New Zealand news briefs

Beauden primed for Livamol

Graeme Rogerson is confident Beauden is ready to show he can beat the best away from Awapuni.

Beauden was joint favourite on Tuesday along with Savy Yong Blonk for Saturday’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings after finishing second in the Gr.3 Metric Mile (1600m) on September 25 while carrying 60.5kg, 7.5kg more than the winner, House of Cartier.

That effort reinforced just how good he is at Awapuni. From 11 starts at the Palmerston North track he’s won eight times, finished second twice – including that massive weight-carrying effort at his last start – and fourth on the remaining occasion. 

The victories include the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) last season, when he beat Prise de Fer, one of his rivals on Saturday, and Callsign Mav.

However, he’s won just four times away from Awapuni, and his record at Hastings isn’t great, the best he’s done in five starts is one second and one third. In last year’s Livamol Classic he was 11th of 16.

“To be fair, he wasn’t right when he went to Hawke’s Bay last year, and in a couple of other races there he had big weights. Weight-for-age certainly helps him,” Rogerson said.

“I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment. Saturday will tell,” Rogerson said.

Rogerson had enough of an opinion of Beauden that he had looked at the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double but he and owner Joan Egan decided against it due to the difficulties of getting a spot in managed isolation and quarantine coming back from Australia.

However, Rogerson hasn’t given up hope of getting Beauden to Australia this season.

“We’re going to make a final decision after Saturday, but at this stage it looks as though we’ll aim at the Wellington Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) and then we may go over in the autumn.”

Beauden won’t be the only runner from the stable looking at weight-for-age spoils over the weekend as his top sprinter Mascarpone heads for the Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua on Sunday.

Mascarpone was hugely impressive when winning the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on September 4 and put up another great effort in handicap conditions on the same track on October 1, going down by a neck to the highly-regarded Brando.

“He carried 62kg and gave away 8kg to the winner so it was a great effort. I’m very happy with him,” Rogerson said.

In addition to Beauden, Rogerson has six other runners heading to Hastings, the most interesting of which is possibly Drum Major, who contests a three-year-old race over 1300m.

Drum Major caused a minor surprise when winning at Taupo on September 17, beating the highly-regarded Dark Destroyer, an impressive winner at his only subsequent start. He then had to be used up from a wide barrier in the Gr.3 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and did well to fight on for third behind Mana Nui and Wakari.

“He’ll be going for the 2000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) after this race,” Rogerson said. “He’s got the makings of a good horse, he’s just got to put it all together.” 

Thompson tipped for Hiflyer

Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock has resisted the urge to send his topflight galloper Hiflyer to Hastings this weekend in favour of a Trentham test later this month.

The Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) was an enticing prospect, but the race had attracted a strong set of nominations and Lock has elected to head to the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) with his pride and joy instead, a race the nine-year-old gelding won in 2017.

“I was going to look at running him on Saturday in the Group Three 1400m at Hastings but I am just a little bit worried that we will get a little bit of a classier field and they might go a bit too quick for him over 1400m,” Lock said.

“The only other real option for us is the Thompson in three weeks time. He likes Wellington and he has won the Thompson before. I think he is going to be hard to beat in a mile next start.”

The son of Tavistock made his raceday return in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa last month after more than two years on the sidelines as a result of a tendon injury.

He failed to beat a runner home in the classy line-up but showed signs of his past brilliance when running second over 1400m earlier this month at Te Aroha with a 59kg impost.

“He went absolutely super with a big weight on his back, there was a five-kilogram weight difference (with the rest of the field) and it was a huge effort for him to do what he did to race wide and he hit the line well,” Lock said.

“We have had him scanned and everything has come back clear. We are over the moon with him.

“He has pulled up 100 percent sound and we are really happy with him. He has improved out of sight.”

While Hiflyer’s return has been a boost for Lock, it has also been a tonic for co-breeder and part-owner Sir Patrick Hogan as well as Lock’s local town of Te Aroha.

“Everybody in Te Aroha puts $1 each way on him. They all follow him and it is great for the town,” Lock said.

“It’s great for Patrick too, he was over the moon after the race. He watched him in the birdcage and thought he looked outstanding, so it’s pleasing all around.”

Prior to his two-year hiatus, Hiflyer had won nine of his 29 starts, including the Thompson Handicap, Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m), and placed in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m), Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Gr.2 Easter Stakes (1600m).

Wakari on song for Hastings

Exciting three-year-old Wakari will have his final hit-out ahead of his trip south to Riccarton next month when he contests the NZB Ready To Run Sale Trainer Series 3YO 1300 at Hastings on Saturday.

The Roydon Bergerson-trained gelding has contested the previous two days of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival, winning the Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) before finishing a gallant runner-up behind Mana Nui in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m).

“He’s a competitive horse and tried really hard (in the Guineas),” Bergerson said. 

“He didn’t get the luck of the green on the corner. Sam (Collett, jockey) said she wanted to get out and get going, but she tried to get out and had to go back to the fence where she said it was a bit slow. He tried hard but just got beaten by a better horse on the day.”

The son of Vespa was given a quiet week last week and Bergerson said he was pleased with his work on Tuesday morning ahead of his weekend test.

“He just had a quiet week after the Guineas and his first piece of serious work this morning he went really well, I can’t fault him,” he said.

Bergerson is confident of his horse’s chances heading into the weekend but highlighted fellow Guineas placegetter Drum Major as their major threat.

“Rogie’s (trainer Graeme Rogerson) horse went a good race in the Guineas as well, but hopefully we will be running one-two again,” Bergerson said.

All going to plan, Wakari will head straight to the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 6.

A stablemate who could join him on the float trip south is Reign It In.

The Sacred Falls gelding also holds a nomination for the 2000 Guineas and will likely contest the Hastings – Heart Of Hawke’s Bay 1400 on Saturday.

He won first-up over 1200m at Waverley last month and Bergerson is looking for a repeat performance this weekend to warrant a trip south.

“He found the line strongly (at Waverley) and I think the improved track conditions will help him too, he is a big striding horse,” Bergerson said. 

“Hopefully he can run up to his last start. It will keep all the kids happy who own him, it will keep them off my back.

“If he did win or run an unlucky second he will head south.”

Bergerson will also be represented by Kapinos in the Power Farming 1200 and Town Cryer in the Tumu Group 1400.

“Kapinos went a cheeky race on the first day, he just ran out of condition. He was right in it until the furlong,” Bergerson said.

“Better track conditions will suit him. He will run a cheeky race on Saturday going on the way he worked this morning.

“Town Cryer ran really well the other day, I was really happy with her first-up performance. I would have liked to have gone to a mile, but there is not one there and there are not too many chances you can get to run for $50,000 in a 65 rating.”

Meanwhile, Bergerson will have just the one runner at Tauherenikau on Thursday with Canucia contesting the Liquorland Masterton R65 1600m.

“It’s not the best draw (1) for her, she likes a bit of room,” Bergerson said. 

“It will be up to Lisa (Allpress, jockey) to try and get her in the clear. She has been running honest races and hopefully it will be her day in the sun on Thursday.”