Birthday bonus for promising New Zealand apprentice

Promising young New Zealand rider Callum Jones is making every post a winner in the early stages of his career, adding a winning treble at Ellerslie on Saturday to his record after bagging a double on his home track last month.

Jones, who is apprenticed to Nigel Tiley at Pukekohe, scored aboard Diogenes and Double Happy on his first official day of race riding on June 20. The combination was to the fore again at Ellerslie on Saturday where Jones guided Macushla and Gorgeous Geisha to victory in consecutive races for his boss before adding a third with Lupelani later in the day.

The wins got Jones’ weekend off to the best possible start as he celebrates his eighteenth birthday on Sunday, a fact that Tiley was quick to make light of.

“I’m picking he will probably be the first in line at the pub at a minute past midnight tonight,” Tiley said.

“Seriously though he is a good kid who listens really well which is half the battle. He soaks up information and has the talent to go out and use it when it’s required.”

Tiley was delighted by the performance of his team who revelled in the Heavy10 track conditions.

“They are genuine wet trackers,” he said.

“Gorgeous Geisha loves that ground and she was just cruising all the way.

“We didn’t get a run with her at Pukekohe where I thought she would be hard to beat so we didn’t have much choice other than bide our time and line her up here instead.

“Lupelani had gone well first up and with a touch of improvement she got the win on one of her favourite tracks.”

Tiley was pleased with Jones’ effort aboard Macushla who got back beyond midfield from an awkward barrier before storming home out wide to break her maiden status at just her second start.

“Callum came back in and said she got a little bit further back than he wanted but she was travelling easily enough,” he said.

“He didn’t want to push her hard around the corner so that shows he is thinking about what he is doing.

“I think she will get better with more maturity so hopefully she can go on with it.”

Macushla carries the colours of Dr John Bowbyes and his wife Di who also bred the Dalghar three-year-old. Her grey colour stirred memories of another top horse that Tiley trained for the couple in Megablast who numbered the Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m) amongst his ten career victories. 

Macushia and apprentice Callum Jones, picture Trish Dunell

In other news rugged stayer Redcayenne sprang an upset when he scored first up over 1400m for new trainer Alan Morley.

The Bullbars six-year-old had done all his previous racing from Tony Pike’s Cambridge stable but made his way to Morley’s Byerley Park-based operation during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown following some changes to his ownership group.

Having his first start since finishing third in the Bay Of Plenty Cup (2100m) back in March, Redcayenne made light of his 60.5kg impost as he stormed home under the urgings of in-form apprentice Ashvin Goindasamy to down Easy M’Lady and Double Happy in a thrilling three-way finish.

Morley had been confident of a good run prior to the race after the horse had settled in well to his new environment.

“I haven’t had him for very long and I kept thinking how was I going to improve him after he had come out of one of the top training establishments in the country,” Morley said.

“I knew he was pretty fit and had gone well fresh in the past and for the last few weeks he had really relaxed around the place. 

“I do think he is more suited to a smaller stable as I only have the four horses and there’s not much around to bother them.

“I’m just delighted to get the win for everyone involved as we did target this race for him.”

Morley is happy to take it a race at a time with his new acquisition however he does have a jumping career in mind for Redcayenne further down the track.

“He has done a bit of schooling with Aaron Kuru riding him and he told me he was a very good jumper,” he said.

“He’s not a bad judge so we’re keen to see how he goes but that is a little way down the track yet.

“He seems to handle most tracks so we are going to pick and choose where we go over the next few months but there seems to be quite a few opportunities for him.”

Morley is also delighted with the progress being made by stable star Blue Breeze who is nearing a raceday return.

The rising seven-year-old sustained an injury when finishing last over 1600m at Te Aroha in January and has been taken along slowly by Morley as he has nursed him back to full fitness.

“He (Blue Breeze) got galloped on at Te Aroha and injured a fetlock,” Morley said.

“We’ve been very careful with him and he’s nearly ready to go again.

“He’s carrying more condition this time around as he didn’t like it at all in Australia and seems to have taken the attitude he’s going to eat everything in sight since he’s been back home.

“I’m targeting Pukekohe on the 24th of this month and he is very well to resume. 

“He won fresh-up there in his last prep before we took him to Australia and I think he is just as well as he was then.”