Billy Boy will contest the Hilal @ Grangewilliam Stud 2040 at Wanganui on Thursday.   Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Rathbone well represented at Wanganui

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
10 July 2024

Local trainer Jo Rathbone will be represented by two of her well-performed gallopers in Billy Boy and Mr Twinkletoes at Wanganui’s Thursday meeting.

A regular front-runner, Billy Boy returned to the winner’s circle after setting his own terms in the Amateur event at Te Aroha last month, and he will step up in grade in the Hilal @ Grangewilliam Stud 2040.

“He just likes to roll along in front at a nice pace, Amber (Riddell, amateur jockey) seems to get along with him and rode him really well there,” Rathbone said.

“He’s obviously up in grade tomorrow, but he always tries hard.”

A former top jumps jockey, Rathbone has sights on a career over fences for the capable stayer and has noted next month’s Grand National week in Christchurch as a possible starting point for his new career.

“I’m hoping to have a bit of a team to go down south and he’s definitely one who may head down,” she said.

“He went last year and ran a couple of placings on the flat, but he also has his jumping ticket so I will decide over the next couple of weeks whether he potentially has his first jumping race down there. He jumps pretty nicely.”

Lightly-raced four-year-old Mr Twinkletoes returned to the trials after his second-up fourth at New Plymouth in early June, preparing him for the Carpet Maintenance & Cleaning 1600.  

“We went back to the trials as there just wasn’t really a suitable race for him, at times there seems to be a whole lot of options at once then not many,” Rathbone said.

“He’s been to Wellington a couple of times and not gone particularly well there, so when you have a horse like him who doesn’t seem to go well at a certain place, you’re a bit stuck for options.

“It’ll be the same with him as Billy Boy, we’ll see how he goes tomorrow and decide whether he goes down to Christchurch for some flat races too.

“Jumping wouldn’t be in his near future, but all of my horses do a bit of schooling in their work so potentially one day. It all depends on the horse really.”

Top apprentice Lily Sutherland will fulfil the rides on both horses, as well as having her third start aboard Nigelnomates, who despite strongly over racing has performed well in both of his appearances to date.

“He’s not the easiest to ride, he can go pretty hard early then decide that he’s maybe had enough and make Lily work quite hard,” Rathbone said.

“He does have the ability, it’s just getting him into putting his mind on the job and he can be a bit like that in his track work as well.”

The son of Preferment has drawn an outside barrier in the capacity field of 12 for the Manawatu Sound Services MDN (1600m).

“I think she’ll (Sutherland) just have to play it by air with the draw, he really does his own thing and might either be fierce or miss the start, as he has done in the past,” Rathbone said.

“It is a tricky draw especially from the mile start, but I’m sure Lily will have it sorted.

“He’s come through his couple of runs well and he shouldn’t be far away I wouldn’t have thought.”

Rathbone will also be represented Koda in the Wanganui Insurance Brokers MDN 3YO (1200m) and Julianus in the Wanganui-Taranaki Racehorse Owners Association MDN (1340m), with the latter showing good improvement off a spell first-up at Otaki.

“I thought it was quite a nice run first-up and he doesn’t seem to mind a wet track,” Rathbone said.

“I can’t see it improving much from a heavy 10 even though we’re having good days, at my place it’s been heavy frosts so that doesn’t allow the track to do much drying. He should handle those conditions though.”

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