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22-23 July 2017: The Weekend Racing Wrap
Published: 24 Jul 2017 - - Author: Crossfire


Ruakaka hosted NZ’s only Saturday race day on a Slow 7/8 track, where the feature was the ITM Whangarei Gold Cup.  On Sunday the Premier New Plymouth meeting raced on a Heavy 11 after a 24 hour postponement.

Business as usual for Logan and Gibbs team

Two weeks ago local trainers Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs started the day with a treble of wins at Ruakaka. This time round it was a double, with another win coming later in the day on the seven-race programme. After hot favourite Not Usual Trip won the Tavistock Owners Syndicate 2yo impressively in the hands of Matt Cameron, Dancing Light, a filly by Darci Brahma ridden by Chris Johnson, took out the Fell Engineering Maiden equally impressively.  

Both horses have ownership interests based in Asia, and Donna Logan was delighted that Not Usual Trip’s owner could be on track to watch the colt’s success. Not Usual Trip is a colt by Australia-based sire Stryker, whose few runners in NZ have included last year’s NZ Derby winner Rangipo.

Pic - the impressive Not Usual Trip

In Race 6 the Goodluck George R75, Logan & Gibbs notched up their 100th partnership win with Rockabyebaby’s stylish victory. Chris Johnson had the filly well back on the fence before making ground quickly on the point of the turn, finding room to come wide and sweep down the outside.  Another young Logan and Gibbs runner with a great strike rate, Rockabyebaby has now won three of her seven starts, all at home. 

This veteran just doesn’t know how to quit

The feature at Ruakaka was the ITM Whangarei Gold Cup over 2100 metres for a stake of $30,000. And for the second year running it was won by Smedley, having his 92nd start for Clayton Stevenson and family.  And just like last year the Columbia gelding won by a head after a determined finish. Apprentice jockey Jordan Nason had Smedley handy all the way on the rails, and after Kaharau had loomed up to take the lead in the straight, the two horses set down to a dogged fight in which the veteran prevailed.

Pic - Smedley and Kahurau fight out the Cup finish

Jordan hadn’t ridden Smedley previously, and in his riding instructions Stevenson emphasised the horse’s fighting qualities. “I told the jockey he was a ‘never say die’ horse,” said the trainer after the race. “He just doesn’t quit!”

Getting in credit with the last on the card

Former Otaki trainer Karen Zimmerman had her second win since moving north when Mastercard rounded off the day and a $19,607 Pick6 dividend in the ITM/GIB 1600 metres with special conditions.

Michael McNab had Mastercard well back in the running before improving sharply and racing down the outside to win by ¾ length from Major Tom and Pursued. It was a performance by the 3yo Makfi gelding racing in NZ Throroughbred Holdings colours that suggests a lot more in store.

Connections couldn’t want for more in that performance

Aptly-named Youwantmore (by Sufficient) could not have been more impressive in taking out the second on the card at New Plymouth, the R75 New Plymouth Motorcycle Centre 1800. Positioned right behind the leader Light Em Up in a strongly run race, the Robert Priscott-trained mare simply “put ‘em away“ in the words of Tony Lee, sprinting along the rails to beat the pacemaker and a battling lot by over seven lengths.

The win in the hands of Lisa Allpress continues a good run of form in a busy winter for Youwantmore, having earlier middle-distance wins New Plymouth in May and Ellerslie in June.

Rail runs the early order at New Plymouth

Despite the heavy track, the rail was more often than not the place to be at New Plymouth.  After Youwantmore’s performance and other early-race winners Lectio Divinia and Katie McKeen had won from the front, the latter by a street, favourite Manhattan Flame gave punters a boost in the Sandford Rural Carriers 1400m.

The event’s special conditions gave the two-race winner a big weight but sufficient advantage in class.  Hayden Tinsley had the Shane Crawford-trained Manhattan Rain 3yo cruising in behind the leaders under his 59 kg, before mounting his run and holding out frequent place getter but non-winner No Loitering by a long neck. 

Longchamp makes it two Opunake Cups on end

The feature at New Plymouth was the $65,000 Powerworx Opunake Cup over 1400 metres, in which a good field of winter sprinters was led in favouritism by the ultra-consistent local Art Deco. But it was another well-supported runner in Longchamp that won the day. And like Smedley at Whangarei, it was the winner’s second victory in the same feature year on year.

After being trapped wide in the running and with the speed on, Johnathan Parkes had the Tavistock 5yo competing for the lead on the turn, holding on from a fast-finishing Nashville, New York Minute and Taurus. Art Deco finished 7th, her first unplaced run in 15 starts to date.   

For connections it was a most satisfying victory with a horse that has his problems. “He’s brave and we’re so proud of him,” said trainer Andrew Campbell. “We’ll carry on to a Group One and if the cut’s out of the track we’ve got a real good chance.”

Local runners and apprentices get their share

It was a good day for Taranaki runners at New Plymouth, and for the younger riders.  Rebecca Goldsbury and Alfred Chan both picked up two wins on the day. Two-kilo claimer Rebecca was aboard Lectio Divinia in the first for Stratford trainer Clare Dravitsky, and Rosewood in the sixth for Marilyn Paewae who trains at Inglewood. Rosewood won the New Zealand Bloodstock Leasing and Finance 3yo by just a nose, holding out Keep it Savvy, with early pacemaker Equilibrium fighting on for third.

Pic - Rebecca Goldsbury

Alfred was aboard Katie McKeen in her big home-track win for Gary McBeth, and in the last on Landlord for his boss Allan Sharrock. In the seventh race, the Revital Fertilisers rating 75, Sarah McNab scored on the Kevin Myers-trained OnefortheDitch, which won comfortably from Az Given (Sam Weatherley) and Seconds Out (Tui Miles).

Sea King carries the Kiwi flag in Oz

The racing public’s favourite jumper Sea King had his first start on his latest Australian campaign when he took out the feature hurdle race at Bendigo. Unable to defend his title in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase, the Brendon Dreschler Hurdle, with the same stake became the perfect alternative. Racing steadily third in the running in the hands of Brad McLean, Sea King was just too good in the final stages, adding another win to his illustrious record on both sides of the Tasman. 

Kawi impressed in a gallop between races at New Plymouth

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