June 2022

Chiropractor Helps Only One Way

Bruce Stewart

6th June 2022

There’s no doubting Only One Way’s ability, but it’s been about managing his soundness. But another win today at Ascot Park underlined not only his ability, but also the work of local chiropractor Tommy Beckett.

Trained for the majority of his career by Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson Only One Way ran third in his first start as a two year old in the Group Three New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes won by Enhance Your Calm.

Only One Way and Mark Hurrell winning at Ascot Park today

Williamson won five races with the Majestic Son gelding and the horse had one start for Regan Todd before Kirstin Barclay took over training him in March.

Since being with Barclay he’s won a further three races and has run two minor placings in seven starts.

Barclay said, “Tommy plays a big part in helping him. He comes and sees him before he races. The horse gets a bit sore in his shoulders and Tommy sorts that out. He can normally tell me when the horse is right. He’s been right on the mark because he said he was pretty good for today’s race.”

Winning salute

She is also managing a hock issue.

“He’s got a degeneration in his hock so it’s just a matter of how long we can keep him sound for. He’s got the motor to go a fair way, but his issues are going to hold him back unfortunately. Being at the beach, working in a straight line and walking in the water is helping that but it’s going to be an ongoing problem. He loves it out at the beach, and we’ve just started riding him as well. When the weather gets a bit warmer, we’ll be able to get out a bit deeper which will also help.”

Barclay says the rating system has been good, allowing the gelding to start in Southland for most of his starts.

“It’s been good up until now, but he’s run out of options so he’s going to have to go back up to Addington. If we can manage his problems, he’s got quite a future.

Eyretime Wins Bluff Cup

Bruce Stewart

6th June 2022

Swimming has undoubtedly helped American Eyretime turn a corner.

The four year old mare qualified at Ashburton in April 2019 as a two year old for her breeder David Thompson. Underlining her potential, she finished behind quality fillies Spellbound and Stylish Memphis.

In September 2019 she was driven in a trial by Canterbury trainer Terry Chmiel and was purchased shortly afterwards by her current owners Robert and Sharyn Symon.

American Eyretime warming up for trainer driver Craig Ferguson

She had a handful of starts for Chimel without winning before she headed south to Brett Gray’s stable where she won once, before heading to Craig Ferguson’s Young Quinn Raceway stable from where she’s gone on a three start winning roll.

“She seems to be really happy in the pool. She’s trying a bit harder and finding the line really nice. It’s helped by just not jogging her on the track and we only hopple her every now and then. Most of her work is done in the pool so there’s no pressure on her legs and she’s happy doing that,” Ferguson said after her fourth win today.

In today’s feature Ferguson settled American Eyretime three back on the outside. With 350 metres to run he peeled her off the back of Wrecking Ball and she let down nicely in the middle of the track to beat The Big Lebowski by a length and three quarters with Pay Me Speedy running third three quarters of a length back.

“I probably went a wee bit sooner than I would have liked but when I came out, she just cruised on by and hit the line nice. It felt like she had a bit left in store. She’s best with one shot at them and when they were going hard today. I knew that as long as I got a run, she’d be pretty hard to beat.”

American Eyretime (pink) coming down the middle of the track

Closer shot

Back to the birdcage

In her previous two starts American Eyretime has been a bit tardy at the start giving her driver and punters a few concerns.

“We had a pole on her and she didn’t like that, so I took it off her today and she was good as gold.”

Ferguson says the Tintin In America mare will be aimed at a $20,000 Winter Series race at the Forbury Park Trotting Club Meeting at Wyndham on 7th July.

“I think she’ll handle the step up (in grade).”

Stunin Upset at Ascot Park

Bruce Stewart

18th June 2022

After the first two races at Invercargill today were won by favourites, the following race provided the major blow of the  season with twelve start maiden Stunin Star winning at odds of 101-1.

It was the Stunin Cullen mare’s first run for new trainer Adrian Wohlers, having taken over from previous owner/trainer Richard Austin.

Driver Jeremy Douglas settled Stunin Star beyond midfield from her second line draw. At the five hundred the four year old was traveling, so as horses tried to improve Douglas made his move and Stunin Star cruised up to leader Chogi, holding on to win by a length from favourite Elouisa Dale which came late.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Jeremy. He’s an underrated driver. I’ve said to a number of people that’s there’s no-one better with a problem horse,” Wohlers said.

Prior to today’s start Wohlers made a number of gear changes, taking the overcheck off, adding an under check, taking off the tongue tie, adding a figure eight and bit lifter, taking the blinds off and adding fixed deafeners.

“I’ve been helping Ritchie for a couple of seasons and have been driving this mare. She’s got one bad problem. She won’t turn right, which can prove a bit awkward when they’re circling at the start. Ritchie said he’d have enough and was going to put her on Gravel House, and I said I wouldn’t mind having a go. I got her in great order, as fit as a buck rat and I’ve only had her for two weeks. So all credit to Ritchie,” said Wohlers.

Chiropractor Tommy Beckett has also done some work on Stunin Star.

“He’s been to her twice. She was very sore last week when he first came. He came this week, and she was a lot better.”

After seventeen years in the North Island working as an Orderly Supervisor at Waikato Hospital Wohlers has been back in the province for five years and now works at South Pacific Meats at Awarua. The job restricts his ability to train more than two horses at a time.

“You work ten hour days and time is half the problem. I don’t have the chance to develop young ones so that’s why I’ve concentrated on horses other people have given up on that could do with a change of scenery.”

So, at 101 to 1 was there any money to be made here?

“I’m not a betting man and didn’t have one cent on her but I did say to a number of people during the week that the mare was working unbelievably well and her recovery heart rate score was phenomenal. I thought if she went away and got a good trip she would get a wee bit of it but I didn’t expect her to go that good.”

The win was extra special for Wohlers as he inherited his late father Bert’s green and yellow colours.

“It’s always nice to win a race in Dad’s colours.”

The win would also bring back memories for race day sponsor Tom Kilkelly from Regent Car Court. He was a friend of Bert Wohlers and in days gone by he gave him a cameo role in the television commercial for his car yard that aired on local channel Mercury prior to the racing show.

Debutant Adds to Mare’s Excellent Record

Bruce Stewart

18th June 2022

Hidden Talent’s win at Ascot Park today chalked up another win for the progeny of Sundon mare Juliana. But the win had to withstand an enquiry.

Punters who backed Hidden Talent into favourite had to endure a few hairy moments when the three year old filly broke shortly after the start, losing considerable ground.

“Warming up she was a bit on edge, so it didn’t surprise me that she made that wee error. She’d never been to Invercargill, and she hadn’t seen all those things at the track before,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson.

She recovered well, latching onto the field and inside the final 400 metres let down nicely to win by a length and a quarter from second favourite Caen.

“I was pretty pleased with the way she equipped herself. She went between runners at the 800 and I was pleased with the way she handled that. She finished things off strongly which I knew she probably would.”

Williamson says Hidden Talent won’t be seen back at the track anytime soon.

“We’ll put her on ice for a couple of months and just work our way through winter and then look for an appropriate race later on. The Southland Trotting Oaks will be a target. I think she’s talented enough and deserves a chance. She just needs to strengthen up as she’s a little immature.”

Bred and owned by Keith and Bevan Grice of mid Canterbury Juliana has been a very good broodmare. Father Christmas the winner of twenty races – eleven in New Zealand and a further nine in Australia has had good success.

But arguably her best progeny is Dark Horse. Her career was significanty hindered by injury and she still won fourteen races. Other good winners for the mare have been Monty Python (15) and Sarah Palin (10).

In total the mare has left the winners of sixty eight races.

“She just keeps leaving horses with good ability and the Bacardi Lindy cross works. All these horses have a great bloodline because they can all run.”

Hidden Talent is a full-sister to Dark Horse and is raced by the Griffins Syndicate which has raced many of the other progeny from the mare.

“The syndicate gets good success but they’re never in any hurry and don’t put any pressure on the trainers. As a two year old this filly had the ability to compete, but it would have been the undoing of her. Dark Horse was very similar early days, but the syndicate never pushed or panicked me. They’re great owners.”

Later in the programme today Williamson trained and drove Hangin With Hector to his maiden win.

He secured the trail behind favourite Bobby Waterhouse and when asked to sprint Hangin With Hector was too sharp, winning by a length and a quarter.

“A real progressive wee horse. He was ready to race at Christmas time, but he pulled a muscle in his back end. We gave him six weeks off and worked him back. We were confident at his first start but it was a terrible day, and he didn’t handle the track. It was a pretty big run at his last start when Ollie (Kite) drove him, but he didn’t have too much luck.”

Williamson says there’s been a bit of buyer interest in the horse.

The gelding is out of Mach Three mare Dolly McD who has also fashioned an excellent record. Her winners include Bernie Winkle (57), Toby O’Gara (8) and Statham (6).

“Bernie holds an Australasian record for wins on one track (Mildura). This horse is very similar to him. Not very big but he’s got good speed and is a genuine racehorse.”