Morning Briefing

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Winter Cup for Floral Art

Winter track specialist Floral Art (Road To Rock) is set for a step up in grade after revelling in the testing conditions at Trentham on Saturday. The Peter Didham-trained six-year-old registered a first win since October 2019 when taking out a Benchmark 74 contest on a track rated a Heavy 11, prompting connections to consider another try in stakes company. “It was a great day and particularly satisfying to see Floral Art back to her best,” Didham said. “She had gone a good race for fifth first-up last month and although I was a little concerned she might still be one race short, she struck the track conditions she loves and just flew home to win. Her recent form reflects a couple of poor decisions I made last year chasing a start in the Winter Cup. We went down south and struck a dry track every time she ran. She tried her heart out, but she just isn’t anywhere near her best on that type of track. She had a good long break and has come back well so we’re going to have another crack at the Winter Cup with her.”


Tauranga Classic aim for Far Site

Didham is also keen to see Far Site (Makfi) tackle stakes company with the Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (Listed, 1400m) at Tauranga in a fortnight the four-year-old’s immediate option after winning on Saturday. “It was nice to see Far Site winning again as she can be a pretty tricky mare, but she has a fair amount of ability,” he said. “She is raced by Graeme and Ali Andrew, who purchased her off about a year ago for $4,500. That is her third win for me and it came with a $20,000 Pearl Series bonus which is a great result for everyone. She came home and licked the bowl clean on Saturday night so I might take a punt and take her to Tauranga for the stakes race there at the end of the month. If you look at her form, she has been very unlucky on more than one occasion, so if we could get some black type with her, it would be the icing on the cake.”


Take The Deel grants trainer’s birthday wish

South Canterbury trainer Len Stewart got his birthday wish when his stable star Take The Deel (Dundeel) stormed to victory in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Waimate Cup (2200m) at Timaru on yesterday. Stewart, who began his association with racing as a 14-year-old riding in saddle trots in the Waikato in the 1940s, will turn 89 tomorrow and has found a new lease on life with the hardy five-year-old. The $1,200 purchase took the step up to open company with aplomb as he produced a strong staying effort in the hands of Terry Moseley to make it three wins in his last four starts. “I wasn’t really expecting it today as I had my concerns about the tricky track tripping him up,” Stewart said. “In the end he was very strong at the finish. We knew he had the bloodlines, but it was always a matter of getting his legs to move fast enough. He can be pretty ignorant around home, but the penny seems to have dropped now and I’m hoping he can keep improving even more.”

Winners flow for smiling Joe

Having recently been named Apprentice Jockey of the Year at the Auckland Racing Club awards, Joe Kamaruddin notched his 29th success for the season aboard Palm Springs (Super Easy) in the opening event on the card at Te Rapa on Saturday. The Malaysian-born jockey has proved a revelation in recent weeks, booting home a winning treble at New Plymouth on Thursday off the back of a double at Ellerslie three days earlier. Kamaruddin, 28, who lives with his partner Nardia Zainal, who also works for Te Akau Racing, has settled in well to the New Zealand way of life. “Every couple of days we video call our families,” Kamaruddin said. “I am successful as a jockey now, and my mum and dad and brother and sister are very happy for me. I ride up to 13 horses in work in the mornings for Te Akau and there is no stress. I like the people I work with because they are happy and I enjoy seeing them every morning. It is a very good team spirit and I like the job. David Ellis (Te Akau Principal) is very good because he’s helped me with everything, talks to me and helps me to understand. We are very happy here in Matamata, it is a good life. From a long time ago, I was dreaming to be a jockey and now I am here and my dream has come true, so what I am thinking now is that we want to stay in New Zealand.”