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5th Aug: The Saturday Raceday Wrap
Published: 06 Aug 2017 - - Author: Crossfire

For the first weekend in a while the sun was shining across New Zealand, and the new season began with an air of excitement. Riccarton’s time-honoured winter meeting raced on a holding Heavy11 track, while Te Rapa also brought out competitive fields on a Slow7. Among all the good racing on flat and over fences, it was a now nine year old that stole the show.

Another Riccarton feature for veteran campaigner

It was Nashville to the fore in the eStar Winter Cup, and a popular victory it was. Apprentice jockey Kate Cowan brought the Darci Brahma gelding on a sustained run from the rear to the applause of the crowd and a win going away from Doiknowyou and tote favourite New York Minute. 

Nashville showed his perennial liking for the Christchurch course, his previous victories there including the 2012 Couplands Bakeries Mile and the 2014 Canterbury Gold Cup. Nashville’s 13th career win put him in sight of $1 million in stake earnings.

After the race, Kate was ecstatic and quick to thank Adrian and Harry Bull for their faith in putting her on the top weight with 60kg to carry. “It’s such a special moment and I’m so lucky to be sitting in that seat.” Kate also credited David Walsh with some coaching and local knowledge. “  I walked the track with David and that helped a lot.”

Image: Kate Cowan returns to scale aboard Nashville

Earlier in the day the Bulls had success in the New Zealand Bloodstock 3yo, when Humble Pie ridden by Rosie Myers, led all the way to win easily. That was despite veering sideways at the 100 metres in reaction to shadows cast on the track at the time of day. On that performance and with experience, expect more from the Sakhee’s Secret gelding.

Myers team has a great day out

The Kevin Myers stable came to Christchurch in force and went away with four wins, making it a really good day for trainers from the lower North Island.

It was back-to-back Koral Steeplechase wins for The Big Opal, taking the NZI-sponsored event by 5½ lengths from Kina Win and Tai Ho. The Big Opal gave jockey Shaun Fannin an uneventful ride clear in front all through the race.

Last year The Big Opal dropped his rider in the Grand National Steeplechase when running favourite. That memory won’t stop punters supporting him just as heavily in the 2017 feature.  But keep an eye on last year’s Grand National winner Upper Cut, which ran on strongly for fourth in the Koral and will improve.

Image: Koral Steeplechase winner The Big Opal

Here's the 'tip' that gave subscribers, giving it out as the best bet at the meeting:

The Koral was Myer’s second steeples win on the day, having earlier won the Avon City Ford Maiden with Ours, Will Gordon on top. By Darci Brahma, the 6 year old stayed best over the journey to take out the race from the John Wheeler pair of Mendoza and Adequacy.

The Myers winning ways weren’t over once the jumping was done at Riccarton. In the Gold Club Premier Rating 75 Wazuzu made a big run from near last to pick up the pacemaker Locally Sauced. Londonderry Air, which had looked likely half way down the straight, finished third.

Wazuzu, by Le Bec Fin, gave Rosie Myers a riding double for the day. It is great to see Rosie back and in good form after her long injury break.

Then in the last at Riccarton, a Rating 65 named in honour of recently-crowned champion jockey Chris Johnson, the Myers stable put Sam Weatherley aboard Highbrook, and they prevailed in a most competitive betting race. Highbrook gave Australian stallion Hinchinborook a rare New Zealand success when he lead all the way, made a break turning in and managed to just  hold out Shakti, Em Kay Pops and Ahyum all finishing fast.

What’s up next for Alf?

What’s Up Alf’s win in the Canterbury Club Luncheon R75 not only came as a deserved success for the now 6 year old, it suggested more in store with a fair share of good fortune. A horse with just two career wins to date but nine seconds, What’s Up Alf was ridden patiently by Jacob Lowry. Taking a forward position then steadily winding up in the straight, the Road to Rock gelding found the line strongly to beat Strolling vagabond and Onefortheditch. 

Jacob won the race,” suggested trainer Kelvin Tyler. “He waited patiently and under the big weight he didn’t go till he had to.”  Apart from a last start failure when his saddle slipped, What’s Up Alf had an immaculate form line without winning since March, and today he couldn’t be denied.

Sprint feature leaves no excuses

Champion jockey Chris Johnson showed his prowess on Irish Excuse in the premier Sprint at Riccarton. Leading in a strong field headed in the weights and in the betting by the Myers-trained Scapolo, Johnson with help from Lisa Alpress on Five Kings had the favourite boxed in behind for enough time to maintain his position to the line. But it was no fluke for the gelding by No Excuse Needed, and a moot point whether Scapolo would have picked him up with a different run. 

The now 7 year old had won ten previously, and has been a great performer in the south for Ellis Winsloe and his owners.

Bee Tee Junior justifies trainer’s confidence

Interviewed at Te Rapa before the Lowe Schollum & Jones Rating 85, trainer Shaun Richie was confident of success for his charge Bee Tee Junior. “It’s hard to find a negative today, it’s looking pretty good for him,” stated Richie during the preliminaries. And so it proved, despite some navigation problems for jockey Trop Harris.

Getting back after settling behind the leaders and then blocked on the turn, Bee Tee Junior benefited from Harris’ patience and riding skills to get up and win narrowly from top weight Stokers Rock.

Bee Tee Junior is a horse to watch going forward, as Richie plans a campaign that maintains his handicap advantage. “With a good weight a race like the NZ Cup is within his range”, said Richie after the race. The now 6 year old Nom de Jeu gelding ran in last year’s Cup as an outsider, battling on and finishing midfield at a time his trainer today suggested was “a year too early”. 

Volpe Veloce - a year older but still a fast tempo

Volpe Veloce was a premier attraction at Te Rapa, running in the Distinction Hamilton Hotel open sprint and winning well. The Foxwedge mare was having her first start since February, when she bowed out of her 3yo season after five wins that came on top of her unbeaten 2yo season.

Johnathan Parkes got Volpe Veloce up outside the leader in the running, taking over in the straight to win by 2½ lengths from outsider Il Cavallo. A star of last season straight back to winning form for training partnership Graham Richardson & Gavin Parker.

Image by Trish Dunell: The super impressive Volpe Veloce

Boilover in the last at Te Rapa

For punters looking to balance the ledger in the last at Te Rapa, only a very small number came away smiling. The outsider of the field Kokanee Gold (80/1) got up in the hands of 3-kilo claimer Jasmine Fawcett

Image: A double for Jasmine Fawcett

Jasmine and Kokanee Gold loomed wide on the turn and fought out the finish sandwiched between Troy Harris on Cosmic Storm and Cameron Lammas, Nothing Trivial to get the better of their rivals in an exciting finish. The winner paid $81.70 on the tote and rounded out a quaddie just shy of $19K.

It was Jasmine’s second success of the day after earlier prevailing on No Loitering in the maiden 1600 metre event. - our selections service

We had an exceptional day for subscribers at Hawera on Wednesday - our featured selections ALL WON -
Day's Best $3.80;
Best 'Each Way' $16.90/$4.90;
Best 'Roughie' $15.10/$3.80 - and to cap it all off the $2305 First Four and  $442 Trifecta in that race!

Here's what we gave subscribers:

BEST 'ROUGHIE' $15.10/$3.80 | First Four $2305 | Trifecta $442 Wow!

DAY'S BEST 'EACH WAY' $16.90/$4.20


So whatever your style of betting, there was something for everyone. And at from only $7 a day for all meetings, it has to be the best value guide around. Check it out at 

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