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29th Jul: The Saturday Raceday Wrap
Published: 29 Jul 2017 - - Author: NZ Racing Desk

Once more the weather affected weekend racing, with the Levin Racing Club’s Ryder Stakes meeting postponed to Monday. That left the Taumaranui club’s annual race day as the only Saturday meeting.  

By longstanding tradition Taumaranui Racing Club has raced on the last Saturday of the season. That was apart from 2014 & 2015 when forced to race early July at Te Rapa. Now back to their preferred weekend and calling Rotorua home on race day, the club conducted a great day of racing under fine skies. 

A $36 winner to start the day

Without any form to recommend him, novice jumper Raaj won the first on the card at Rotorua, the Forgotten World Adventures Maiden Hurdle.  Settling well back in the 11-horse field, Raaj commenced a sustained ruin at the 600 metres that took him to a clear lead on straightening for home. Raaj gave supporters a huge fright when almost coming to grief at the last fence, but recovered under Michal Roustoby to take the race by a length. 

A stone bruise was the reason trainer Lesley-Munro gave for the Iffraaj 5yo’s average performance in his hurdle debut two starts back. Then he ran out of his class in the Whangarei Gold Cup a week previously.  Now having found his feet in the jumping game, Raaj will be a horse watched more closely in future.

Newcomer to jumping ranks chimes in

Race two was the Harcourts Taumaranui Open Hurdle, attracting a small but well-performed field.  The least experienced hurdler in the race Monarch Chimes (Shaun Phelan) claimed victory, thus remaining unbeaten over fences after two starts. The money was on Monarch Chimes and he always looked likely, settling in behind the leaders in the running and taking charge down the straight.

For trainers Emma-Lee & David Browne this was a most satisfactory result. “It was big step up from his maiden hurdles win, and lovely to see how well he finished off,” said Emma-Lee. “He’s a horse that just loves his racing so we’ll keep him jumping! “ 

Well-judged win for apprentice in form, Hairi-san

Congratulations to apprentice Hairi Marzuki for notching up another win when steering Crafty Jess to a narrow victory in the Keano @ Sentry Hill Farm 3yo race. Chasing down leader Shellez Ace ridden by fellow claimer Darren Danis, the Mastercraftsman filly got up by a short neck on the line.  Interviewed after the race trainer Andrew Forsman credited the weight allowances of the two jockeys as a factor in their superiority over the rest of the field, which Savasava brought in some lengths back.

Image - Nice ride by Hairi Marzuki

Hairi was quite ebullient after the race. “Small horse, big heart,” he said. “She kept on fighting to get to the leader”.  The way both Marzuki and Danis are riding, they’ll be on track to reduce their allowances in the new season.

Lady crashes the Gentlemen’s Club

The fourth at Rotorua, the Maketu Gentlemens’ Club SP Cond. over 1215 meters went to Hello M’Lady, expertly ridden by Cameron Lammas, who drew deserved praise from trainer Vicki Prendergast for his ride. In a field packed with form and led by unbeaten Liquid Inspiration, Cameron tailed the field before getting the drop on the favourite and dominating in the straight. “We planned to come round and take them by surprise,” said Vicky. “Cameron rode her beautifully.”

For the jockey, the credit went to the horse. ‘It’s easy when they bring you into the race like that. She won easily.” This was the second win for the Shocking filly, both on end at Rotorua.  Liquid Inspiration was not disgraced finishing 2¾ lengths back, ahead of Maquis. 

Bowie chalks up win number seven

After coming across from a wide draw, running in second position before taking over near the turn, the Baker/Forsman-trained Bowie ran out winner of the Warren Sinton Memorial R85 over 1560 metres.  The race began a hat-trick of wins for leading apprentice Sam Weatherley, whom trainer Andrew Forsman credited with a well-judged ride after having to urge the Iffraaj gelding along early.

As for the horse, “he seems to be enjoying what he’s doing,” said the co-trainer. Beating Hotshot Lass and Third Time Lucky with favourite Wooden Edge in fourth, this was Bowie’s seventh win in all from just 24 starts, an impressive strike rate.

Good field brings exciting finish to the Taumaranui Gold Cup

The 2017 edition of the Taumaranui Gold Cup ($65,000), drew a strong field of winter gallopers including Jochen Rindt and Pump Up The Volume, who quiinella’d the race last year. And they would both figure in the finish once more, minor placegetters behind Gentil Tonton, the gelding recently moved into the stable and ownership of John Bell at Cambridge.

Image - Gentil Tonton in the JJohn Bell colours

After winning aboard Bowie, jockey Sam Weatherley commented that the track was getting puggy and suggested they’d be coming wider later in the day. Sure enough, after Jochen Rindt had taken off at the 1400 metres and said ‘catch me if you can’ while hugging the rail, Gentil Tonton and second place getter Pump Up The Volume galloped wide to catch the tiring favourite near the line. “Young Sam rode him an absolute treat”, commented John after the race. “He’s a hard horse to ride.”  Gentil Tonton is Ireland-bred by Yeats, and started his racing career in the Emerald Isle.

Image - Winning rider Sam Weatherley, one of three wins for the day

Sam makes it three in a row

Sam Weatherley’s hat-trick came with runs increasingly distant from the rail, as he took a very wide path on Mandalay in the Racing Rotorua R65 2200m, causing something of an upset.  The Showcasing mare from the powerful Kevin Myers stable bolted in by six lengths from Sakhee’s Star and favourite Alfie Dee

In her second career win, Mandalay paid a healthy $15.90, which could be explained by the fact her last two starts were over hurdles. The mare seemed to appreciate the lack of obstacles in her path as she followed Alfie Dee wide on the improve to take over on the turn and win well.

Big horse shows true promise 

Keeper gelding Trueman made it two wins on end and three from seven starts when he came home best in the 1400 metre Taumaranui & Districts RSA R75, after tearaway leader Good Vibes had set the pace.  The win gave jockey Cameron Lammas two from his only two rides on the day.

Image - The Kelso's appear to have a googd galloper in Trueman

“He’s got a lot of ability,” said Ken Kelso who trains the horse in partnership with wife Bev, “and he’ll be even better in 12 months’ time”. Ken commented that being a big horse Trueman has needed time and is an exciting prospect if as expected he keeps improving.

Rogerson & Elliot Ace them in the last

The Ballance Phasedn Quick Start R65 was the last event and best betting race of the day. And it was the $5.50 favourite and topweight in Straight Sets that prevailed. Jumping clear at the start and leading the field a merry chase, the Graeme & Debbie Rogerson-trained Straight Sets rattled down the straight to win by 4½ lengths.

Whereas right up until race eight the pace setters had hugged the rail on turning for home and were found wanting in the straight, Ryan Elliot took Straight Sets very wide on turning in. His charge finished out in the better ground going away from I’m Bronson and Viva La Jour.

Ryder Cup meeting now at Awapuni Monday; Timaru on tomorrow

The meeting that was to be held at Otaki and featuring the 2017 Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes for two year olds, is now scheduled for Awapuni on Monday 31st July, first race at 12.08pm.  And thus will end another New Zealand racing season. 

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