Feature Wins to Chitura And One Apollo
Chitura raced at the Central Southland Raceway on Saturday for the second time, recorded her second win and this time her owner, retired Wellington Accountant Mark Law, was able to be there.
And it wasn’t just any win for the Steven McRae-trained four-year old, it was the $20,000 final of the Southern Belle Speed Series for mares. The $13,200 first prize boosted her stake earnings to $25,400, placing her 11th on the order of entry for the four-year old Diamond.
“The plan was to win money for the Jewels,” Law said, “she had a cold and went six weeks without a race, that allowed others to catch up with her. It was a magnificent training effort by Steven and the team. She’ll have to keep winning though, it doesn’t take the Auckland horses long to win more.”
Drawn one from the outside of the second line, Chitura was settled back by driver Craig Thornley before joining the three wide line passing the 1200. Parked three-wide from the 800, Thornley was able to give her a brief respite in the one-one just before the turn. When asked to sprint at the top of the straight, she surged to a decisive two and three-quarter length win in 1:54.4, home from the half in 56.8.
Chitura is out of 2006 Southland Oaks victor Zitura, second in her only Winton start. Zitura also left Kitura who scored her one and only New Zealand win at Winton in December 2016. Still owned by Law, Kitura is now with Nathan Turvey in Perth and has won five of her 12 starts there.
Law said he chose Chitura’s sire Changeover because he loved the horse when he was racing. Zitura went back to Changeover but missed. She has since left a colt by Gold Ace and Law is waiting for confirmation she is in foal to Vincent.
Although it is the first time Law has been on the Winton course, he is not a total stranger to the area having studied for his degree at Otago University.
Chitura and Craig Thornley winning the Southern Belle Speed Series Final from Sweet Mary – Photo Bruce Stewart.
After the win – Photo Bruce Stewart
The richest of the day’s three trotting events also went to a Canterbury-trained visitor when One Apollo picked up the $20,000 Aldebaran Park Super Gold Chip Final. Bred by Lex and Heather Williams, One Apollo is by the 2012-13 New Zealand Two Year Old Trotter of the year One Over Da Moon, also bred by the Williams. His dam is Anna Castleton.
We bred two of our best mares to him, Anna Castleton and Landora’s Pearl,” Lex Williams said of One Over Da Moon’s first venture as a sire. “We bought Ana Castleton for a broodmare, she has bred well. One Over Da Moon, is only available by frozen semen, he only had two mares the first year, missed the next and has got 13 yearlings. At the moment he is in Australia with Brent Lilley and will race next Sunday. He’ll be retired in July and become a full-time stallion.”
In the hands of Blair Orange, One Apollo found the lead early in the Super final and was never headed. He stopped the clock in 3:04.2, equalling Sky Commander’s 2015 three-year-old track record. At the time it was also the National record, lowered at Ashburton in 2017 by Honeys Son.
In his start prior to Winton, One Apollo had run fifth in the New Zealand Derby.
“We were happy with the Derby, he had to do a lot of work,” said Williams, “the Yearling Sale final and Jewels are the next big aims.”
One Apollo and Blair Orange beating Get Lucky – Photo Bruce Stewart.
Heading back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart.
Sponsors and winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart.
Third in the Gold Chip final was Full Noise, making the trotting events lucrative for the Baynes family. War Admiral had earlier won the Aldebaran Park Handicap and Big Iron the Murray Gray Memorial. Both are trained by Tony Stratford who was also in the sulky of Big Iron to record his first win as a driver since Flying Diamonds in March 2010.
War Admiral, raced by Kenny Baynes and his wife Jo, was driven by Samantha Ottley who didn’t rush the four-year-old early. Last till about the 1200, the pair then joined the three-line train to reach a midfield position across the top. With work to do turning in, Ottley still didn’t panic, but when she pulled the big square-gaiter off the back of runner-up Smokey Mac close to home, the acceleration was electric.
“The Jewels is the aim for him, he’ll probably go to Diamond Day next,” Stratford said, “Sam will be his driver right through now.”
Kenny Baynes looked in for a quinella in the opening event when his two runners, Richard The Third and Big Iron turned for home in front.
Richard the Third, half-brother to Springbank Richard had led for much of the trip but broke under pressure and fifth was his lot. However, Big Iron held together to score by a length.
The three year old is raced by Baynes Racing Limited comprising Baynes and his sister in law Penny. The company was formed to take over the mares belonging to the estate of Colin Baynes, Kenny’s father and Penny’s father in law.
The same day the company was registered in 2014, Knapdale Girl won at Alexandra Park and was the company’s first winner. It was the first outing with Colin’s colours registered to Baynes Racing. Later the same night, Knapdale Girl’s full brother Cool Son also won. They are out of Cool Yankee, the grand-dam of Big iron.