Hale’s thumbs up to Regelle

Cambridge trainer Shelley Hale came so close to a truly magical weekend of racing thanks to the broodmare Regelle.

Hale raced two of Regelle’s progeny, Two Up (by Shinko King) and his year younger brother Sum Up, at Te Rapa last Saturday with the result being a win by Two Up in the TR Pride Premier and a fast-finishing second by Sum Up in the day’s feature, the Group II Waikato Times Gold Cup.

Hale was very happy with the day’s result and her attention then switched to Hong Kong a day later and Thumbs Up, the older brother of the Te Rapa runners. Thumbs Up, a last-start winner of the Group II Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Cup, produced a brave showing in the Group I Hong Kong Vase and
wound up second to Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.

“I always get so nervous when Thumbs Up runs,” said Hale. “I get so excited I can’t go out and watch the race in public. He went a top race and he’s probably a better chaser, but it’s no disgrace being beaten by Dunaden.”

Hale had a high opinion of Thumbs Up from the outset and after he won his debut at Avondale in October 2007 the offers came thick and fast. Eventually she and her part-owners gave in and sold him to Hong Kong interests. “I keep a close watch on him over there, checking on all his trackwork on the internet and I’ve exchanged emails with (his trainer) Caspar Fownes,” said Hale. “He’ll always be a special horse for me.”

Thumbs Up has now won seven races and more than $HK25 million and has helped put his dam, Regelle (by Exploding Prospect) on the map.

Regelle was originally trained by Stu Dromgool and entered Hale’s stable in the hope that some jumping would improve her. “She didn’t show a lot to start with but in her first start for me she won,” said Hale.

Regelle’s owners, Robin Stent and Noel Johnstone gave Hale a share in Regelle and the trio have bred all of her foals. “Unfortunately Noel passed away last August,” said Hale. “It’s sad because he loved to see all her progeny race and I said to him the best is still to come. Robin has now taken over as racing manager.”

Stent and Johnstone were long-time friends from Thames and after selling Thumbs up they vowed not to let Regelle’s other foals go. But one of them, Straight Up (a four-year-old by Handsome Ransom), is now in Singapore with Laurie Laxon.

Straight Up was placed as a three-year-old last season and is still owned by Hale, Stent and the estate of Johnstone.

After watching Thumbs Up’s performance last Sunday Hale says she went out and gave Regelle a big hug. “She’s a plain little mare and nothing special, but she leaves lovely strapping colts,” said Hale.

Regelle has had five of her progeny to the races for four winners (the first being Son Of A King, two wins). She has produced two young brothers to Thumbs Up, Sum Up and Two Up. “We’ve got a two-year-old colt and a yearling colt both by Shinko King,” said Hale. “Regelle missed to Keeper last year, but she’s back in foal to Shinko King again.”

On the local scene Sum Up and Two Up look set to add to the value of Regelle’s progeny. Sum Up is being aimed at the Group II City Of Auckland Cup and the Group II Wellington Cup, while Two Up will be kept to the shorter distances.

“I’m out to make hay while the sun shines,” said Hale. “They’ve both come through their races well and hopefully they can keep it up.”