News In Brief
Light spring ahead for Kaharau
Last year’s Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) place-getter Kaharau will bypass this year’s two-mile feature in favour of a lighter spring preparation.
The Ken Rae and Krystal Williams-Tuhoro trained gelding had his first hit-out of the season in a 1000m trial at Avondale on Tuesday, pleasing his connections after resuming from a disappointing Queensland winter campaign.
“It was very ordinary (his winter campaign),” Rae said. “I probably shouldn’t have taken him over there, but that’s hindsight.
“I was rapt with him in his trial, he went super.”
The seven-year-old will have another trial on his home track before a decision is made on his spring and summer targets.
“I’m going to give him another trial at Ruakaka and if he goes really good I’ll start him in the Matamata Cup,” Rae said. “Otherwise I’ll take him down to the South Island for a mile somewhere and maybe the Dunedin Gold Cup.
“He’s not ready for the New Zealand Cup this year.”
Hong Kong breakthrough for Kiwi Group Two winner
Trainer Tony Cruz said Class 2 Wah Fu Handicap (1650m) winner Circuit Glory is capable of finding the form he had when winning the Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) in New Zealand.
Though Cruz admits that the five-year-old son of Tavistock, who raced as Tavidream when trained by Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs, does need to work on his attitude in order to reach those heights following his win at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
"He’s always been an impressive horse, he won five of seven in New Zealand, and I think that if he can just be a bit better with his manners, he can win a few races this season," Cruz said.
“Derek (Leung) rode an ideal race and he won with a bit of authority there.”
The night’s feature, the Class 3 Community Chest Cup Handicap (1000m), was taken out by another New Zealand bred galloper, the Ricky Yiu-trained Keep Moving.
“He’s a horse with plenty of talent, but he’s had a few issues,” Yiu said.
“Not many horses can win five from 10 in Hong Kong though. The Happy Valley 1000m is perfect for him with tempo and pace, so I will look for another one now he will be in Class 2."
Keep Moving was sold by the Hawkins family’s Wentwood Grange at the 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale and is by Darci Brahma out of their Group One winning mare Miss Raggedy Ann.
Auckland Cup options for Alexander
Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander fears he is running out of time to play a significant role in the Melbourne Spring Carnival as his strangles drama lingers.
Alexander had hoped to be back training yesterday, 10 days after reporting his suspicion that two of his horses had the contagious virus. Only one was confirmed to have strangles.
But Alexander is now awaiting the results of further tests with no indication from Racing Victoria as to when he might be able to resume training.
Alexander has Wheal Leisure and Lord Fandango on Caulfield and Melbourne Cup campaigns but said he would struggle to prepare them if the stable lock-down remains in place beyond midway through next week.
“We’ve been keeping the work up to them via swimming and treadmill work but the bottom line is we’re going to quickly run out of time unless we get some clarity very soon,’’ he said.
“If we’re able to resume by next Wednesday, we can maybe pull it off but we have absolutely no idea.’’
Alexander said he was already plotting campaigns around the major Cups and suggested a Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) bid in the autumn might be considered for Lord Fandango and Weal Leisure.
The $500,000 Auckland Cup will be run on March 9 with the conditions of the race changing in recent years from handicap to set weights and penalties.
Former Kiwis salute
It was a good day for former New Zealand trained gallopers Ruomaza and So Taken on Wednesday, with the pair successful at the metropolitan meetings in Victoria and New South Wales respectively.
Ruomaza was a winner of his only New Zealand start for Kevin Myers when landing a maiden at Wanganui in June, and the son of Azamour was successful in his Australian debut at Bendigo for new trainer Darren Weir.
“He’s a nice horse,” winning jockey Ben Melham said. “He is quite raw. I had to really help him with his action but there is good improvement with him mentally and he is with the right trainer.”
Meanwhile in Sydney, So Taken broke through for Chris Waller at her second start since coming from the Rogerson stable in New Zealand.
"She's not quite there physically but she's got all the heart in the world," jockey Hugh Bowman said.
"In a few months' time when she develops she will be up to the better ones."
Al Basti Equiworld gift two trips to Dubai
Al Basti Equiworld Dubai in association with the Canterbury Jockey Club, Wellington Racing Club and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, have today announced a competition which will reward four lucky racegoers with a trip to the United Arab Emirates for the 2019 Dubai World Cup.
Every racegoer who attends a meeting at Riccarton Park or Wellington Races between now and the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) meeting at Riccarton Park on November 10, 2018 and Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) meeting at Trentham Racecourse on March 16, 2019, have a chance to win.
The prize includes two return Emirates Economy flights from New Zealand to Dubai, airport pickup and transfer to the five-star Meydan Hotel for six nights, two tickets to the Dubai World Cup Barrier Draw, two tickets to Breakfast with the Stars, two tickets to the Gala Reception and hospitality in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Private Box overlooking Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup night.
“Al Basti Equiworld is delighted to support New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and we are sure this incentive will prove popular with racegoers at Riccarton Park and Wellington,” Al Basti Equiworld Dubai representative Michael O’Hagan said.
“We look forward to welcoming the winners to Meydan in March for what promises to be another spectacular renewal of the world’s greatest race meeting, The Dubai World Cup.”
Created through the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai World Cup race meeting is the world’s richest race with total prizemoney of US$35 million.
The meeting features six Group One races and three Group Two races, with the US$12 million Gr.1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) the pinnacle event. The 2019 edition of the Dubai World Cup takes place on Saturday March 30, 2019.
Racegoers will be required to fill in an entry form in the race book and place it into one of the marked entry barrels on course. Participants can enter once each time they attend a race meeting, meaning that those who attend multiple meetings at a venue have additional chances of winning the prize.
The winner of the first trip for two will be announced at Riccarton Park on Gr.1 NZ Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas Day and the second will be announced at Trentham on Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks Day.