Ralph rapt with club fa­cil­i­ties

Waikato News - - Home Heating - Colin Thorsen

Stephen Ralph’s team quickly reap­ing the ben­e­fits from the ex­cel­lent train­ing fa­cil­i­ties avail­able at Waipa Rac­ing Club.

The for­mer Pukekohe and Te Rapa trainer com­menced leas­ing 14 boxes off the club amonth ago, shar­ing half the sta­ble (next to Keith Hawtin’s sta­ble) with Joe Wal­dron, who has three horses and is build­ing his team.

The swim­ming pool com­plex has been a god­send for Ralph’s 14 horses cur­rently in work, es­pe­cially Thun­der Down Un­der who re­turned from a stint rac­ing in Aus­tralia with sore feet.

There was no such prob­lem for the four-year-old bay horse at Te Rapa on Satur­day.

In the hands of jockey Jor­dan Na­son, Thun­der Down Un­der won the Munns the Man’s Store 1400 Rat­ing 75, pay­ing $45.40 win and $9.20 place, by a head from Cal­lig­ra­phy (Sam Weather­ley) with two and a half lengths back to third placed He’s Cava­lier (Re­becca Scott).

“The team has set­tled in great at their new sta­ble com­plex,” says Ralph.

“We love it here in Te Awa­mutu, the rac­ing per­son­nel are very help­ful, the train­ing tracks are ex­cel­lent, the jump­ing fa­cil­i­ties are very good and the jump out ev­ery fort­night is good for our team.”

Ralph also sad­dled up Thenames­bond to win the Waikato Hur­dles at Te Rapa.

The game plan for Thenames­bond was ex­e­cuted to per­fec­tion by jockey Will Gordon.

The hardy jumper was urged to put the pres­sure on his ri­vals a long way from home in the PJR Por­ritt Sand­spon­sored fea­ture by the geld­ing’s rider. It proved the win­ning of the race.

“I wanted to get the oth­ers off the bit a long way out and turn it into a real stay­ing test,” says Ralph.

“Will man­aged that per­fectly, full credit to him. When he started rid­ing pretty hard down the back I thought good on you, the horse can stay.”

Although Thenames­bond was headed three flight from home, his re­serves of stamina came into play and he came back strongly to de­feat the long­shot Yar­darm and Ooee.

Twice suc­cess­ful on the flat, Thenames­bond has now won seven times over hur­dles.

Last win­ter he was suc­cess­ful in his de­but over the big fences at Te Aroha.

Ralph trav­els 35 min­utes each way ev­ery morn­ing to Waipa Rac­ing Club from his Te Kowhai prop­erty. From 91 starts this sea­son, Ralph has pro­duced eight win­ners, three sec­onds and five thirds for a stake of $149.950.

He cur­rently sits third in the premier­ship jump­ing train­ing stand­ings.

His ca­reer to­tal of wins is 87 from 1116 starts.

LAST start win­ners at Te Rapa, Thenames­bond (left) and Thun­der­dow­nun­der with trainer Stephen Ralph (right), his part­ner Me­lanie Sut­ton and the Ralph fam­i­lies’ far­rier for the past 20 or more years, Brian Cave.

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