Weekend racing talking points
Battling odds to win big
Cambridge trainer Shelley Hale has quietly plied her trade for many a day.
Her love of horses is obvious and was behind her remarkable comeback from serious health issues around 18 months ago to hit a career high at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Seventh Up, one of the talented progeny of Regelle the mare Hale and partners have bred from for a number of years, caused a minor shock winning the Group II Easter Stakes (1600m).
Hale knows her way around a horse having fallen into the industry at a young age, going on to earn the respect of industry participants who have observed her ability to get the best from her small, contented team of gallopers. Fighting back the tears after Seventh Up’s outstanding win in the $200,000 race, the humble horsewoman was quick to thank everyone who had helped her through her ‘‘ups and downs’’. The win was also testament to the skills of ageless jockey, Grant Cooksley, 57, who showed his acknowledged patience guiding Seventh Up to victory.
One of the best
Carrying topweight, Who Shot Thebarman missed by just a head to beat Polarisation in the A$2 million Sydney Cup at Randwick on Saturday. The wonder horse who began his days with Mark Oulaghan at Awapuni for his enthusiastic owners the O’Leary family from Wanganui, epitomises everything good about the NZ-bred stayers. He is tough, he is durable, he is talented and he can stay like the proverbial. Count the abandoned take one of the Sydney Cup when he unfortunately fell during the running, and his runs over the ultimate 3200m trip are nearing double figures but he is no onepaced plugger. The South Islandbred 8-year-old son of Yamanin Vital has won around $3 million for his efforts, winning his first race over 1600m at Trentham five seasons ago and competing against the best over all distances in the meantime.
Tommy Tucker and Jacob Lowry combined for their 10th win together in the Group III Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton. He beat Bloodstream by half a length with another four lengths back to Benzini in third. There was a slight cause for concern for connections following the victory after the gelding ate some straw in the swab box and half-choked. ‘‘He’s going out for a good spell now anyway and we’ll get him back again – he’s coming up to nine, but he doesn’t know that,’’ said part-owner and cotrainer Brian Anderton. ‘‘It’s a great win and a nice ride and the horse has never let anyone down.’’ He’s never let his young rider down, and Lowry can’t wait for the next campaign.
Tavidream is a classic example of what happens to our best young thoroughbred talent - prospective overseas buyers come circling. After the 3-year-old gelding won the Group II Championship Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on Saturday, co-trainer Chris Gibbs was wondering how the euphoric syndicate of owners would be able to ignore the ‘‘silly money’’ being offered for the son of Tavistock.
Up significantly in trip following an authoritative success over 1600m at Ellerslie at his previous start, he was well positioned just in behind the leaders by jockey Alysha Collett and beat off the challenge of Charles Road who was bearing down rapidly.
Cambridge trainer Shelley Hale has achieved outstanding results with Seventh Up and the rest of her small team.