News In Brief
Stewards possible for smart mare
A trials win at Foxton on Tuesday was a step toward the Gr.3 $100,000 Stewards Stakes at Riccarton next month for the Group One placegetter Sweepstake.
Sweepstake, a daughter of Per Incanto, won her open heat over 1000 metres by two lengths from Gilhoolie. It was her second trial since undergoing a bone-chip operation on a knee.
“She trialled up well,” trainer Mike Breslin said. “She’s really talented and I honestly think she’d be a chance in the Stewards on the minimum weight.
“I’ll look for a run around here (central districts) in a Rating 65 as a lead-up and if she goes well she’ll go down to Riccarton.”
Sweepstake has raced just five times for a win and three placings, including a third behind La Diosa in last year’s Gr.1 NZ 1000 Guineas.
Earlier she had finished fourth to three star performers - La Diosa, Heroic Valour and Savile Row - in the Listed Barneswood Farm Stakes at Ashburton and in her debut she was fourth to Jon Snow, who now is a strong candidate for the Caulfield Cup after winning the Gr.1 Australian Derby and Gr. 3 JRA Cup.
Two wins in two days for Super Easy
Former Ruakaka filly Lisdoonvarna capped a successful couple of days in Australia for Hallmark Stud sire Super Easy when winning decisively on Tuesday.
Lisdoonvarna had been a trials winner for the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs stable and was sold to Australia after an eye-catching debut third at Ruakaka last May.
Raced by Warwick Farm trainers Mandy Turner and Mauro Poletti, she was a trials winner on her home track before clearing maiden ranks decisively over 1100 metres in her Australian debut at Nowra on Tuesday.
A day earlier Easy Beast, another of the Super Easy progeny, was even more impressive at Echuca for Cranbourne trainer Richard Laming when streeting his rivals by six lengths over 1000 metres. It was his first start as a three-year-old and followed three placings in as many juvenile outings.
The double took Super Easy’s strike rate in Australia to a 66.6% winners to runners’ ratio.
“It is very exciting to see Super Easy really starting to make his mark as a sire,” Hallmark Stud’s Mark Baker said.
“He has had solid success with race winners in New Zealand and Australia and trial winners in Singapore as well, which is where of course he was a Champion Racehorse and crowned Horse of the Year.”
Heading the list for Super Easy on the homefront is the speedy Prom Queen, a multiple stakes-winning filly who has won seven of her eight starts and is on target for the Gr.1 NZ 1000 Guineas at Riccarton next month.
More success with Baker boys
Scott Richardson’s success with the Baker stables continued in Australia on Tuesday with the win at Nowra of Free Way.
Richardson has had vast success from Murray Baker’s Cambridge stable with the highlights coming from Group One winner Diademe, Mr Tipsy and Highlad, while Baker’s son, Bjorn, has continued the winning run with Richardson from his Warwick Farm establishment. Burbero was a star for the Richardson – Bjorn Baker partnership and Mr Tipsy also had success for the younger member of the Baker family.
Though he has a long way to go to give Richardson such big thrills as Diademe and company, Free Way is shaping up well with a record of two wins and a third from just five starts.
He cleared maiden ranks last May and after a resuming run last month he was too good for his rivals over 1200 metres on Tuesday.
Free Way was the second winner on the card for Baker, the other being Cappella Magna, and both were ridden by former Kiwi jockey Rory Hutchings.
Wair Affair returning to NZ
Former Singapore Horse of the Year (2014) War Affair will be returning to New Zealand for a six-month spell while his connections ponder his future.
Whether the $3 million earner can soar back to such heights, let alone race again will depend very much on the next six months in New Zealand, where Marsh and his owners, the Ong family hope the greener space and fresher air can fix his well-documented wind issues.
The seven-year-old O’Reilly gelding last raced in the S$200,000 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) on September 10, where he finished sixth to fellow New Zealand bred Countofmontecristo.
Trainer Bruce Marsh revealed he could of pushed on with War Affair, but thought a decent spell in New Zealand would do him the world of good.
“If we had to be very tough, we could have pushed on, but we felt it was time he gets a proper break from racing,” Marsh said.
“Obviously, we wouldn’t have gone to such lengths with a Class 5 horse. War Affair owes us nothing but we are trying this and we’ll see what comes out of it.
“He will be going to New Zealand at a place which is still undecided. He will rest and play there for five to six months.
“We will monitor his progress during that time, and the plan is to race him back here if he gets better.
“As we all know, he had serious respiratory issues and had a wind operation which was the first of its kind done here – it was pulled far back.
“He was never really 100 per cent after the op as he then had complications with a bout of pneumonia.
“Even when he lost at his recent races, he still tried so hard, which goes to show what a great horse he is to overcome all these obstacles and still perform at the highest level.”
War Affair is likely to travel to New Zealand at the end of October.
Brilliant start to Karaka Million trail
A professional display on debut at Ruakaka on Wednesday has put Matamata filly Irish Cream into a prime position for the Karaka Million next January.
Irish Cream bounced out to lead and was clear at the 600 metres then challengers appeared on straightening for the run home in the Tavistock Owners Syndicate 2YO, but the daughter of O’Reilly accelerated and soon put daylight on the opposition.
She gave Cameron Lammas an easy ride and went to the finish with her ears pricked, winning effortlessly by seven lengths from Hasabro with a gap of a length and a half to the erratic favourite Mexican Tycoon.
“She’s a beautiful filly and she’s impressed us all the way through,” co-trainer Jamie Richards said.
“Dan Miller broke her in and he loved her. Since she’s come into the stable she’s done everything 100 per cent.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way she’s going. She looks a real professional.”
Twelve months ago the Stephen Autridge-Richards stable won on debut at Ruakaka with Melody Belle, who went on to win the Karaka Million, and Irish Cream is to follow a similar path to the $1 million two-year-old event at Ellerslie.
“We’re in no rush with her now,” Richards said. “She can have a bit of a break and we can pick and choose where to go with her.”
Bred by Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, Irish Cream was bought from the Premier Sale at Karaka by David Ellis for $210,000. She is a granddaughter of the Gr.1 VATC Oakleigh Plate winner Dantelah.