News In Brief
Trials experience for Greenpark Gem
Promising Rangiora filly Greenpark Gem will head to her local trials next Tuesday before her next stakes appearance.
The Highly Recommended filly finished seventh behind Kiwi Ida in the Listed NZB Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton last month after creating a big impression with a game debut win on the same track a fortnight earlier.
“She needs a bit more experience,” co-trainer Matt Brown said. “They went a quite slowly in the Canterbury Belle and she over-raced.
“We’re hoping a trial next Tuesday will teach her more and she can then go straight to the John Grigg Stakes (now named the Barnswood Farm Stakes) at Ashburton.
“She’s a smart filly but needs more practice.”
Another Riccarton trip for Heni
Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin is planning another Riccarton raid with his under-rated mare Heni.
Heni has found Riccarton a happy hunting ground with four of her eight wins recorded on the track.
In fact, during her travels to the Canterbury base she has started 11 times and never been further back than fourth with her placed record reading three seconds, two thirds and two fourths.
“She loves it down there and I’m setting her for the Canterbury Breeders Stakes on the second day again,” Breslin said. “She ran third in it last year.
“She could also run on the first day in the Pegasus Stakes. She has no problem backing up. She’s done it so often down there.”
Heni’s most recent start was last July when fourth at Awapuni, but she had a trial at Foxton on Tuesday and performed well for a close second to Incantation over 1000 metres.
Debut wins no surprise to Collett
In-form jockey Alysha Collett wasn’t surprised by the impressive debut wins of Prior Engagement and Warset at Ruakaka on Wednesday.
Collett moved up to second on the NZ Jockeys’ Premiership with 15 wins when kicking home four winners at the Whangarei meeting and she was particularly taken by the winning performances of Prior Engagement, from Danny Walker’s stable, and Warset, trained by Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs.
“I rode them both at the Avondale trials and they were two of the nicest young horses I’d sat on for a long time,” Collett said. “They trialled up great and won well on Wednesday. They’ve got bright futures.”
Prior Engagement, a three-year-old son of Alamosa, was second in that Avondale trial last month after picking up a win and a second in two previous trials, both also at Avondale.
Warset, a three-year-old by Shocking, won his Avondale trial in his first public appearance and he beat Oriental Dragon, who had been runner-up on raceday.
Cup lead-up to stakes mission
Highlad will be on trial for a return to black-type competition when he tackles the Te Awamutu Cup (2000m) at Te Awamutu on Sunday.
Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are focusing on the Listed Sweynesse Stakes (1950m) at Rotorua on October 21 for Highlad if he shapes up this weekend.
A last-start winner over 2100 metres in Rating 75 company at Hastings last month, Highlad will be giving a weight advantage to all his rivals in the Cal Isuzu-sponsored event when lumping the topweight of 60kg.
“It’ll make it a bit tougher for him with the weight, but we’re really happy with him,” Forsman said. “The race is on our doorstep and it will be a nice lead-up for Rotorua.”
A winner of four of his 12 starts, Highlad has contested seven black-type races.
He won last season’s Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) and was then third in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington, while his efforts during last autumn included a fifth in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).