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18th Nov: The Saturday Racing Wrap
Published: 18 Nov 2017 - - Author: NZ Racing Desk


Sam Spratt Feature Double At Riccarton

Jockey Sam Spratt and trainer Andrew Campbell enjoyed the sweetest of times at Riccarton when they combined with Gobstopper to complete a memorable Saturday.

They triumphed in the Gr.3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) to hand Spratt a coveted double having earlier won the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), while Campbell was saddling his first runner from new quarters.

Gobstopper Photo: Race Images South

He recently relocated from his long-time base at Opaki to a property in Cambridge.

“This is my first starter so it’s pretty special,” Campbell said. “We decided to target this race right from the time he came back in. He’s a lightly-framed horse so he doesn’t need much racing.

“He’s only going to get better with time like his brother Werther.”

Campbell trained Werther before he transferred to Hong Kong where he has been a Group One winner and on Sunday will step out in the Gr.2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.

His younger sibling is a renowned front-runner and in Spratt he had the ideal partner with the Pukekohe-based jockey giving Gobstopper free rein to bowl along at the head of the field.

“He got into his rhythm and when they came up to us he kicked again, it was a brilliant run,” she said. “He could have gone around again.”

The Tavistock gelding was out on his own with 1000m to run before the field gradually closed and Pentathlon challenged on straightening, but Gobstopper wasn’t done and went clear to win with authority.

Pentathlon boxed on to take second money ahead of Kaharau with Sampson fourth and last year’s minor placegetter Imperium the next home. – NZ Racing Desk.

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Group 1 Success For Ocean Emperor and Gary Hennessy        

Gary Hennessy’s patience with the well-related Ocean Emperor gained a Group Two reward on Saturday. 

The Matamata horseman has endured his fair share of problems with the well-bred entire, but they became a memory when the son of the legendary Zabeel won the Gartshore Tauranga Stakes (1600m).

Gary Hennessy and Ocean Emperor Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

In the hands of regular rider Mark Hills, Ocean Emperor produced a career-best performance to account for the talented mare Miss Wilson and the multiple Group One winner Kawi, who got home well from the tail of the field.

On the good track Hennessy has been waiting for, the six-year-old showed exactly what he is capable of and impressively progressed from a previous Rating 85 win at Awapuni to make a successful weight-for-age debut.

He has now won six of his 16 starts with Hills aboard in four of them.

Hennessy part-owned and trained the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) winner Ocean Park, now resident at Waikato Stud, with Andrew Wong and Steve Yan and the same partnership races Ocean Emperor.

“Gary Hennessy has done an unbelievable job with this horse,” Chittick said. “He’s been so patient and he’s always rated him so highly.

“Good on him, off the back of Ocean Park they bought this horse for $450,000 from us. They deserve it, he’s won a really nice race and it’s still early days, the horse hasn’t had much racing.”

Ocean Emperor is out of the Pins mare Tootsie, who won seven races including the Gr.3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m). – NZ Racing Desk.

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High Praise For Al Hasa From Opie

Precocious youngster Al Hasa earned lavish praise from Opie Bosson following a spectacular display at Riccarton.

The handsome son of Exceed And Excel turned Saturday’s Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome Stakes (1000m) into a procession and was hard held by the top jockey at the post.

Al Hasa Photo: Race Images South

“He’s a top class horse, one of the nicest two-year-olds I’ve sat on for quite a while,” Bosson said.

“He’s a Karaka Million horse and maybe even the Golden Slipper.”

The colt was offered at Karaka earlier this year by Cambridge Stud and Te Akau principal David Ellis went to $625,000 to secure the first foal of the Oasis Dream mare Oasis Rose, who finished runner-up behind Sacred Falls in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in 2012.

Al Hasa was quickly into stride to lead one off the fence and Bosson sat quietly until well into the straight.

“He had a good look around and he’s only going to keep improving. Once I gave him a back hander he took off.”

They coasted to the line six lengths clear of Thunder Bay, who edged Patsys Lass for second money.

Trained by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, Al Hasa had performed well at the trials before he made his debut last month at Ellerslie, where he bucked out of the gates before finishing runner-up.

“Things didn’t go right at the start and he’s improved since then,” Richards said. “He worked nicely last Monday morning and travelled down here well.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, it was a lovely win and he was really professional today.

“He can have a bit of time at Te Akau Stud now and then we’ll get him ready for the Karaka Million.” – NZ Racing Desk.

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