Artistic flourish for The King
stayed loyal in all eight starts since. Wins in the Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie in the spring and in her final start at the same venue 10 days before the Oaks in the Sunline Vase had kept Artistic well in the picture but she was still only the seventh favourite when she lined up on Saturday.
‘‘There were some who thought she might have trouble staying the 2400 metres but after riding her all season I had to stick with her,’’ said Michael.
The matter of loyalty definitely came into it his thinking, in particular the friendship between the jockey and Rick Williams, a former Matamata man who these days manages The Oaks Stud in Cambridge, where Darci Brahma now stands. Rick’s brief includes the extensive team raced by The Oaks Stud owner, Queensland-based Dick Karreman.
‘‘They’ve been very good to me over the years and that’s something you don’t forget,’’ said Michael. ‘‘They kept me on Magnetism when he won the Carbine Stakes in Sydney a few years back and they could have put an Aussie jockey on.’’
Saturday’s Group One win was the 29th of Michael’s 26-year career and now he wants to make it a round 30.
‘‘It would be good if I could even it out to 30,’’ said the man whose son Liam and many of his mates call The King.
‘‘A few people have been trying to retire me lately but I’m confident that I’m still riding well.
‘‘I think I’ve got at least another year after this before I call it quits but at some stage my body will need some R & R.’’
Glenn Old, one of the younger members of local training ranks, may not have a high profile but that has not stopped him from producing worthwhile results from his small stable.
At last Wednesday’s South Waikato Racing Club meeting on the Matamata course, Glenn unveiled his latest talent, Volksraad gelding Crown’s Prestige to win impressively on debut.
The three-year-old is in fact unbeaten in public, having won his only two trials late last year but his race day debut was delayed through a combination of wet tracks and identifying the right race.
Crown’s Prestige was purchased for $55,000 from the 2010 National Yearling Sale, selected by Glenn and his brother Mark on behalf of a Macau owner.
He has since changed hands again and is now owned by Hong Kong interests who identified him as a likely sort when he won his two trials.
Last week’s race carried a stake of $8000, which meets the qualifying criteria for export to Hong Kong.
Crown’s Prestige will therefore not be seen again on a New Zealand racetrack but his original trainer predicts he will measure up in when he gets to Hong Kong later this year.
Glenn spent eight years in Macau as an assistant trainer before returning to his home town in late 2004 and renewing his New Zealand trainer’s licence. Reflecting a growing trend among local licence-holders, much of his work now involves sourcing young horses and developing them for racing in Asia.
‘‘Having spent time in Macau I got to know the sort of horse that does well up there and in Hong Kong,’’ Glenn said.
‘‘The other thing is having the right contacts. That’s why my stable these days is made up of horses owned by good local clients and the other half by horses either owned in Asia already or heading that way.
‘‘A lot of them will only trial before they move on but it’s a system that works well for me. I never have more than 14 or 15 in work most of the time, which means I can keep a handle on things and know exactly where each horse is up to.’’
Glenn gets valuable help from his father Kevin, a former successful trainer who these days settles for the title ‘‘senior stablehand’’ and John Boyack, a capable horseman when it comes to educating youngsters.
‘‘Having dad’s experience and John’s involvement with the young ones especially has been a big help to me.’’
Trading apart, Glenn has made a very good impression with the numbers he does take to the races.
The win by Crown’s Prestige took his tally for the season to 11 wins from just 56 individual starters, giving him a strike rate of one win in five starts, the second best of any trainer with a double- figure tally on the national premiership.
The star of his team over recent months has been the three-year-old Ancroft Stud-owned and bred filly Our Famous Eve, whose eight starts have produced two wins and some notable placings, including second in the Royal Stakes at Ellerslie and fifth in the weight-for-age Darci Brahma International Stakes at Te Rapa.
‘‘She’s a filly with a lot of ability and with a bit of luck could have had an even better season,’’ said her trainer.
‘‘Not to worry, she’s having a spell now and will come back a lot stronger next season.’’
Flair: A New Zealand Oaks victory at last as Michael Coleman brings Artistic back to scale at Trentham on Saturday.