Morning Briefing

New Zealand Latest

Ten for Belardo

Former Haunui Farm shuttler Belardo (Lope De Vega) registered his tenth individual stakes winner when the Dean Wiles-trained Southern Warrior (2 c ex Cape South by Cape Cross) shocked his rivals in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) at Pukekohe. The two-year-old colt came from the back of the field to beat Zorro’s Revenge (Ferrando) by 0.3 lengths, with the pair pulling over five lengths clear of the third-placed Magna Memory (Magna Grecia). Purchased for just NZ$2,200 via the New Zealand Bloodstock National Online Yearling Sale, Southern Warrior is out of three-time winner Cape South (Cape Cross), making him a half-brother to New Zealand Group 2 winner Apostrophe (Tavistock). Belardo shuttled to New Zealand for six seasons, but did not return last year. The stallion stands at Bearstone Stud in Britain for a fee of £5,500 (approx. AU$10,600).


Late gamble brings black-type reward for Wiles

Dean Wiles said Saturday’s Champagne Stakes only came on the radar for Southern Warrior after he saddled the colt to be a promising fifth over 1200 metres on debut at Matamata on May 8. The son of Belardo produced an eye-catching late run from last that day, giving Wiles an inkling that the 1600 metres of New Zealand’s longest two-year-old race might be up his alley. “I just thought the Belardo factor might kick in today on a heavy track,” said Wiles, who was enjoying his second stakes win. “He had been working great. He’s only a little pony, but jeez he can run. I knew he’d get back to last, and I just thought he could skip through that wet ground. I didn’t even think about this race until that debut run at Matamata a couple of weeks ago. He got back last that day too and ran on really well. Everyone that’s ridden him has said that the further he goes, the better he’ll be. And then once the rain came this morning, I was quietly confident.”


Mary Shan all class at Pukekohe

The Andrew Forsman-trained Mary Shan (Almanzor) showed her class when she defeated Geldof (U S Navy Flag) by a comprehensive 5.5 lengths over 1400 metres at Pukekohe on Saturday. The victory was just reward for the three-year-old who had raced in stakes company for her last seven starts, where she finished no further back than sixth and was runner-up twice at Group 2 level. Forsman was satisfied with the result and will contemplate where to go next with the filly. “I think she probably does handle these conditions okay and she was the class horse of the field,” Forsman said. “There are a couple of options for her now in either Brisbane or Melbourne or she could just go to the paddock. She’s had a long season and has been up a while so we will sit down and work it out. She has been all around it [this campaign] with Molly Bloom being her nemesis and she would go to the paddock with multiple black type placings, although it’s just a shame she’s not a winner at that level but she will get there in time.” 


Heavy suits Highlighter

A strong tempo and heavy track conditions at Pukekohe Park on Saturday was the perfect winning combination for the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Highlighter (Shamexpress), as the talented mare comfortably beat Caitlyns Wish (Belardo) by 1.8 lengths in a 1100-metre event. Scott was delighted to see the mare earn her sixth career success, indicating time had been a positive for the rising eight-year-old. “We had high levels of confidence going into today, she was coming up really well this preparation,” he said. “Her trials and first-up run were really encouraging as she just peaked on her run the last little bit but she took good improvement from there. She can be a bit tardy away from the gates and she was that way today, but Triston [Moodley, jockey] showed good patience. He’s a three-kilo claimer which is a massive aid at this time of the year in the soft tracks, and he kept her balanced and didn’t panic. He did a great job. It was great to see this mare back in winning form, she’s a great advertisement for giving a horse time as she’s an older horse with relatively low starts. We’ve really reaped the rewards of longevity out of her.”


Spencer claims Trentham feature

Fresh off a seven-month spell, promising winter sprinter Spencer (Derryn) produced a stunning performance to win a Benchmark 75 (1200m) at Trentham on Saturday, beating Super Wraith (Super Easy) in the process. Winning jockey Lisa Allpress was impressed with the Erin Hocquard-trained gelding’s effort. “Erin is doing a super job as she has her horses in great condition and looking so well,” Allpress said. “I hadn’t ridden this guy before, but I went to the jump outs to ride a few and she was looking for a rider for him that day. He really impressed me the way he went so I asked to stick with him, and we got the result. He travelled well throughout, and I had to stick closer in after he drew barrier two, but when I asked him to go, he really kicked and beat a very nice field. I just think he’s a real little racehorse who doesn’t mind rain affected tracks, which he is going to get from now on.  Looking at his record he won over 1400 metres in his last campaign so the way he felt today I think he can certainly get over a little more ground.”


Change of fortune for Prince Alby 

A frustrating North Island campaign for Prince Alby (Sacred Falls) finally took a turn for the better with a determined victory in Saturday’s John Cryan (2200m) at Trentham. Prince Alby is trained and part-owned by Kelvin Tyler, who bought him for only NZ$3,000 as a yearling at Karaka in 2020. His 32-start career has now produced eight wins, six placings and more than $242,000 in stakes. “It’s good to get that win today, he probably deserved it really,” Tyler said. “He’s been running good races but just not getting a whole lot of luck. The Rotorua Cup was a hard race to watch – we think he probably should have won that race. But that’s racing. I’m not really sure what we’ll do with him now. We could put him aside, or we could have a look for another race for him. I haven’t thought too far beyond today at this stage, so it’s something to think about over the next few days.” 

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