Motukarara winner for Richardson
Graham Richardson has never been to Banks Peninsula racecourse, but he knows a bit more about it after winning a race there on Sunday.
Half an hour south-east of Christchurch at Motukarara, the Banks Peninsula track stages racing that is very much the quiet before the storm of the three-day New Zealand Cup carnival at Riccarton.
Northern trainers annually make use of the low-key Banks Peninsula Cup meeting as a pipeopener to what follows at South Island headquarters and Graham Richardson joined their ranks to good effect last weekend.
His first runner, promising maiden Incantesimo, had no luck in the running and had to settle for fourth, but stablemate Tessastock made no bones of it with a runaway win later in the day.
Bred in the potent TavistockZabeel cross, Tessastock has always been highly rated by her connections, so much so that she ran as a maiden in the New Zealand Oaks back in March.
In her first start since then, she cleared maiden grade by more than five lengths at Te Awamutu in early September and finished fifth in her only other start before heading south.
‘‘She’s owned by Kevin Hickman of Christchurch and I was keen to give her the chance to compete at the Riccarton carnival,’’ Graham said.
‘‘She needed another run beforehand and as it worked out Motukarara was the best option.
‘‘I still don’t know where exactly it is. I was busy back home with runners at Tauranga and everything else going on and I sent my apprentice Isaac FraserHayes to take care of things down there.
‘‘It was a shame with Incantesimo, she just never saw daylight, but Sam (Collett) rode Tessastock like the best horse in the race and it was good to see her win so easily.’’
Tessastock may back up in Saturday’s Metropolitan Trophy at Riccarton on Saturday, with the alternative to wait for another middle-distance race on the final day of the carnival.
‘‘A race like the New Zealand Cup is probably too soon for her, but the trip away and further racing should bring her on nicely,’’ Graham added.
Weekend business closer to home centred on Saturday’s Tauranga meeting, where the headline act in the Richardson stable, unbeaten filly Volpe Veloce was set to finally get her three-yearold season under way.
A starting gate incident, a badly timed temperature spike and unsuitable wet tracks had combined to play havoc with spring plans, but she finally got things back on track with an emphatic performance in an age group sprint at Tauranga.
Completing a stable quinella, Secret Stash followed his debut win earlier in the month with another good effort for second.
‘‘It’s been a frustrating time with Volpe Veloce but her owners have been very patient,’’ Graham said.
Volpe Veloce remains unbeaten as she gets her delayed spring campaign under way with an easy win at Tauranga on Saturday.