New Zealand news briefs

First stakes tilt for talented mare

Cambridge trainer Alex Oliveira is expecting more of the same from Only In Jakarta when she contests the Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

The five-year-old mare kept her undefeated record intact when winning at Te Rapa last month and has continued to impress Oliveira.

The first emergency for the race, Only In Jakarta gained her place in the field after the scratchings of Short Fuse and Endless Drama, and will jump from barrier nine in the 14-horse field.

Oliveira has been pleased with the mare in the lead-up to her fifth start and he is quietly confident heading into her first tilt at black-type.

“In the last couple of weeks she has been working really well so I am looking forward to running tomorrow (Saturday),” he said.

“It is another step up for her, there are some good horses there, but I think if she is on her game we will see the same performance that we have seen in the past.

“1100m should be ideal for her.”

Oliveira said Only In Jakarta will continue her regular racing pattern and press forward early from her draw.

“She will go forward, you can’t ride her any other way. She is a typical woman, she does what she wants to do,” Oliveira quipped.

“She raced at Auckland around Christmas time (last year) where she was wide as well and she rolled forward, so we will do that again.”

If she performs up to expectations on Saturday, a tilt at Group One level is in the offing at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

“We are thinking about the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) at this stage, but we will see what tomorrow brings first,” he said.

“We will see how she pulls up after this race and then I will probably give her 10 days in the paddock and then get her going for the Railway.”

Only In Jakarta has been installed a $3.60 favourite for the Counties Bowl, ahead of Levante ($3.80), and Summer Passage ($6.50).

Meanwhile, Oliveira was busy early in the week at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready To Run Sale at Karaka and he said the level of competition at the sale was unforeseen.

“I was surprised how good the sale was,” he said. “We were there trying to buy a few and I managed to be the underbidder on about five.”

Oliveira was able to secure one lot which is destined for Hong Kong.

“We ended picking one up from Kilgravin’s draft,” he said. “Lot 275, a No Nay Never colt.

“He is a lovely type of horse but he is not very big. He is quite compact, strong, with a lot of muscle, and the price ($100,000) was in our budget.

“He is fully Hong Kong-owned and we will trial him as a late two-year-old.

“They might keep him for themselves. It will depend on their permit situation as well, sometimes they don’t draw a permit.” 

Only In Jakarta, picture Trish Dunell

Shezzacatch on Levin Classic trail

A stakes winner at her only start to date, Hawke’s Bay filly Shezzacatch is set to command plenty of attention in the opening race at Awapuni on Saturday.

Trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen for breeder and part-owner Tony Rider, the daughter of Savabeel began her career with a hiss and a roar in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) at Hastings on September 19.

Among the outsiders of the field at $36, Shezzacatch came out of the pack with a brilliant late burst to win by three-quarters of a length.

Two months on from that auspicious debut, Shezzacatch is set to line up for her second start in Saturday’s Smartphone Repairs NZ Ltd/Tui Backing a Winner Since 1889 3YO (1300m) at Awapuni, where she will jump from gate two with Lisa Allpress in the saddle.

“She’d always shown us plenty of ability leading into that debut run, and it was great to see her go out and perform the way she did first-up,” Lowry said. “I’m not sure how much has come out of that race, but it was definitely a really good performance on the day.

“We gave her a bit of a break in between times, and we’ve been happy with her since she came back into work. This race at Awapuni on Saturday is definitely not her end goal. We’re just sending her there to try to further her education a little bit. She was pretty erratic in her first race, so we’re hoping to see a bit of improvement there.

“After this, she’ll go to the Eulogy Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m) back at Awapuni next month, and then her end goal is the Levin Classic (Gr.1, 1600m) at Trentham in January. Hopefully she’ll be good enough to make it there.

“So we’re just hoping she’ll learn a bit more from the experience this weekend, and this race should hopefully be another step in the right direction.”

Shezzacatch is rated a $2.70 chance for Saturday’s race. The Jamie Richards-trained Perfect Scenario, the winner of both starts in his current campaign, heads the market at $2.50.

Lowry and Cullen’s other runner at Awapuni on Saturday is Atlanta Peach, the topweight for the Property Brokers/Wright Livestock 1600.

The winner of five races, and a highly respectable sixth in last year’s Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), the Bullbars mare has been unplaced in two starts this preparation. She has been beaten by a combined margin of almost 18 lengths.

“She’s been very disappointing,” Lowry said. “Her work has been great and she seems happy and well, but she just isn’t racing anywhere near as well as she should be.

“She’s down in class now after starting the season in stakes company, so we’re hoping to see her start to put her best foot forward. We know she’s a lot better than what she’s showing at the moment.”

Lowry and Cullen have made a strong start to the new season with seven winners from 51 runners to date – already more than halfway to their 2019-20 total of 12 wins.

They have won two Listed races this spring, with Shezzacatch being followed last month by Mohaka in the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m).

“Mohaka had a short break after that win and has come back into work now,” Lowry said. “We’re really happy with how she’s looking, and she’ll head towards the Cal Isuzu Stakes (Gr.2, 1600m) for fillies and mares at Te Rapa next month.” 

Harvey looking to end week on a high

Cambridge trainer Glen Harvey will be looking to cap what has been a memorable week in style when he lines-up Miss Ipenema and Brix in the Listed Fasttrack Insurance 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, just down the road at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka sales complex, Harvey sold two horses at the Ready To Run Sale, and recorded a pleasing profit on lot 120, the Reliable Man gelding out of Zabeel mare Ziffel.

He had purchased the gelding for $5,100 on and sold him for $230,000 on Wednesday, while a day later her sold lot 161, the Rubick gelding out of Group One performer Calm Smytzer, for $60,000.

“It was a pretty awesome feeling,” he said.

“The Rubick, I had him on a par with the Reliable Man, if not ahead of him. But that’s the hard thing being the first lot in on the second day.

“He was sold to a friend of mine in Singapore, Jason Ong. He is an up and coming trainer so if they get a result you get repeat business.

“I thought New Zealand Bloodstock did an amazing job this year getting the buyers to the sales and having the new online bidding platform, which was amazing.”

While Harvey is still buzzing from the results, he is looking forward to racing at Pukekohe on Saturday where he will attempt to gain some black-type for his pair of juvenile fillies.

Miss Ipenema heads into the Fasttrack 2YO Stakes off the back of two placings and a last start win, defeating Saturday’s race favourite Quattro Quinta by a length.

“Last start was the first time where she has been 100 percent right,” Harvey said. “I was pretty confident the other day. 

“When I saw that Te Akau horse (Quattro Quinta) when they were in a bit of a fight the other day, it was never going to get past her. That’s the attitude she has got.”

The daughter of Sacred Falls has drawn barrier nine, while stablemate Brix has drawn barrier two.

“The only concern that I have got with them is that I would have liked Miss Ipenema to have drawn barrier two and Brix to draw out wide,” Harvey said.

While Miss Ipenema is the more fancied runner, Harvey said Brix has been luckless in her three starts to date.

“In her first start she drew out wide and ran the fastest last 400m of the race,” he said. “In her second start she knuckled down going out of the gates, so you have got to wipe those two off.

“The other day, down in Palmerston North, it was the same thing. She just had no luck. She got posted out wide, so I thought it was a good effort.

“I have always had a big opinion of her and it would not surprise me if she blew them away tomorrow.”

Both fillies were purchased by Harvey at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale earlier this year, and a tilt at the rich Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie in January is on the cards for the pair.

“They looked like two horses that would get up and go early and they were pretty good buying at $20,000 (Miss Ipenema) and $45,000 (Brix),” Harvey said.

“When you have got fillies you would like to get that residual value of getting some black-type. The aim is to go to the Karaka Million, but getting that valuable black-type is the biggest thing for us.”

Miss Ipenema has been installed a $6 third favourite by TAB Bookmakers for Saturday’s contest, behind Quattro Quinta ($3.20) and Beldarra ($3.60), while Brix is further down the market as a $23-winning chance. 

Miss Federer retired

The latest in a long line of knee issues has ended the racing career of multiple stakes winner Miss Federer.

“She’s been retired,” Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston said. “She’s already had two lots of knee surgery, and unfortunately she’s chipped a knee again.”

Carston paid just $10,000 to buy the daughter of Swiss Ace at Karaka 2018. Raced by a syndicate of 17 owners, Miss Federer won five races and $163,035 in stakes.

She captured the Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m) and Gr.3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) during her juvenile season, then added the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) and Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) to be named last season’s New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Filly of the Year.

“For a $10,000 filly, she’s done an absolutely amazing job for us,” Carston said. “She had her question marks from day one, but she came back from her first knee operation and won another two Listed races for us. 

“The second operation didn’t turn out to be quite so successful, but it is what it is. We’ll look after her and tidy her up again, and then we’ll more than likely sell her as a broodmare.” 

Carston was back in action at Karaka on Thursday, where he purchased a Swiss Ace filly at the NZB Ready To Run Sale for — you guessed it — $10,000.

True Enough heads to spelling paddock

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have sent Group One winner True Enough out for a spell after two sub-par performances this spring.

The Nom Du Jeu gelding rose to stardom last season with victories in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m), Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) and Gr.3 Spring Sprint (1400m), along with placings in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m), Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

However, this season he has finished last in both the Spring Sprint and the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m).

“We’ve sent him out for a spell,” Forsman said. “For whatever reason, he just doesn’t seem to have come up in this preparation.

“We can’t really fault him physically at the moment, but it’s been clear in his two races that he just hasn’t come back at the level he’s capable of.

“So we’ll give him a nice break and try again a bit later on. We have no firm plans for him at this stage, we’ll just see how things go with him.”

Ballarat Cup tilt for Irish Flame

Mornington trainer Brett Scott received the news he had been waiting for when he found out his in-form galloper Irish Flame had gained a start in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m).

Irish Flame was first emergency but secured a run when Power Scheme was scratched on Friday morning.

The former champion jumps jockey now has two ex-New Zealand gallopers in the race in Our Big Mike and Irish Flame.

Scott is pleased with the outcome as he regards Irish Flame as the best chance of his pair.

"The key to him is that he needs the race to be run at a good tempo and I've got one of the horses in the race, Our Big Mike, along with Inverloch, whose racing style is to go forward so that's taken care of," Scott said.

Scott said Irish Flame had been in great form over the spring and was still learning about racing.

He has won his past two starts at Moonee Valley and Flemington after consecutive seconds at Caulfield but Scott said with some luck he could have won both of those races.

In the first of those second placings, Irish Flame looked home but was run down by Saracen Knight close to the post.

"On that occasion, (jockey) Michael Walker said he wandered around and waited for the others," Scott said.

"He said if Saracen Knight had raced up to him a bit earlier he would have fought back and held him off."

At his next start at Caulfield, Irish Flame gave away too big a start to front runner Vegas Knight.

"After those runs Walker said to place the ear muffs on him and it's made a big difference," Scott said.

"I think he's still learning about racing and getting better all the time."

Irish Flame was trained in New Zealand by Scott's great mate John Wheeler and connections sent him over without any grandiose plans.

"In his seven Australian starts he's won around $215,000 so he's more than paid his way and he's only getting better with racing," Scott said.

Scott said Irish Flame handled firm tracks but needed time to recover from them and was a bit better on tracks with give in them.

With this in mind, the trainer will aim Irish Flame at the Easter carnival with the Sydney Cup his main goal.

He said Our Big Mike's failure in the Kyneton Cup should be forgiven as he was given no peace in the lead.