History To Repeat

I believe history will repeat itself at Ellerslie in two weeks time.
That is when we will see this year’s Great Northern Hurdles and Steeplechase decided.
After last weekend’s results at the Pakuranga Hunt Club’s meeting I’m sure history will be repeated.
The Pakuranga Hunt meeting is basically a dress rehearsal for the Great Northern carnival.
And the two best lead up performances came from last years respective Northern winners, Southern Countess and Ima Heroine.
Southern Countess could not have been more impressive when winning the Tony Richards Toyota Hurdles.
In or near the lead throughout, Southern Countess was always travelling like a winner until hitting the last hurdle.
“That was a bit scary” said rider Mathew Gillies later.
Southern Countess was cruising coming to the last hurdle seemingly assured of victory.
However, the Matamata mare virtually failed to rise at the last and ploughed through the hurdle.
“She had put in a couple of big jumps earlier in the race and I thought she would do the same” said Gillies.
Amazingly Southern Countess shrugged off the near calamity, quickly regaining her equilibrium and dashing off for a clear cut win.
She had nearly four lengths to spare from nearest rival, favourite Waitoki Ahi.
Third, some eleven lengths away was The Missing Link.
An indication of her dominance was how quickly she recovered after bungling the last fence.
“She didn’t bat an eye lid……..I wouldn’t want to be on anything else” said Gillies.
Of course Gillies rode both Southern Countess and Ima Heroine to their wins last year.
If he was smiling after Southern Countess’s win, he was positively beaming after Ima Heroine’s performance in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup.
Although beaten into second place by stablemate Tom’s Myth, Ima Heroine was the star turn in the race.
As always she tailed the field for most of the race, before unleashing her customary sustained finishing burst.
From nearly twelve lengths off the leaders with 600m to go, Ima Heroine passed all bar Tom’s Myth, finishing  two and a half lengths from the winner.
“That was a beautiful run from a Northern perspective” said Gillies.
“She took ages to wind up and was only just warming up at the line” said Gillies.
Ima Heroine and Tom’s Myth will give trainer  Ann Browne plenty of ammunition for another tilt at the Great Northern.
Although beaten by Tom’s Myth I firmly believe Ima Heroine will turn the tables when they next meet.  
Three times over the famed Ellerslie hill will play right into her hands.
We shall see what sort of judge I am in two weeks time.
Finally…….a couple of weeks ago we learned that the Paeroa Racing Club was folding.
Mounting associated costs and continual trading losses saw the Paeroa Club decide to cut their losses.
It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise when it was announced last week, that the Waikato Racing Club will soon be racing at Paeroa.
The Waikato Racing Club will continue to stage their race days at Te Rapa.
In addition to those days, they will also pick up the former dates allocated to the Paeroa Racing Club.
Those new dates will be staged at Paeroa.
I’m not privvy to the wheeling and dealing that went on to make this happen.
All I can say is it is wonderful news.
The recent spate of abandonments regarding race days and particularly trials, due to adverse weather, is the proof required to keep Paeroa racetrack going.
Many trainers have bemoaned the lack of opportunities to give their horses much needed hit outs with these abandonments.
Keeping Paeroa racecourse going, albeit under different management is a step in the right direction.
The powers that be, should be commended.
I’ll catch you next week.