News In Brief
Cup day double
Eight years after the son of Street Cry won the 3200m Flemington feature his daughter Fanatic has claimed top honours in the undercard staying contest.
She triumphed in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) for Te Awamutu trainers Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney before transferring to the powerful Victorian operation of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Tuesday’s win over 2800m in the hands of Kiwi jockey Michael Walker came at her sixth start from her new quarters.
“She was in season at her last start so we were looking for her to bounce back,” said Jack Kiernan, son of Taranaki breeder-owner Sean.
Te Rapa return for promising 4YO
Cha Siu Bao will make his four-year-old debut at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“We’ll kick him off in the Rating 75 over 1400m,” co-trainer Andrew Scott said. “He’s coming up well and we’re pretty hopeful he’s going to be competitive.”
Cha Siu Bao has won twice and measured up encouragingly against the best three-year-olds last season, as evidenced by his run for fourth in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
He hasn’t raced since be bucked out of the gates when unplaced in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and he has subsequently been gelded.
Wide run no problem
Ellerslie winner El Fernando covered more ground than any other runner in the opening event, but trainer Mark Brooks wasn’t concerned.
His chestnut five-year-old was posted three wide before working to second spot down the back and then fought gallantly under rider Trudy Thornton to beat the topweight Hushed in Tuesday’s Chevalier Produce 2200m.
“It was a good run and he likes wide, open spaces,” Brooks said. “If he’s caught on the inside he doesn’t try too hard. He’s definitely better out, not every horse is suited like that but he is so I was happy.”
El Fernando has no won three times on the flat and he was twice placed over hurdlers during the winter.
Promising mare gets her reward
Stakes performer Grand Soleil gained an overdue first victory at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day.
The Tony Pike-prepared Savabeel mare, who is out of the Group One-performed Gretchen, won the Carlton Events 1600m as she liked under rider Vinnie Colgan.
Grand Soleil looked well above average last season when she finished third in the Gr.2 Royal Stakes (2000m) and runner-up in the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes (1600m).
Another creditable performance was her run for fifth in the Gr.2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic (2000m), five lengths off the subsequent multiple Group One winner Bonneval.
Bold showing for tyro trainer
Alison Ritchie’s first runner to the races has done the novice Cambridge trainer proud.
She produced Way In, formerly prepared by her husband Shaune, to come from the tail of the field to finish fourth in the Auckland Co-Op Taxis 1200m behind the impressive Joy Anna.
“I don’t have any grand illusions, but I think there’s a Rating 65 race in her,” Ritchie said.
The winner Joy Anna is trained by Mark Blackie, who is part of the syndicate that races the Iffraaj mare, and she gave a powerful front-running display to score for the third time in seven starts.
Topweight too good at Ellerslie
A brave Watch This Space defied his topweight at Ellerslie on Tuesday to continue his impressive form this season.
The Wayne Hillis-trained six-year-old gave the runner-up Zacada five and a-half kilos when successful in the Carbine Club Trophy (1600m).
Winning rider Sam Weatherley has now won three times on Watch This Space this term, having previously combined to good effect with the gelding at Ruakaka and Hawke’s Bay. Their only miss was a close eighth in the Gr.3 Spring Sprint at Hastings.