New Zealand news briefs

Stakes assignment looming for Adannaya

By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News

Riccarton trainer Lance Robinson will head south to Ashburton with a dozen runners on Thursday, including last start winner Adannaya, who is readying for a stakes assignment.

The stakes performer has been freshened since her last start victory over 1200m at Wingatui in February and will kick-off her autumn preparation in the Greg Jones Memorial (1300m).

The daughter of Niagara, who was runner-up in the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on Boxing, will be hoping to go one better when she lines-up in the Listed Daphne Bannam Memorial Great Easter Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton later this month, and Robinson believes Thursday’s test will be the perfect lead-in race.

“She has had a nice break since her last win and she is well-weighted (54kg) on Thursday. She will run well but the race will clean her up nicely for the 1400m Easter Stakes,” Robinson said.

Robinson is also upbeat about the chances of stablemate Forever Babe, who takes three consecutive placings into the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m).

“Forever Babe has been running really well,” he said. “She is a very fast horse, but I just think 1400m around a corner will really suit her. She has a good draw (5) and should be hard to beat.”

Three-year-old filly Written Off will be out to make the perfect start to her racing career when she makes her debut in the Supporting Kai For Kids (1200m).

Written Off is a first starter and has trialled up really nice,” Robinson said. “She had a couple of seconds at the trials. She will benefit with the experience, but she will run alright. She is a nice filly, I like her quite a bit.”

Robinson is also looking forward to lining up Devil In Disguise in the Gilbert Butterick Memorial (2200m), Delphillius in the Wide Span Sheds (1200m), and In Awe in the Agraforum Growing Innovation (1600m).

“Devil In Disguise has come through his last start really well,” he said. “He should have won his last start, he was a bit stiff, was held up at the wrong time and was late getting clear. He has done really well since then and I expect him to be pretty hard to beat.

“Delphillius has done well since her last run and I think she has improved since then. Jasmine (Fawcett, jockey) takes the ride again and knows her well. She liked the run last start so hopefully she should run well.

“In Awe ran fifth the other day fresh-up. He has a good draw (2) and will run well.” 

Town Cryer set to be in full voice in spring

By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Town Cryer has enjoyed a standout season for trainer Roydon Bergeron and is now enjoying some well-deserved time in the paddock ahead of what could be a lucrative spring campaign.

The six-year-old daughter kicked off the season in emphatic style when downing Group One winner Prowess to win the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and in February added the Listed Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) to her stakes haul.

She followed that victory up with two runner-up results at Ellerslie, including last month’s inaugural $350,000 Rangitoto Classic (1500m) and last Saturday’s Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m), bringing her season earnings to $277,850.

Bergerson was rapt to get the Group One placing with his mare and is hoping to go one better in some elite-level targets in the spring.

“I am very happy with her, she just got beaten by a better horse (Belclare) on the day,” he said.
“It is great for the owners, I am really happy for them. She is a lovely mare to get to train for them.

“She has gone to the paddock today. We could have gone to the Travis (Gr.2, 2000m) or the Easter Handicap (Gr.3, 1600m), but I thought it was better to get her out now while the weather is still good and bring her in before it gets too cold, and hopefully aim her at the (Hawke’s Bay) Spring Carnival, she has proven that she can race at weight-for-age.

“The beauty with her is that it doesn’t matter if it is hard-and-fast or heavy. She has won on them all. She is a tough, versatile mare. Hopefully there is a bit of rain to slow some of the others down.”

While he is looking forward to the spring with Town Cryer, Bergerson’s immediate focus is racing at Wanganui and Trentham later this week.

The Awapuni conditioner will take two horses to Wanganui’s Friday meeting, with Nadheema lining up in the Maiden 1200m, while Asahi will contest the Rating 65 1600m.

“Nadheema trialled up really well the other day,” Bergerson said. “I see the horse (Chester Boy) that beat her won the other day, and the horse (Good Craic) that ran third behind her ran second the other day. She has worked on nicely and I am happy with the way she looks. It is not an overly big field so she will get her chance.

“Asahi was very good at Wellington. I think he is a very good top-two chance. His work this morning was fantastic, so I am looking forward to getting him to the races.”

Looking ahead to Trentham on Saturday, six-win gelding Bradman will contest the Listed Bramco Granite & Marble Flying Handicap (1400m), while Charlotte’s Way will line-up in the Rating 75 1200m.

“I just hope they run along for him (Bradman),” Bergerson said. “He is better if the pace is on, he always seems to find the line better when the race is run genuinely quick. If it is run slowly then he gets into trouble and starts to over-race. His racing manners have been better this year than they have any other year. I am really happy with him, he has trained on really well and he likes Wellington, so he should be hitting the line strongly.

“Charlotte’s Way has been a hard horse to place. She likes to run around the bend but there have been no 1200m races for about five or six weeks and there isn’t another one for another couple. We thought we would attack the money, see if she can get up on the speed and stay out of trouble. She is not a very big mare, and she panics in her races, so we will press forward.

“Wiremu (Pinn) is riding them both and he is a good jockey, I am happy to have him on.”

Meanwhile, Bergerson was pleased with La Bella Grande’s trial over 1200m at Foxton on Tuesday and is eyeing some stakes targets over autumn for the Little Avondale Stud-bred and raced mare.

“La Bella Grande is a really nice mare going forward,” he said. “She is 17 hands and has just taken a while to grow into herself.

“She was very disappointing in her last start at Te Rapa. We threw the ball at the stumps and we missed. She jarred up really bad, so we put her straight in the paddock and she went and did a bit of pre-training down at (Chris) Rutten’s and she has come back in magnificent order.

“I am really happy with the way she trialled today. She is coming up nicely for the autumn.

“We will have to chase a bit of black-type with her, I think she is up to it. She is a beautiful mare and she is just starting to learn the game. She used to be really quirky and was hard to control, but now she is taking it all in her stride.” 

Well-related mare boasts top family track record

By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

No Plan Be will bid to continue a proud family record at Ruakaka when she resumes on her home course on Wednesday.

The four-year-old has been patiently handled by trainer Michelle Bradley and will run in the Croft Poles Maiden (1600m) with Kelly Myers booked to guide her fortunes from a handy barrier (six).

By Tarzino, No Plan Be is a daughter of the Darci Brahma mare Candle In The Wind who was a seven-time winner, with five of her victories posted at Ruakaka where she was prepared by Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs.

She also showed her quality when successful in the Karaka Stayers’ Cup (2200m) and finished runner-up in her farewell performance in the Gr.3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m).

No Plan Be is her first foal to race and she has produced encouraging runs for fifth in both of her appearances.

“She has improved and it took us a little while to work her out,” Bradley said.

“She flew home in her first start at Pukekohe and then we raced her here and she hit a flat spot. She’s not a big filly and I turned her out after that and she had a month off.

“She’s straight into a mile again and she looks great, I’ve been pretty happy with her work.”

No Plan Be will be one of a quartet of runners for Bradley with Haller and Mondavi to make their debuts while Shockatillatap returns from a break.

Haller will kick off his career in the Ruakaka Races – NZ’s Best Bet In Winter Maiden (1600m) with Matthew Cameron to partner the son of Satono Aladdin, whose family is also well known to Bradley.

“He is a half-brother to Bosch (two wins) and Top Brass (six wins) and early on he looked like he might be a sprinting type, but he’s changed in shape and body style and showing me signs he’ll be more of a staying type like Bosch,” she said.

“I’ve put him in at the deep end a little bit. I did have him in the 1400m but will start him over a mile fresh-up and he’s done well.”

Mondavi is a newcomer to the stable and will make her first appearance in the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) with Vinie Colgan in the saddle.

“She came to me this preparation and I haven’t trialled her, but she did have two trials previously,” Bradley said.

“I’m still learning about her so it will be interesting to see how she goes. She’s a work in progress and you have to start somewhere.”

Shockatillatap will benefit from his outing in the Whangarei ITM Handicap (1200m), in which he’ll be ridden by Cameron, and may be seen in a new role this preparation.

“He’s going to need the run and we have talked about jumping him and we may still do that,” Bradley said.

Meanwhile, promising four-year-old Dame Lilibic was spelled following her impressive premier victory at Ellerslie last month and her third success from 12 starts.

“I was absolutely thrilled with that win she got a virus so she’s in the paddock,” Bradley said.

“She’ll have a decent break now and will come back when the weather really starts to turn nasty.

“She’ll probably have her first run back here in September and she’s an exciting mare.” 

Group One-winning trainer back in the winner’s circle

By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Group One-winning trainer Cydne Evans recorded her first win since moving to Waverley three years ago when Stringline took out the Riverstone Café Handicap (2100m) at Otaki on Monday in the hands of Kozzi Asano.

It was the six-year-old mare’s fifth start for Evans, who was relatively confident heading into the meeting after the daughter of Alamosa had finished runner-up on the Horowhenua track over a similar distance in her previous raceday outing.

“I haven’t had her that long, and she hadn’t been a good eater, but since she ran second, she has been licking the bowl clean and has become a happy horse again,” Evans said. “I was going into it pretty confident.”

Stringline jumped well and was sent straight to the front by Asano, and the pair quickly opened up several lengths on their rivals. Asano maintained a solid tempo throughout and the pair sustained their advantage until they were regathered by the pack at the 600m mark. Asano pressed the go button at the top of the straight and his charge answered once more, running clear to score a 1-1/2 length victory.”

“She had a good draw and everything played into her favour,” Evans said. “It was good to see her come back to some form for the owners.”

While Stringline has been in her care since December, Evans said the mare wasn’t new to her, having worked with her as a juvenile at her former Byerley Park base, and is pleased to get a win on the board with the mare as an older horse.

Evans has been pleased with the way Stringline has come through the race and said she might back-up at Trentham’s upcoming Saturday meeting.

“She ate up last (Monday) night and she has turned the corner. She is a happy horse I think,” Evans said.

“I have put a cheeky nomination for Trentham, but I don’t know if I will run yet because I will see how she goes in the next couple of days. There is a good stake there, so you have to look where the money is.

“We will just keep her happy and if we don’t run there then I will find another staying race. She won’t go on the heavy stuff in the middle of winter, but she will handle a bit of cut in the ground, so we will play around for a little bit longer.”

Stringline brought up Evans’ 66th training victory and first in six years, with a number of life events forcing Evans to reevaluate life, culminating in the decision to downsize her training operation and move to Waverley to follow a different career path.

“I have been an Aucklander all my life and I moved down here (Waverley) three years ago,” she said.

“I got pretty disillusioned, and I was getting average horses and there wasn’t any money in the game. I also lost my partner to cancer. It all snowballed and I decided I had enough.

“I sold my place up in Auckland and had been looking for a farm for a while down the line and this place came on the market and I now rear calves.”

While her new career is keeping her busy, Evans said her enthusiasm for racing has reignited and she is enjoying training a small team of horses from her new base.

“I have a couple of handy horses around me, which is getting me enthused again. I just want to play around with a few, it keeps me happy,” she said.

It continues a three-decade long training career for Evans, who first fell in love with the sport through attending race meetings at Ellerslie with her father.

“My Dad was an apprentice jockey, but not for long as he got too big,” she said. “I used to love going to Ellerslie with him as a little kid. I wanted to be a jockey, but he didn’t want his daughter to be in the racing game back then, so I moved into the stud side of things and worked for Charlie Roberts and Don McLaren.

“Dad passed on and then I took out a trainer’s license and it has gone from there.”

Evans has now posted 66 wins, including two at stakes level courtesy of her former star stayer Cyclades, who won nine races, including the Gr.1 Wellington Cup (3200m) and Gr.2 Queen Elizabeth Handicap (2400m), and was runner-up in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m).

“We had quite a ride with him,” Evans said. “We went to the Melbourne Cup (Gr.1, 3200m), we didn’t go any good but we made the field.

“It was something you put on your bucket list. He started on the Saturday and just suffered from heat stress after the race. We had to undergo vigorous vet tests to run in the Cup, but unfortunately I think that Saturday took the edge off him, so he just participated pretty much on the Tuesday. But it was a big thrill to be part of it all.

“The crowd was amazing, you had to fight your way to get down to the tie-ups and back. It was quite incredible.” 

Revamped Trackside now available to more New Zealanders  

Trackside has returned to free-to-air television as part of a refreshed offering for New Zealand racing fans. 

Trackside, which has been part of the New Zealand broadcasting landscape since 1992, has been refreshed to give racing lovers a complete new look and feel. 

The refresh also signals the return of Trackside to free-to-air-channels. Trackside 1 and Trackside 2 are now available on Freeview 23 and 24 respectively, expanding the reach of the channels alongside offering the service through Sky Channels 62 & 63 and TAB’s own streaming services through its betting channels. 

Christopher Haigh, Chief Media Officer of Entain Australia and New Zealand – the operators of TAB and Trackside Media – said racing fans can expect enhanced coverage of all three racing codes. 

“We’ve made a complete change to the look and feel for Trackside 1, Trackside 2 and Trackside Premier,” Christopher Haigh said. 

“These are the first major changes to Trackside’s look and feel since 2014, and we’re putting the racing animal at the front and centre of these changes. 

“Our new look has more space for live racing vision to be displayed, alongside providing viewers with more of the key betting information they need.” 

The graphic changes also reflect the shift in betting trends in the past decade, with fixed odds products becoming increasingly popular. 

More programming will also be seen on Trackside’s channels in the coming months, as well as an increased number of presenters at New Zealand’s racecourses to help find and pass on information that viewers cannot find elsewhere.