News In Brief
Railway plan for Gift Of Power
Graeme Rogerson has his sights set on talented filly Gift Of Power joining stablemate Ferrando in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
The three-year-old filly took a step toward the lofty goal when lining up in an open 1000-metre trial at Matamata on Tuesday.
Gift Of Power disputed most of the pace with Break My Stride and she pleased the Tuhikaramea trainer with her fighting second, a head behind Akoya, when ridden by his granddaughter, Bailey Rogerson.
“She had missed a bit of work since she last raced and needed the trial,” Rogerson said. “She will run next in a Rating 85 1000m at Trentham. I want to get her into the Railway. I think she is good enough.”
Gift Of Power has won four of her seven starts, including the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham last December, and she was runner-up in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) behind Hasahalo, who went on to recently win the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
Ferrando is already on target for the Sistema Railway, though Rogerson believes he should have finished closer than fourth in last Saturday’s Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl.
“The track was a Dead4 and he needs it rock hard,” Rogerson said. “He still went a top race.He’ll have another run before the Railway.”
Ferrnando was an impressive winner at Trentham last month when taking his winning tally to five and he followed up with a close third in the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint at Te Rapa before his Counties effort.
Trial causes first-up rethink
Margaret Carter believed the likely fresh-up mission for Battle Time had been decided, but she was having second thoughts after the Group Two winner competed at Tuesday’s Matamata trials.
After being off the scene since winning over 1400 metres at Ellerslie last June, Battle Time contested an open 1000-metre heat, in which he settled in the last few and beat a couple home.
In his burly state it was an effort which satisfied rider Sam Spratt, but both she and Carter, who prepares Battle Time with her husband, Tim, agreed to rethink the first-up assignment planned for the son of Battle Paint.
“We were thinking of running him first-up in the open 1200 at Ellerslie on the ninth (of December), but after watching him trial they might go too quick for him over 1200. It may be better to find a 1400 first-up,” Carter said. “It mightn’t be as hard on him.”
Spratt was quick to support the 1400-metre idea and is looking forward to continuing her association with the five-year-old entire when he resumes. Spratt was aboard Battle Time when he won the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton 12 months ago and also rode him when second in the Gr.1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie as a two-year-old.
Southern Icon back on track
Matamata trainer Alan Tait is hoping to have finally turned the corner with Southern Icon after a frustrating year with the bold galloper.
Southern Icon has won once during the year (fresh-up at Te Rapa last July) and run some sound races, but he has been plagued by viruses.
“He’s had two viruses,” Tait said. “Just when we thought we had got him right he got another one. It’s been such a frustrating year.”
Southern Icon did manage a fourth behind Underthemoonlight in the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) last August before tailing the field home a few weeks later at Ruakaka.
Freshened since that last run, he was given a hit-out at Tuesday’s Matamata trials and showed his usual dash in front in his four-horse heat over 1200 metres. He kept up a solid gallop to the line for regular rider Mark Hills to win by a length and three-quarters from Cool Tart.
“His action was good and I’m happy with that,” Tait said. “I’m just restricted where to go with him.
“He doesn’t go right-handed so that rules out most of the races up this way. There’s only the Group Three at Te Rapa (J. Sawp Contractors Sprint (1400m)) in a few weeks or he’ll have to go down to the central districts and I don’t really want to travel away with him first-up.”