Lo­cals star at na­tional events

Matamata Chronicle - - Building -

Mata­mata-trained horses missed out in the Welling­ton Cup and the Karaka Mil­lion, but there was still plenty of lo­cal in­flu­ence in those and other fea­tures con­tested last week­end.

The win­ners of the two head­lines races, Six O’clock News and Ock­ham’s Ra­zor, were bred and reared in the dis­trict, at Bland­ford Lodge and Rich Hill Stud re­spec­tively. And while Ock­ham’s Ra­zor has been wholly Aus­tralian-owned since be­ing sold for $170,000 at last year’s Na­tional Year­ling Sale, Cam­bridge-trained Six O’clock News is still part-owned lo­cally, with Okauia farmer Gavin Hales one of the 10-mem­ber syn­di­cate that races the Zabeel geld­ing.

Gavin has had a lot of fun with his rac­ing in­ter­ests over the past few years, an­other big win­ner be­ing the John Sar­gent-trained filly Il Quello Ve­loce in which he had a syn­di­cate share.

Six O’clock News, a son of the for­mer very good Jim Gibb­strained mare Mau­rine, looked a horse headed for the top when he won the 2009 City of Auck­land Cup as a mid-sea­son four year old. He added an­other win later that sum­mer but then went win­less for close to three years.

The drought was fi­nally bro­ken on the first day of the Welling­ton Cup meet­ing when Six O’clock News won the Tren­tham Stakes and he backed that form up with a re­peat per­for­mance in last Satur­day’s fea­ture, turn­ing the ta­bles on Spiro, the horse that had beaten him in the 2011 Welling­ton Cup.

‘‘It’s been a while be­tween drinks but right now that makes it an even bet­ter feel­ing,’’ said Gavin Hales he be­fore and his wife Mar­garet joined the vic­tory cel­e­bra­tions in the Tren­tham bird­cage around the horse that had just taken his stake-earn­ings past $500,000.

Rich Hill Stud prin­ci­pal John Thompson didn’t hold back in cel­e­brat­ing the win by Ock­ham’s Ra­zor in New Zealand’s rich­est race, the $1 mil­lion Karaka Mil­lion at Eller­slie on Sun­day evening. And fair enough too, given that the Vic­to­rian-trained colt is from the first crop of Rich Hill Stud stal­lion Any Sug­ges­tion.

‘‘That’s the first sea­son sires’ pre­mier­ship, the over­all two-yearold sires’ pre­mier­ship, the lot,’’ he de­clared for ev­ery­one to hear, mind­ful no doubt of the ben­e­fit the big win would mean for the sec­ond sea­son prog­eny of his grey stal­lion go­ing through the ring at this week’s Na­tional Year­ling Sales.

Ock­ham’s Ra­zor is the prod­uct of the close as­so­ci­a­tion that Rich Hill has had with ma­jor Ja­panese breed­ing in­ter­ests, ini­tially with the stud’s lead­ing stal­lion Pen­tire and then the for­mer shut­tle stal­lion Jun­gle Pocket. Lead­ing Ja­panese breeder Kat­sumi Yoshida sent sev­eral well-bred brood­mares to the Wal­ton nurs­ery as part of the Jun­gle Pocket deal.

One of them was Shadow Ray, who was ini­tially bred to Jun­gle Pocket and pro­duced the stakeswin­ning filly Jun­gle Juice as well as the re­cent win­ner Jun­gle Knight. Now, in just his sec­ond start, Ock­ham’s Ra­zor has trumped them both and put his sire right on the map.

Big wins have for sev­eral years been a mat­ter of course for se­nior Rich Hill Pen­tire and on Satur­day he added an­other when Say No More ran away with the Thorn­don Mile at Tren­tham, tak­ing her sire’s tally of Group One win­ners to 11.

The other black-type fea­ture on Satur­day’s Tren­tham pro­gramme, the Gr. 3 Tiger Prawn Desert Gold Stakes, pro­vided a no­table re­sult for an­other Mata­mata breed­ing es­tab­lish­ment, Waikato Stud. The three-year-old fil­lies’ fea­ture was won by the John Sar­gent-trained Quin­tes­sen­tial, post­ing a first black-type suc­cess for her sire Fast ’N’ Fa­mous.

Quin­tes­sen­tial is from the first crop of the son of cham­pion Aus­tralian sire Red­oute’s Choice and her win on Satur­day capped a run of very promis­ing form by his prog­eny. An­other three-year-old filly do­ing a good job for Fast ’N’ Fa­mous is the Glenn Old-trained Our Fa­mous Eve, who fin­ished sec­ond in the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes at Eller­slie on New Year’s Day.

Quin­tes­sen­tial and Our Fa­mous Eve may yet clash in the next race in the New Zealand Blood­stock Filly of the Year se­ries, the Gr. 2 Sir Tris­tram Fil­lies’ Clas­sic at Te Rapa on Fe­bru­ary 11.

As well as the big win by Ock­ham’s Ra­zor, the Sun­day twi­light Eller­slie meet­ing also pro­duced im­por­tant suc­cesses for a pair of Mata­mata-trained three­year-olds be­ing aimed at the sea­son’s premier clas­sic, the $750,000 Tele­com New Zealand Derby.

The Re­gan Don­ni­son-trained Red Shift fol­lowed up on his re­cent Paeroa maiden win with a stout stay­ing per­for­mance in a spe­cial con­di­tion 2100-me­tre event. His share of the $30,000 stake took him to 15th in the Derby qual­i­fy­ing or­der, which doesn’t guar­an­tee a start but takes a fair bit of the worry out of the equa­tion.

Derby qual­i­fi­ca­tion is­sues were set­tled when Rock ’n’ Pop won the New Zealand 2000 Guineas back in Novem­ber, but more im­por­tantly he has re­turned to form at just the right time in his sec­ond start since the Ric­car­ton clas­sic.

The Ja­son Bridg­man-trained colt dug deep to fight off Gra­ham Richard­son’s run­ner Mosh Pit and win the New Zealand Blood­stock In­sur­ance 3YO Mile by a nose, tak­ing his stake-earn­ings to $308,175.

‘‘He’s yet to reach full fit­ness so that run will have cleaned him up nicely,’’ Ja­son said. Op­tions on the way to the Derby are the Darci Brahma In­ter­na­tional Stakes at Te Rapa on Fe­bru­ary 11 or the Avon­dale Guineas at Eller­slie a week later.

Rock ’n’ Pop is the $5 sec­ond favourite for the Derby be­hind fel­low Mata­mata-trained colt Ocean Park ($3), who is sched­uled to have his next start and his first at a mid­dledis­tance in Satur­day’s Waikato Guineas.

Win­ner: The John Sar­gent-trained Quin­tes­sen­tial (Lisa All­press) notches a first black-type win for her sire Fast ’N’ Fa­mous in the Tiger Prawn Desert Gold Stakes at Tren­tham on Satur­day.

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