Snow Excuse Claims Ryder

Promising youngster Snow Excuse claimed a nail baiting win in the Ryder Stakes last Saturday.

 The Ralph Manning trained gelding edged out race favourite Testa Secret by a nose in a thrilling finish. The Listed Stakes event is traditionally the last black type event for the two year olds for the season.

 Snow Excuse was ridden by Micheal Coleman who was confident of victory before turning for home.

 “The way the race panned out, I was pretty confident of winning but we had a real battle to get past the runner up” said Coleman.

After settling mid field, Snow Excuse challenged the leaders with 300m to go. At that stage Testa Secret, ridden by Lisa Allpress, looked like justifying the race favouritism.

 “I knew we were in trouble when the winner came at us, but my filly refused to give up and tried really hard” said Allpress.

Snow Excuse and Testa Secret had the finish to themselves with the third placed Elusive Red a further three lengths away.

 For Manning, the victory was even more special.

“I race him in partnership with my parents and long time friend Ivan Julian, so this is a great thrill” said Manning.

 Snow Excuse has fashioned a race record of two wins, a second and a third placing from just four starts. With this latest win, he took his stake earnings to nearly $40,000.

 Manning was adamant that although his form is on rain affected tracks, Snow Excuse is not just a “mudder”.

“He should go on top of the ground too, and I think he has the potential to be competitive in some of those Guineas races” he said.

Also successful at Otaki was Indian Sky who registered her fifth career win for trainer Paul Duncan. The Stravinsky mare bolted in for apprentice Ryan Hurdle, winning by more than five lengths over the 1400m .

A little closer to home at Te Rapa, saw local owner trainer Jocelyn Burley gain a nice win with Happyto Keepa. The lightly raced 5yr old mare scored a meritorious victory over 1200m for Rogan Norvall.

 After travelling just in behind the leaders, Norvall went for an inside run on Happyto Keepa, with the combination dashing through late to score by half a length.

“She travelled well throughout and when I asked her to go, she really responded well” said Norvall.

 The Burley – Norvall combination nearly made it a double for the meeting when Happiness Rules finished second in the very next race.

The feature race the Taumarunui Cup was a triumph for former Trackside presenter Alexander Fieldes.

The talented horseman saddled up Marea Alta to win with Noel Harris in the saddle.

 Many years ago, I was silly enough to stay with “ARA” after a Wanganui race meeting. The experience caused tremendous emotional turmoil which could have broken a lesser man, but somehow I survived!

 The thing I do remember though is a lovely photograph of Fieldes and Harris with the caption, “The King and the Man”.

Last Saturday the King and the Man ruled the roost in the $80,000 Listed race.

 Marea Alta is owned by Mark Oulaghan, himself a trainer and noted horseman.

 “Mark wanted to sack this mare and I said I’ll have a go with her and she’s done a great job” explained Fieldes.

 It was her fourth consecutive win, a testament to her trainer’s horsemanship.

Well done ARA!

Finally congratulations to all on a wonderfully successful 2010/11 season for the Cambridge centre.

 A record breaking season for wins and importantly the quality of wins, with no fewer than ten Group One successes.

 May that continue for the new 2011/12 season!

 Catch you next week.

 Cheers

 George.