Car­ni­val time in Ste­wards

The Press - - Racing - MAT KERMEEN

Ex­cit­ing sprinter Car­ni­val may not be able to mend bro­ken bones but Kevin Hughes is con­fi­dent she will be able to lift the spir­its of her proud owner.

In her big­gest test to date, Car­ni­val has run a blis­ter­ing time and held off a qual­ity field of sprint­ers to win the Group III $100,000 Lin­dauer Ste­wards Stakes at Ric­car­ton on Wed­nes­day.

Hughes, who trains in part­ner­ship with wife Pam, said the vic­tory meant a lot to them but it was ded­i­cated to Dame Wendy Pye.

She races Car­ni­val, in part­ner­ship with her hus­band Don­ald, but could not be at Ric­car­ton be­cause of a badly bro­ken leg suf­fered ear­lier in the week.

‘‘I’m sure that will make her feel a hell of a lot bet­ter,’’ Hughes said.

The Pyes also bred the speedy mare who now has four wins from just eight starts. The vic­tory was sat­is­fy­ing for the Hughes’ who set Car­ni­val for the race months ago.

Car­ni­val, rid­den by Sam Col­lett, had to work early to sit out­side leader Pass­ing Shot but out­toughed the north­ern vis­i­tor to win by a head.

Kevin Hughes was con­fi­dent the tough mare would keep fight­ing all the way to the fin­ish. He had given Col­lett in­struc­tions to not gift Pass­ing Shot a soft lead.

‘‘I knew she would wear him down. She’ll never quit,’’ Hughes said of Car­ni­val.

The re­sult was a sur­prise to some but not to book­mak­ers and pun­ters who kept Car­ni­val safe at

$5.50 in the fi­nal field mar­ket and

$6 on the tote.

She clocked 1:08.06 for the 1200 me­tre trip.

Pass­ing Shot held on for sec­ond ahead of a fast fin­ish­ing Ki­na­gat.

Car­ni­val, a four-year-old Show­cas­ing mare, will be aimed at the $250,000 Group I Tele­graph Hand­i­cap on Jan­uary 20 at Tren­tham.

Sta­ble­mate Son Of Zac will also be at Tren­tham. He will con­test the Group III Welling­ton Cup (3200m) on the same day as the Tele­graph.

Car­ni­val’s vic­tory was also a lift for the Hughes’ who suf­fered a bit­ter blow in the lead up to Cup week. Maybe Mi­ami, who was set to run in Wed­nes­day’s big mile, is side­lined with a ten­don in­jury.

Car­ni­val’s Ste­wards suc­cess was a pop­u­lar win at Ric­car­ton where the Hughes’ are well re­spected amongst lo­cal train­ers.

● Two races ear­lier, track spe­cial­ist Heni was a win­ner at Ric­car­ton for the fifth time in her now nine win ca­reer.

The Mike Bres­lin-trained mare was an eye-catch­ing two and a half-length win­ner of the Group III

$80,000 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breed­ers Stakes (1400m).

Heni, a seven-year-old Towkay mare, brought up her first black­type vic­tory in the same race that gave her the first Group plac­ing of her ca­reer last sea­son.

That race was won by the now de­ceased First Serve and on Wed­nes­day her train­ers, Michael and Matt Pit­man, fin­ished sec­ond with Mon­toya Star.

The race was de­layed sig­nif­i­cantly after Morse Code broke through the gates and gal­loped around to the win­ning post.

Mean­while, last sea­son’s cham­pion ap­pren­tice Sam Weather­ley has notched the first cen­tury of his promis­ing ca­reer.

The Mata­mata-based ap­pren­tice lost his claim with his 100th vic­tory. It came aboard Kolonel Kev – a for­mer north­erner who was hav­ing his first start for Terri Rae.

The six-year-old Darci Brahma geld­ing was a half-neck win­ner in a rat­ing 85 over 1400m. Weather­ley brought up win 99 in the first of the day with the Pit­man-trained Pip­i­ana and 101 came in race seven aboard Noth­ing Triv­ial to give him a third vic­tory.

PHOTO: RACE IM­AGES

Car­ni­val (cen­tre) fights off Pass­ing Shot (in­ner) and Ki­na­gat to win the Group III Lin­dauer Ste­wards Stakes.

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