the effortless win.

“We have always had a huge opinion of her and it was great to see her step up again today” said Marsh.

Procurement will continue to progress through the grades.

She is very smart.

Catch you next week.