Ralph rapt with club facilities
Stephen Ralph’s team quickly reaping the benefits from the excellent training facilities available at Waipa Racing Club.
The former Pukekohe and Te Rapa trainer commenced leasing 14 boxes off the club amonth ago, sharing half the stable (next to Keith Hawtin’s stable) with Joe Waldron, who has three horses and is building his team.
The swimming pool complex has been a godsend for Ralph’s 14 horses currently in work, especially Thunder Down Under who returned from a stint racing in Australia with sore feet.
There was no such problem for the four-year-old bay horse at Te Rapa on Saturday.
In the hands of jockey Jordan Nason, Thunder Down Under won the Munns the Man’s Store 1400 Rating 75, paying $45.40 win and $9.20 place, by a head from Calligraphy (Sam Weatherley) with two and a half lengths back to third placed He’s Cavalier (Rebecca Scott).
“The team has settled in great at their new stable complex,” says Ralph.
“We love it here in Te Awamutu, the racing personnel are very helpful, the training tracks are excellent, the jumping facilities are very good and the jump out every fortnight is good for our team.”
Ralph also saddled up Thenamesbond to win the Waikato Hurdles at Te Rapa.
The game plan for Thenamesbond was executed to perfection by jockey Will Gordon.
The hardy jumper was urged to put the pressure on his rivals a long way from home in the PJR Porritt Sandsponsored feature by the gelding’s rider. It proved the winning of the race.
“I wanted to get the others off the bit a long way out and turn it into a real staying test,” says Ralph.
“Will managed that perfectly, full credit to him. When he started riding pretty hard down the back I thought good on you, the horse can stay.”
Although Thenamesbond was headed three flight from home, his reserves of stamina came into play and he came back strongly to defeat the longshot Yardarm and Ooee.
Twice successful on the flat, Thenamesbond has now won seven times over hurdles.
Last winter he was successful in his debut over the big fences at Te Aroha.
Ralph travels 35 minutes each way every morning to Waipa Racing Club from his Te Kowhai property. From 91 starts this season, Ralph has produced eight winners, three seconds and five thirds for a stake of $149.950.
He currently sits third in the premiership jumping training standings.
His career total of wins is 87 from 1116 starts.
LAST start winners at Te Rapa, Thenamesbond (left) and Thunderdownunder with trainer Stephen Ralph (right), his partner Melanie Sutton and the Ralph families’ farrier for the past 20 or more years, Brian Cave.