Lock flying high with return of stable star
Most people need an incentive to get out of bed on a cold winter’s morning, and for Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock it has been the return of his star galloper Hiflyer.
The Group One performer hasn’t been sighted on raceday since 2019 after sustaining a tendon injury, and Lock has taken a long and cautious approach with his return.
“He banged a tendon and we scanned it, and it needed a three-month break,” Lock said.
“It wasn’t serious, but we gave him six months and we put him back into work and it had a little bit of heat in it.
“I decided he had been too good a horse to me for something to go wrong, so I put him out again. The vet said we could press on, but I didn’t want to, so he had another 12 months in the paddock.
“I just kept him at the stables and at my spelling block, and he was tearing around like a two-year-old, so we got it scanned again and we can’t find any problems.
“Touch wood, at this stage it looks better now than what it did when he went out.”
Lock has been pleased with the rising nine-year-old’s progress and was buoyed by his first public hit-out at Matamata last week, albeit on an unfavourable heavy track.
“He is back on track,” Lock said. “He went to the Matamata jumpouts last Thursday and had a nice hit-out.
“Sam Collett (jockey) got off him and was over the moon with him. He didn’t handle the heavy track and that will be the only thing stopping him from heading to the Foxbridge Plate (Gr.2, 1200m).”
While heavy track conditions may delay Hiflyer’s resumption, Lock is eager to return to Hastings in the spring where he is hoping his charge can improve on his runner-up result behind Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) three years ago.
“It is looking like it (track) will be that way (heavy), so we will have to come up with a plan b (for his resuming run),” Lock said. “But hopefully we can target the three races at Hawke’s Bay.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Lock would like to head to Trentham in January where he is looking to redeem a decision he believes cost his horse Group One glory in the Thorndon Mile (1600m) in 2018.
“The big one we are aiming for is the Thorndon Mile (Gr.1, 1600m),” Lock said.
“Johnathan Parkes (jockey) said ‘put the blinkers on him ahead of the Thorndon Mile and he will win it’.
“I was reluctant to put them on for the first time heading into a Group One race and I was kicking myself after because he hit the front and started gawking around. I knew I had pulled the wrong rein, but that is racing, and you have got to take it on the chin.”
While he has lofty aspirations for Hiflyer, Lock said he will continue to put the horse’s welfare first and will pull pin on his racing career at the first sign of any issue.
“He is a family pet and I wouldn’t like anything to happen to him, so he is a day-to-day proposition,” Lock said.
“If there is any sign of anything going wrong, he will officially be retired.”
But until then, Lock is animated about his pride and joy heading into spring and would dearly love to tick off an elite-level victory with the son of Tavistock.
“If any horse deserves a Group One it is him,” Lock said. “Whether he can get one or not this time in we will soon find out.”
Beauden gearing up for Melbourne Campaign
Class Waikato galloper Beauden is being set some lofty Melbourne targets this spring.
The multiple stakes winner appeared in public for the first time this preparation for an exhibition gallop between races at Te Rapa last Saturday, a gallop which left his trainers Graeme and Debbie Rogerson very satisfied.
“He galloped well within himself, but he ran home a little bit quicker than they ran the open mile in,” Graeme Rogerson said.
“He’s going enormous. We’ll let him get ready, and hopefully we end up in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. We just hope the coronavirus problems lift so we can go to Aussie with him.”
The rising seven-year-old has raced consistently for Team Rogerson at the elite level in recent seasons but he hasn’t been asked to tackle trips beyond 2000m too often.
However, Rogerson believes the gelding should at least get the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup, run on October 16, and he was hopeful about the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup.
“You never know if they’re going to get two miles until you try, but I think he’s a horse that’s maturing with age. He looks outstanding at the moment,” said Rogerson, who prepared the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient.
“But he’s only had two runs at 2200m, and he won them both.”
Both those victories came in the two most recent runnings of the Listed Marton Cup at Awapuni, races he won decisively both times.
Rogerson said Beauden could trial at Ellerslie next Tuesday and then begin his campaign with an open 1600m race at Te Rapa on August 14.
All going well he will then head to his favourite track, Awapuni – where he’s had 10 races for eight victories and one second – to contest an open 2100m handicap.
“There’s a lot of water that’s got to pass under the bridge, but he will be nominated for the cups,” he said.
Beauden is likely to be joined in Australia by stablemates Mascarpone and rising three-year-old Te Poropiti.
Mascarpone, who this season won the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) at Te Rapa in November and finished third in the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m), will be set for three Group One sprints in Melbourne — the Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 24, the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at the same track, on October 22, and the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 6.
“Mascarpone seems to be maturing. He’s better left-handed, and he’s a good track horse,” Rogerson said.
“Where he kicks off will depend on the weather.”
Te Poropiti, whose best run in five juvenile races this season was a fast-finishing second over 1300m at Ruakaka in April, will be aimed at the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on October 30.
“He’s a staying horse and he looks as though he’s a 2500m horse now, the way he races,” Rogerson said.
Team Rogerson is 11th on the natural trainers’ premiership with 33 victories with less than a week left in the season, and Rogerson said he was looking forward to 2021-22 with a promising collection of young horses.
Golden Eagle ambitions for I’m Thunderstruck
OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson is setting his sights on some rich Sydney spoils with promising three-year-old I’m Thunderstruck.
The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr-trained gelding has won three of his five careers starts, including his last start over 1400m at Flemington earlier this month.
“It’s early days yet, but he was very impressive last week and hopefully he can follow that up again next weekend at Moonee Valley,” Henderson told Racing.com.
“He is an unfurnished horse that still does a lot wrong in his races, but he is chock full of ability, so we hope he can win his way through to a race like Golden Eagle (A$7.5 million, 1500m) in Sydney.
“If he can do that, that will be great.”
The son of Shocking was initially prepared in New Zealand by Matamata trainer Daniel Miller for whom he won his 1000m trial at Te Aroha in June last year before being sold privately to OTI through bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo.