New Zealand news briefs

Farravallo strikes for Bergerson at Trentham

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

The winning run of the progeny of former Haunui Farm shuttle stallion Belardo continued on Saturday when his three-year-old son Farravallo took out the opening event over 1000m at Trentham.

Although facing only four rivals, the Royden Bergerson-prepared runner was up against the unbeaten Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained representative Pokuru Gold who was sent out a $1.60 Fixed Odds favourite by punters as he sought his fourth win in a row.

Apprentice Jim Chung made good use of his 3kg claim as he sent Farravallo straight to front from the start and kept the pressure on despite racing four and five wide on the Heavy 10 surface.

Chung angled Farravallo even wider in the home straight as he picked a path next to the outside rail, with the move paying dividends as he kept up a powerful gallop to defeat Bella Timing and Brazenbelle, with Pokuru Gold in fourth after struggling in the testing conditions.

Bergerson was happy to put his first win on the board with the horse who had had just the one prior run for him after transferring from the stable of Paul Richards.

“I was pretty confident when they came across the crossing and I could see Sam’s horse (Pokuru Gold) dipping and diving everywhere,” he said.

“It was a good ride by Jimmy as he has come of age with his riding.

“I said to him today in a small field you just won’t know what may happen and he has ridden him well, just as he has been riding Bradman the same way for me.

“He is a strong horse who is pretty quick, and I think he will go well on the Poly (synthetic surface at Awapuni) as he should fly on that.

“I said to his owners he should be hard to beat today.

“He’s got a nice future if we keep him to this sort of distance.”

Chung was also pleased with the result after staying wide for the better going on offer.

“It wasn’t the plan to lead but he jumped nice, so I just let him go,” he said.

“I think the outside fence is the place to go as the track is very heavy.”

Raced by Ian Farrelly and Chris Rutten, Farravallo was purchased for $20,000 by Rutten out of the Haunui Farm draft during the Book 2 sale at Karaka in 2022.

He joined Te Rapa maiden winner Barcelona and three-year-old Caitlyns Wish as early winners on the day for his sire Belardo, who shuttled to Haunui Farm between 2017 and 2022.

Super Spirit caps big day for Oulaghan and Matthews

By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Standout hurdler Berry The Cash will deservedly dominate the headlines, but his stablemate Super Spirit collected a win of his own later on the Te Rapa card on Saturday to complete a big day for trainer Mark Oulaghan and jockey Portia Matthews.

Less than two hours after Oulaghan and Matthews teamed up in another big-race triumph with Berry The Cash in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m), Super Spirit lined up for maiden steeplechase honours in the Waikato/BOP Racehorse Owners Association Steeplechase (3900m) and prevailed in a stirring contest.

The seven-horse field was quickly whittled down to four within the first half a lap as Renegade Fighter and Civil Unrest parted company with their riders and Banks Road became detached and was pulled up out of the race. The remaining quartet raced in a tight bunch for the next circuit of the Te Rapa steeplechase course, but then Super Spirit and Sweet Taboo began to separate themselves from the other pair.

Super Spirit and Sweet Taboo drew more than 30 lengths ahead of the third-placed Devoted and fought out a thrilling two-horse war down the Te Rapa straight.

Super Spirit produced the better jump of the two at the final fence and looked like he had the race in safe keeping, but Sweet Taboo rebuilt his momentum and clawed his way back up alongside the leader. In a desperate final 100m, Super Spirit dug deep and clung on to win by a short neck.

“It’s been a pretty pleasing day for the stable and for Portia as well,” Oulaghan said. “Berry The Cash just keeps fronting up, and I was really pleased with the performance by Super Spirit too.

“It was only a maiden steeplechase today, but he did a good job. He’s going the right way and hopefully he can continue to progress the same way and perhaps be competitive in some stronger steeplechase company in the future.”

Super Spirit was previously a two-time winner on the flat, so his 28-start career has now produced a total of three wins, four placings and $54,200 in stakes.

The formidable partnership between Oulaghan and Matthews has now netted 10 wins from 65 starts. Five of those successes have come from Matthews’ nine rides aboard the Grand National, Awapuni and Waikato Hurdle hero Berry The Cash. 

Course specialist plays trump card at Te Rapa

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Trainer Andrew Forsman will be hoping they run races at Te Rapa every Saturday during the winter so that progressive galloper Turn The Ace can further extend his outstanding record at the Hamilton venue.

The son of Turn Me Loose won at Te Rapa in his first two starts as a two-year-old, and has since put together five further wins at the venue to take his record to seven wins there from just the 13 starts.

Rider Donovan Cooper, who reduced the five-year-old’s carded weight to just 56.5kgs with his 3kg apprentice allowance, followed a well-established pattern with his mount where he bounced straight to the front and dictated terms to his rivals in the Bayonne Construction-sponsored 1600m contest.

Turn The Ace hugged the rail rounding the home bend and put a winning break on the field, galloping strongly to the winning post to hold out a late charge from Freeze Frame and race favourite Little Bit Of Love.

Forsman was at Te Rapa and was especially proud of his charge who he believes has unofficially equalled the record for the most wins at the venue.

“That worked out really well as we thought the track might be a little heavier than he likes,” Forsman said.

“The plan was to cut the corner, hug the rail and try and establish a break and Donovan did it perfectly.

“We took the punt, and it paid off as he saved many lengths and with the final margin being just under a length, I’m not sure he would have held them out if we had come out to the middle of the track.

“He is still a relatively young horse and I think that win puts him level with horses like Spin Doctor and Wordsworth who have also won seven races here.

“There could be another race for him here in early July so we will he having a crack at taking the record on his own, although it will definitely depend on the handicapper as weight will get to him at some stage.”

Purchased by Forsman for $30,000 out of the Cambridge Stud draft during the Book 1 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale in 2020, Turn The Ace has now won nine of his 25 starts and an excess of $238,000 in prizemoney.

He comes from an extended family that traces back to a host of Australian Group One winners including Freemason and Mental