New Zealand news briefs

Emanon gets deserved Riccarton victory

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

It was a magical ten minutes for broodmare Geordie Girl on Saturday as two of her progeny won feature races in succession.

Within moments of glamour four-year-old mare Legarto taking the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa, her older half-sister Emanon put her eleventh career win on the board by claiming the C S Stevens Memorial Banks Peninsula Cup (1100m) at Riccarton.

While there may not have been as much focus and hoopla around Emanon as there was for the Legarto victory, her core group of supporters were there to cheer on the model of consistency as she defied the late challenge of the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained Millefiori with a display of sheer determination after leading most of the way down the long Riccarton home straight.

Rider Abdul Najib made good use of his 3kg apprentice claim to settle his mount just off the speed set up by Spartan before tackling the pacemaker rounding the home bend.

Emanon pinned her ears back and went for gold, refusing to yield to Millefiori who dashed at her late but failed by a long neck to gather her in with Spartan a similar margin away in third.

Leased to Orari-based trainer Lionel Dobbs and his wife Janine Young by her breeder Warwick Jeffries, Emanon has now won over $300,000 for the couple.

“She has been knocking on the door lately so we made a small adjustment by taking off her tongue tie and that looks to have worked nicely,” Young said.

“She is a real fighter who doesn’t like anything coming alongside her and that showed at the finish.

“She is a dream to do anything with and is just getting stronger and stronger. We don’t gallop her much as she doesn’t need it and she is pretty relaxed about it all.

“After the race we took her home and she had a roll and ate some grass and was pretty ho hum about it all.

“She can have two or three days off now and then we will get her ready for another open race at Wingatui in a fortnight.

“Abdul can ride her again as they seem to get on well and his 3kg claim is very handy.”

Emanon arrived at the couple’s stable as a two-year-old and the pair have done all the work with her from day one.

“We have a great relationship with Warwick and have had a fair few horses for him that he has sent us,” Young said.

“He rang one day and said he had a two-year-old and would we like to race her on lease.

“We said yes and when she arrived she had been broken in but not put through the gates or anything like that.

“Lionel took her to get her barrier certificate and he rode her at about 80kgs and she jumped out, put two lengths on the others and never looked back from there.

“She has won eleven races now and we need a bigger wall for all her photos.

“The only problem is her lease runs out on the 1st of May and we are pretty sure Warwick will want to take her back.

“We think she could be in for her best year next season so we will need to have a chat with him and see if we can get an extension as we think she can get some black type and add even more value towards her broodmare career.”

Emanon comes from an extended family that traces back to outstanding juvenile Ballybrit who was crowned the 1974/75 season champion two-year-old of New Zealand.

Mystic Park books ticket to potential Riccarton riches

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Promising southern galloper Mystic Park set himself up for a potentially lucrative payday on his home track at Riccarton in April when bolting home in the TAB Southern Alps Golden Ticket (1400m) qualifier at the venue on Saturday.

The victory makes him exempt from ballot for the rich $350,000 Southern Alps Challenge (1600m), a new innovation event from the TAB to be run at Riccarton on 13 April for horses that have their trainers operating a premises in the South Island from 1 August last year, have been stabled at that premises since 31 December and have run at least twice in the South Island since that date.

Mystic Park and trainers Michael and Matthew Pitman more than fulfil those criteria and will be looking forward to the new event with plenty of anticipation after the four-year-old delivered a four length victory under a hold by rider Tina Comignaghi.

Allowed to settle near the rear in the rating75 contest, Mystic Park relaxed nicely with Comignaghi sitting quietly before allowing him to sneak closer along the rail approaching the home turn.

Angled three off the fence into clear air at the 300m he burst away from his rivals before easing down to defeat Divine Sava and Seven Twenty in a slick 1.22.03 for the 1400m journey.

Michael Pitman has always believed the stable had a classy customer on their hands and the victory did nothing to dampen that opinion.

“I said to his owners that I thought he could be a genuine Group One horse before he even had his first start and he has done nothing to dissuade me since then,” Pitman said.

“He has always shown us plenty and he has one of the greatest temperaments that I have ever seen.

“He is just so relaxed and as he is out of a Dubawi mare we don’t have any fears for him stepping out further than he did today.

“Tina came back in and said he did it very easily and was just so chill all the way so we have a lot to look forward to.”

Pitman can’t wait for the Southern Alps challenge to roll around with plans to be made on how best to get him to the race where he now has a guaranteed start.

“He will probably have one more run before now and the big one in April so we will be working back from that date to see where best to place him,” he said.

“When you know you are in a race like that it takes a lot of the pressure off and we think he is going to be a big chance as he has been looking for more ground and the mile should suit him perfectly.

“It is a real buzz for his owners and they have been very loyal to the stable so if we can reward them with a win it would be a great result for everyone.”

Offered by Kilgravin Lodge during the 2021 Book 1 Sale at Karaka, Mystic Park was purchased by Pitman for $40,000 and has now taken his record to four wins from just eight career starts.

He is a son of Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park and is out of the Dubawi mare Spirit Of Karlu who traces back to numerous Australian stakes performers including the Gr.1 Australia Stakes (1200m) winner Stella Cadente. 

Kingfisher swoops to victory at Te Rapa

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Progressive intermediate galloper Kingfisher bounced back to winning form with an impressive victory in Rating75 company over 1200m at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Sporting the famous Fletcher tartan colours carried with distinction by horses of the calibre of triple Gr.1 Railway Handicap (1200m) winner Mr Tiz, the four-year-old son of Savabeel was having his third run in a summer campaign following an initial preparation that yielded three wins from just eight starts.

Trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott went into the race with a high degree of confidence and with former South African rider Billy Jacobson in the saddle their charge duly delivered after enjoying a perfect trip in the trail throughout.

Jacobson bided his time until a gap appeared on the inner of pacemaker In Extasy and burst to the lead at the 250m. Tracked through by Bea A Roca, Kingfisher maintained a solid gallop to land the major spoils with Insatiable making good ground out wide to finish third.

O’Sullivan admitted the stable were keen on the chances of Kingfisher and he duly obliged.

“The gate made all the difference and Billy gave him a great ride,” O’Sullivan said.

“Andrew and I thought he was our best chance for the day, which is easy to say afterwards but Andrew was very confident.

“It is just a matter of going through the grades with him now as he must be getting close to open company.

“He will be better next season so we have no major plans with him, but it’s nice to win a good race on a day like this.”

Jacobsen admitted he couldn’t have scripted a better passage during the race.

“I had a dream run and that’s the way I had envisaged it would be,” he said.

“When I was coming around the last bend I said lets go it’s time to win.

“When I got off the horse last time I said please keep me on as I will win on him and I’m very thankful that they did.

“I’ve had a fairly quiet patch of late but you have to stay positive and I drove here this morning thinking that I could win this race.”

Kingfisher is out of the five-race winner Kaleidoscope who is a daughter of dual Australian Group Two winner Arletty and is closely related to former New Zealand Three-year-old of the Year Xtravagant.

He has now won four of his eleven starts for breeders Dame Sian Elias and Hugh Fletcher who share in his ownership with Natalie Walker and Ned Fletcher. 

Te Akau southerners stakes-bound 

By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

While the headliners of Te Akau Racing were chasing black-type honours at Te Rapa on Saturday, four of the first six victors at Riccarton Park donned the tangerine silks. 

Te Akau’s southern contingent, handled by stable foreman Hunter Durrant, got off to a flying start in the opener claiming the Riccarton Park Function Centre Maiden (1600m) with Beau Brummell. 

Sired by former Te Akau star Embellish, Beau Brummell was a strong public elect closing the $2.80 TAB favourite, and stable apprentice Niranjan Parmar found a comfortable position early in behind a hotly-contested lead. 

The three-year-old loomed into winning contention at the top of the straight, and once Parmar found clear air, he dashed away by an extending three-length margin to Bellutta and the fast-finishing Zlatna. 

“He’s taken a bit of time to mature, but Hunter and the team have got him going really well from our stables at Riccarton,” Te Akau co-trainer Mark Walker said. 

Walker indicated the gelding may venture further South next Saturday to contest the Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas (1600m), a potential first attempt in stakes company at his fourth start. 

“Parmar gave him a good trip behind the leaders, and now he’s strengthened, he may handle the week between runs. We’ll wait and see,” he said. 

Another breaking maidens in style was Lady Of Court, the Savabeel filly also rewarding punters in her southern debut when claiming the Alastair Gray Memorial Maiden (1400m) as the $3.70 favourite. 

Settling midfield from barrier five under Parmar, Lady Of Court travelled strongly into the bend before descending down the centre of the long Riccarton straight, eventually chasing down a brave pacemaker in Rubicon Reigns to score by a length. 

“She’s been knocking on the door and it was a really good winning run,” Walker said. 

“She’s slowly learning to relax better in her races, and we’ll give her the opportunity of competing in a stakes race.”

A half-sister to Te Akau sprinting stalwart Challa, Lady Of Court will now chase black-type in three weeks’ time at Wingatui in the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m). 

An inexperienced four-horse juvenile field made the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1000m) an easy watch for Te Akau, with runaway winner Quintefeuille bringing up a winning treble in the fourth on the ten-race card.

The son of Xtravagant had finished runner-up in his sole race-day appearance to stablemate Damask Rose, who went on to place second in the $1 million Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) at her next start. Looking the unbeatable favourite as indicated by his $1.10 TAB quote, the gelding outclassed his three rivals by a significant margin to score by six lengths, Parmar having eased him down in the final 100m. 

“It was a really good win, and while not sure about the strength of opposition, he certainly did it pretty easily,” Walker said. 

“It’s only his second start, so he’ll only improve for the experience and age. We’ll see how he pulls up before planning his next race.” 

Completing their successful winning quartet was progressive filly Superbly Written, the three-year-old producing a comprehensive performance in the GM Accounting & Consulting Rating 65 (1200m). 

Superbly Written showed early promise in narrowly defeating subsequent Group Three winner Still Bangon at her second start, and regained that winning form down the chute, with Parmar keeping the filly wide from the 13 draw, before swamping the leaders to score by 1 and ¾ lengths. 

“She’s putting together a good record, starting to mature, and it was a big effort to win the way she did today,” Walker said. 

Alongside stablemate Lady Of Court, Superbly Written will contest the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) on March 2 at her next appearance. 

Embellish gelding Plenty O’Style and consistent mare Millefiori also finished runner-up in their respective races, capping a stellar day in the south for Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson. 

“It’s great to have the stables at Riccarton, where Hunter Durrant and the staff are doing such a good job, and the trip away and being stabled down south is quite often the making of horses,” Walker said. 

The victories also saw Parmar storm into the lead of the domestic apprentice’s premiership with 35 winners for the season, surpassing Central Districts-based Lily Sutherland who currently sits on 33.