Rayner Adapts Alternative Training Techniques
Taurus and Hundyamonth display their winnings 6 days before racing at Wanganui.
Taurus and Hundyamonth take winning form into their local meeting at Whanganui on Saturday – but you won’t find the details in the racebook.
The stablemates recorded wins at their home track last weekend, but at a more sedate pace than normal.
Both horses had wins in the flat classes at a ribbon day at the racecourse. The outing added some variety to their work, as well as hinting at their life after racing.
“They will make lovely hacks for someone [after they finish racing],” trainer JJ Rayner said.
“I think it’s the third ribbon day they have been to. They can get bored with going around and around the track and it’s something a bit different for them.
“I was going to put Hundyamonth over jumps in the hunter class later in the day – he jumps really well – but it was pretty cold, and he had just been clipped, so we took him home.
“We pop Taurus over pony hurdles sometimes, but it’s unlikely that either horse will race over fences on raceday. Hundyamonth enjoys jumping but I doubt that he would handle the distance.”
Taurus, a rising 11-year-old, will be an attraction on his own on Saturday, when he tackles the $50,000 Listed AG Challenge Stakes for the seventh successive year.
It will be a remarkable achievement, both by the stable staff and the No Excuse Needed gelding, who was a four-year-old when he first contested the weight-for-age race, in 2013.
He finished fifth at his first attempt but has not been out of the money since. He ran third in 2014 and second in 2015, before gaining a deserved win in 2016.
He has finished third in the last two years and Rayner is happy with his condition, going into his second start in a new campaign. “He’s really well and seems as good as he’s ever been. He’s been a great horse to handle and never really been sore, apart from bone chips in a knee as a baby.”
Taurus, who performs best on wet tracks, rarely runs badly, with 11 wins and 35 minor placings from his 76 starts.
Hundyamonth, whose name reflects the costs for the original syndicate members, will tackle the rating 72 1200m and has a good record on his home track. “He goes really well at home,” Rayner said.
Seven-year-old Hundyamonth has won six races and recorded a milestone win at Woodville two starts back. The win took his earnings past $100,000 but more significantly gave Rayner her first win since taking sole charge of the family stable. JJ had previously trained in partnership with her father, Evan, who stepped aside on April 1.
The family partnership continued for more than 25 years and produced almost 300 wins, including 23 at black type level. There were three Group I wins with Start Wondering and other notable contributors included Van Winkle (18 wins) and Baltaine (13 wins).
JJ will have three runners on Saturday, the third being Karima who would appreciate a wet track in the maiden 1340m.