Waikato Hunt Cup finale
The Waikato Hunt Cup was back in commission on National Jumps Day at Te Aroha on Sunday and won in a tough battle by course specialist Thenamesbond.
The Stephen Ralph-trained and part-owned iron horse was winning his12th race and ninth on the course.
The 9-year-old was having his 69th race and took his earnings to around $225,000 for Ralph and his partner and joint owner Melanie Sutton.
He is making a habit of winning on the final day of the jumping season having done so at Te Aroha in 2015 and 2016.
Jockey James Seivwright had Thenamesbond in or near the lead throughout and the pair surged clear of Just Got Home who ran gamely for second while backers of the favourite Lacustre did their money cold when he was pulled up with a round to go.
Top Choice and That’s How It Goes were latescratched after their jockeys were stood down earlier in the programme.
Sarah MacNab was stood down for the day after being dislodged from Kangaroo in the opening race, while Isaac Lupton fell from Clapathunda at the final fence of the third race of the day and was also stood down.
Australian jockeys Shane Jackson and Lee Horner crossed the Tasman to boost jumps jockeys’ ranks for a day of bumper fields but replacement riders were unable to be found for Top Choice and That’s How It Goes.
Their scratchings left a field of 12 for the 4250m $40,000 Bayleys Waikato Hunt Cup after being in remission for several years.
Earlier in the day Letmeby signalled his jumping talent with his maiden hurdle win.
The Graham Richardson and Gavin Parkertrained hurdler was having his second start in the role after a handy eight-win flat career and hinted he could be in for a big season next winter.
Dylan Turner rode a patient race on the Don Eduardo gelding presenting him late in proceedings for a comfortable win over Raisedinasandpit with favourite Cruiseo third.