New Zealand news briefs

Milestone for McNab at Rotorua

National jockeys’ premiership leader Michael McNab brought up a significant career milestone at Rotorua on Saturday when he brought up his 100th win for the season aboard the Mark Walker-trained Synchronize.

McNab, who has eclipsed his previous best of 70 wins set last year, has made every post a winner of late and has 14 stakes victories to his credit this season.

The top jockey produced another copybook performance to land the three-year-old daughter of Savabeel a convincing winner.

McNab settled Synchronize back against the rail in the early stages of the 1400m event before picking a path between runners to challenge at the 300m.

Given a flick with the whip the filly burst clear of second favourite Aris Aris to score by a widening two and half-length margin, to record her third win from just six starts.

“She’s really good, really classy,” McNab said.

“She had good form down south in the spring, trialled well and ran really well the other day from a bad gate.

“I ended up in a spot that I didn’t want to be, but she was able to get me out of there pretty easily and she won well.

“I’m rapt to achieve the milestone and couldn’t be any happier.

“It’s great to get the 100th on a filly for Te Akau.

“A couple of years ago, I was out with Dave (Ellis) and trained with him for six months to a year and learnt the most I’ve learned off anyone, so to ride the 100th in his colours is a real honour.”

Ellis was quick to recognise the contribution that McNab had made to the Te Akau Racing stable this year.

“What a thrill for Michael (McNab) to get his 100th win for the season in such great style,” he said

“He’s a good friend of mine and he’s riding in career best form.

“It’s so cool to see him with everything in his life heading in the right direction and I’m very proud of him.

“He’s surrounding himself with good people, riding for good stables, and he’s on target to win the premiership.

“He’s had five stakes wins this season for Te Akau, with three of those on Self Obsession who tied for Filly of the Year with our homebred Belle En Rouge, while he also won on Hanalei and Leaderboard.”

Raced by the Te Akau Flexibeel Racing Partnership, Synchronize was bred by Waikato Stud and purchased out of their Book 1 draft by Ellis for $280,000 during National Yearling sale at Karaka in 2020.

Her grand-dam is the dual Group One winner Legs while she is also closely related to Group One winners Guyno, Tiptronic, Xtravagant and Sixty Seconds. 

Francesca provides Forsman with first solo stakes victory

Lightly raced four-year-old Francesca provided trainer Andrew Forsman with a day he will long remember when she took out the Gr.3 Rydges Rotorua Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.

Barely a fortnight into his solo training career after spending many years in partnership with Murray Baker, who retired at the beginning of the month, Forsman registered his first victory in his own right when Hot Pinx took out a rating 65 1400 contest at Hawera.

Less than twenty minutes later Francesca, who was having her first start since suffering a bleed at the venue in October last year, provided her well-credentialled mentor with the second leg of a winning double on the day and a first stakes victory under his new regime.

The daughter of Iffraaj had shown plenty of talent throughout her career and indicated she was primed for a forward showing after producing a stylish victory over 950m at the Cambridge trials on April 26.

Jockey Matthew Cameron, who had earlier taken out the other black-type feature on the day when Sinarahma won the Gr.3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup (2200m), made good use of an inside barrier as he sent Francesca straight to the front and dictated terms throughout.

Taken on approaching the home bend by Montana Mist and La Bella Beals, Francesca kicked away in the run home to comfortably hold out the late challenges of Sassy Merlot and Secret Admirer to register her fifth career victory from just nine starts.

Forsman had breathed a sigh of relief after the win by Hot Pinx and was thrilled to back up that success with Francesca, a mare he holds in high regard.

“It’s great to get the monkey off the back as we have had a few minor placings to kick off, but got the winners today,” he said.

“Francesca is a mare we have always had an opinion of but she had a bleed last time, so we had to put her away for a good long spell.

“She has come back really well, with no signs of any problems and she was ready to run a good race.

“She got a cosy time in front but was eyeballed a long way out and I thought her fitness might be an issue, however she really kicked strongly and got a well-deserved stakes win.”

Forsman is not sure of the next steps for the mare, who he believes is better with just a little cut in the track.

“I’m not convinced she is a dead set wet tracker, so the Soft 5 was perfect for her today,” he said.

“With the tracks getting deeper I’m not sure what to do with her, so we will wait and see how she recovers then have a chat with her owner to see where we go next.”

Bred and raced by Greg McCarthy, Francesca is out of the High Chapparal mare Matagouri and comes from a family that includes stakes winners Sabbatical and Monterey Bay

Forsman is however keen to see the progress that Hot Pinx can make in this campaign after her first-up victory.

“Hot Pinx definitely likes winter going and now she has strengthened up I think she can go through the grades,” he said.

“She has been quite fragile physically, but with that added maturity I think she has a few good months coming up as the tracks get deeper.” 

Sinarahma all class in Rotorua Cup sign-off

Race favourite Sinarahma signed off her racetrack career with a dominant victory in the Gr.3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup (2200m) on Saturday.

The Allan Sharrock-trained Taranaki visitor came into the contest off the back of a last start third behind Two Illicit in the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa and carried the luxury weight of just 53.5kgs with topweight Big Mike (61kgs) taking his place in the line-up.

Rider Matthew Cameron, who began his riding career as an apprentice with Sharrock, had the daughter of Darci Brahma away nicely from her inside barrier to travel in midfield against the rail throughout.

Cameron extracted Sinarahma into a challenging position on point of the turn and asked her for her finishing effort shortly after.

Sinarahma bounded to the front and ran away from minor placegetters Roger That and Marietta Lane to win handsomely by just over four lengths.

“That was just fantastic, but some ways a little too late as she has had her last run today,” Sharrock said.

“I would have loved to have given her a chance to get out to 3200m as Matt said she just powered through the line, but her racing career is done now and her next assignment will be meeting a partner in the spring.

“The other special thing about the win was Matt riding her, as when a former apprentice comes back and rewards you with an effort like that, it is just magical.

“I told Matt afterwards it was a ten out of ten ride and he couldn’t have done any better job at all.

“She did look a weight certainty with Big Mike giving her 7.5kgs and it is fantastic she can go out a winner in such a good race.”

Sharrock didn’t have to wait long for a further thrill on the day as Sinarahma’s cousin Our Hail Mary also ended her racing career with an impressive victory over 2100m at Hawera.

A daughter of Ocean Park, Our Hail Mary is out of Ekraar mare Repenting, a full sister to multiple Group One winner Shez Sinsational, the dam of Sinarahma.

“I don’t think I could have asked for a better result with both mares winning on their last day of racing,” Sharrock said.

“Our Hail Mary has also had her issues at times, but she retires with nine wins under her belt including two at stakes level so she has done us proud as well.

“She has a booking to Savabeel in the spring however we haven’t decided who to send Sinarahma to but there is no rush to get that organised.”

Sharrock rounded out his day at Hawera with a win by promising five-year-old stayer Southroad who took out a rating 65 2200m event.

Sharrock believes the son of Shocking could be a Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) contender in the summer and will space his racing over the next six months as he still has some maturing to do.