March 2022

Sand Wave Rolls On

Bruce Stewart

5th March 2022

Both trainer and owners acknowledge that it’s pretty hard for a horse to win five straight, but that’s what Sound Wave achieved at the Riverton meeting at Winton yesterday when he impressively took out the second heat of the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes series.

Sand Wave and Nathan Williamson warming up

The race was a step up for the Bettor’s Delight colt with Cantfindabettorman and a handful for Canterbury three year olds up for the challenge.

Trainer driver Nathan Williamson settled Sand Wave back to the rear early as Cantfindabettorman sped to the lead for driver Matty Williamson.

Inside the last 1000 metres Williamson managed to get a tow into the race on the back of an improving Mossdale Ben. With the small field and hot pace Williamson was able to sit quietly for as long as he liked, and it wasn’t until the field balanced up that he peeled Sand Wave out to the middle of the track. Just as Mossdale Ben looked to have the race in hand, Sand Wave dug deep, getting the deciding strides in to win by half a head from Mossdale Ben with a neck back to Street Hawk.

“I was concerned about the quality of the opposition, but he did a good job to run them down,” Williamson said after the run.

The winning time for the 1609 metres was 1-55.1 with Sand Wave privately timed to run his last 800 metres in 54.4.

Sand Wave (6) getting the better of Mossdale Ben

Returning to the birdcage after win number six

As the winner of both heats of the series Sand Wave is ineligible to start in the series again.

“I’m going to have to map something out before the final and I’m not sure what. The Supremacy will come round soon enough. He’ll have a wee freshener for a couple of days, and we may have a look at a Country Cups race or go further up country.”

Winning connections

Today’s win was the horse’s sixth from eleven starts. He’s raced by the Nine Three Syndicate, Chris Alcock and Nude @ Ten Syndicate, each owing a third share.

The Nine Three Syndicate was put together by local lawyer Nic Popham, the aim being to get a yearling at last year’s national sales in Christchurch.

“It didn’t happen, and we walked away a bit demoralised with our tail between your legs. You put in a lot of effort to get the group together, get the money and then not get anything,” he said.

After the sale Williamson and Popham’s father-in-law, bloodstock agent Pete Lagan were charged with the task of uncovering a young horse for the group to buy and race.

They found Sand Wave which was bred and trained by Ashburton trainer Simon Adlam. He’d qualified the horse as a two yar old at Ashburton behind quality types in Akutu and Bollinger.

Williamson travel to Ashburton to trial the colt knowing he was by Somebeachsomewhere who had a reputation of leaving horses that can be highly strung.

“Nathan has said how placid he’s been all along, being by Somebeachsomewhere and a colt. He takes everything in his stride and doesn’t focus on anything else.”

To get to the asking price, Williamson had to get Pembrook Playboy’s owner Chris Alcock to come on board andto  also include the Nude @ Ten Syndicate.

“Fortunately, the money we paid for Sand Wave matched. It worked out perfectly. We all have different shares, but all get the same enjoyment. They’re already talking about getting another horse, so you just have to remind the new ones that it’s not always like this (laughter).”

He said racing the colt is reaching wider than just a group of friends.

“A lot of the wives, girlfriends and children were here today. Some of the boys are away on a fishing trip. The wives and girlfriends weren’t that keen for a start, now they’re front of the photos.”

Popham says having a quality three year old brings he added pressure of offers from buyers.

“The offers have started to come in for him which is not surprising, but when you’re in such a big group those offers  (boiled) down to some of the small (ownership) percentages don’t mean as much. It would have been a no brainer to sell him if you owned him yourself or four or five others.

On running a syndicate with varied members, Popham says it can have it’s complexities. “There’s a couple of work colleagues in the group. There’s a group from Christchurch who are family friends who saw him run at Cup Week but nothing since. They plan to be down for the Supremacy Final and we’ll try and make a day of it.”

Popham said whilst Sand Wave isn’t the biggest in stature, he’s filled out since coming south as a young horse.

“He was a very small horse. Justin Evans (commentator) always talks about wee Sand Wave but when you look at the horse now, he’s not as small as he was, and he’s filled out. Having that trip away (Cup Week) and racing some of the older horses has probably been the making of him.”

A race that features on Williamson’s hit list every season is the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes which he finally won last season with Ragazzo Mach.

“That’s a realistic target for a local three year old but going to the likes of a Derby where you’ve got horses from the bigger stables is a lot harder.  The Derby is now in December so a lot can change in the next six months. I’ve been joking that we’ve been waiting for a slot holder to get in touch with us for The Race. I’m still waiting on the phone to ring, I could be waiting a while,” Popham said.

He added that when you have a horse like Sand Wave its important to  remain grounded. “You’ve always got to have dreams. A couple of years ago when Dad got into The Chosen One (Group One winning galloper) he joked about going to the Melbourne Cup and Derbys and trying to convince Mum in what he called investing in a galloper. He’s had the last laugh after winning a Group One and a couple of million dollars in stakes.”

With qualifying for April’s Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes done and dusted, its onto the next set of starts for Southland’s leading three year old.

“We’re very fortunate, and hopefully the run continues.”

Popham’s grandfather the late Henry Skinner won the 1991 Southern Supremacy with Handiboy which he trained with Alan Devery and he also trained and drove No Return to win the race in 1993. No Return ran second in the 1993 New Zealand Derby beaten by a neck by Mark Roy.

Sand Wave was one of five winners Williamson drove yesterday, a first time achievement, previously having driven four winners in a day, eight times.

Afterburner – one of five wins for Nathan Williamson

Charlie P, another Williamson winner

Winning connections of Charlie P

Watchlist another Williamson winner yesterday

Treacherous Gall wins on Debut

Bruce Stewart

5th March 2022

The trip south by Canterbury trainer Regan Todd with his two year old filly Treacherous Gall was satisfying on a number of levels.

The horse won on debut for local owners Dave Kennedy, who bred the filly, and his good friend Cleland Murdoch. Todd was also born and bred in Southland so winning races in his old stomping ground carries plenty of upside.

Treacherous Gall and Robbie Close warming up

To fit her for her debut at Winton yesterday Todd has taken the filly to three trials, the most recent at Rangiora nearly a month ago.

“I was a bit mindful of her fitness because she had eight days off after that trial and she hasn’t been anywhere. Hopefully she benefits from the run,” Todd said.

From a handy draw driver Robbie Close drove the filly forward and there she stayed, hanging on to beat Takeitout by a half a length with Micaitlen Denario a neck back in third.

“She did get a bit wound up today which she never does. But Robbie said when she got on the track she was perfect. It wouldn’t matter if she came from behind, she’s got a lot of speed.”

Treacherous Gall (2) winning

All three placegetters were by Captaintreacherous.

Todd said he was very happy with the run and the moderate time of 2-00.1 probably suited all starters.

“We don’t want to get too excited because we’ve got a big go next week. All these horses are going to improve for next week.”

The race he’s referring to is the $30,000 Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic run over 2200 at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park.

Treacherous Gall was bred by Kennedy, and she’s the first foal out of Bettor’s Delight mare Galleon Pleasure who is a full sister to quality filly Cheer The Lady.

Robbie Close, Treacherous Gall, Dave Kennedy and Cleland Murdoch

Feature Double for Todd and Close

Bruce Stewart

12th March 2022.

Woodend Beach trainer Regan Todd and stable driver Robbie Close achieved a back to back double at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today.

The Canterbury combination won with three year old Street Hawk, and again a race later they took out the Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic with locally owned Treacherous Gall.

Street Hawk’s run last weekend at the Riverton meeting at Winton was full of merit. He charged home for third in a race won by the talented Sand Wave.

Street Hawk warming up for Robbie Close

Prior to today’s race Close gave the Bettor’s Delight gelding a good strong warm up.

“Sprinting out of the gate was going to be the winning or losing of the race. He was a lot stronger out of the gate today. Every time he’s run from behind the mobile he’s got better and better,” Close said.

Street Hawk trailed leader Cantfindabettorman. As Cantfindabettorman began to struggle just before the home straight Close hooked Street Hawk off the inside running line and once he peeled off Mossdale Ben’s back he let down nicely. When Close released the ear plug Street Hawk showed a great turn of foot, winning by a length and three quarters from Mossdale Ben, with Mossdale Terry running third.

“It worked out perfectly and he got a perfect run. He’s always had the ability, but his gait and immaturity have let him down early on.”

Street Hawk getting a nice trail behind Cantfindabettorman with a lap to run

At the finish

Back to the birdcage

Winning rug on display

Street Hawk was purchased at the Auckland Sales in 2020 for $45,000 by Todd and he’s owned by Graham Beirne from Small Car World Limited, Glenys and Phil Kennard, and Graeme Hand.

Today’s win was his second, and he’s now qualified for the $50,000 Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day on Saturday 30th April.

A race later, Treacherous Gall won her second race in as many starts when she took out the two year old fillies feature.

Treacherous Gall warming up

“She’s thrived in the week she’s been down here. She just felt a lot more relaxed out there today. She was just flopping around and off the bit which is good at this stage and the trip away has done her the world of good,” Close said.

At Winton last week Close took the Captaintreacherous filly straight to the lead but in today’s $30,000 feature she settled well off the early pace before slotting into the one one. Just before flattening out for the run home Close hooked the two year old filly out to the middle of the track and she came home with a good turn of foot to beat favourite Micaitlen Denario by a length and three quarters.

“It was good to get a sit and show everyone how much petrol she’s got. She’s easy going and a nice pacer and as long as she stays healthy she’s in for a good season.”

Full noise at the finish

Back to the birdcage

Treacherous Gall is owned by Cleland Murdoch and her breeder Dave Kennedy. Kennedy has a good record in this feature, having bred the 2004 winner Absolutely Brilliant as well as Beaudiene Bad Babe in 2008.

Love On The Rocks Wins Autumn Cup

Bruce Stewart

12th March 2022

He can be a tricky horse to follow but Love On The Rocks beat horses today at Ascot Park that carried higher assessments, he showed he’s a genuine Country Cups horse.

Love On The Rock and Mark Hurrell winning the Autumn Cup

Driven by birthday boy Mark Hurrell the Terror To Love gelding began well and quickly slotted into the outside running line. When Hurrell asked Love On The Rocks to make his run he was carted four wide. But when he balanced for the run to the finish line he let down with a powerful sprint, holding his ground to beat Idealism with Tairlaw Toll running third.

“When he turns up, he races well. When the pace is on and he’s tucked away he has such a good finish and he’s raced super from the standing start,” said trainer Kirstin Barclay.

Love On The Rocks started second win favourite in what was an even field.

“His work during the week was good but you can’t go into these races confident because it was such an even field. Generally when he’s wound up he goes better but he’s always wound up. It’s a fine line.”

Back to the birdcage

Barclay had two other runners in the Country Cups feature with Chuckles finishing tenth and Paddyproudfoot who was having his first start since November running an encouraging fourth just three lengths from the winner.

“I was thrilled. He began well of thirty metres. Fitness got him. He was a wee bit flat footed round the bend. Provided he comes through today’s race we’ll get another win out of him soon.”

Joes Rock Enters Favourite Frame for Oaks

Bruce Stewart

19th March 2022

Although there’s still more than a month before Diamonds Day and the Group Two Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southern Oaks Final, Joes Rock has put her hand up as the filly to beat in the $50,000 final at Ascot Park.

Joes Rock warming up for Blair Orange

The Brett Gray trained three year old was super impressive when she came off the speed to beat seven rivals in the sixth heat of the series at Wyndham today.

“I always knew the ability was there. She just needed a bit of ironing out and a bit of ringcraft, but racing is bringing her on,” said winning driver Blair Orange after Joes Rock won her third race from ten starts.

From a wide draw Orange settled Joes Rock back in the field after Feelthejoy took up the role of pacemaker.

The filly was five lengths off Feelthejoy when the field turned for home. But once Orange released the ear plugs Joes Rock let down with an amazing burst of speed to hit the front twenty metres from the line, beating Dannemora by three quarters of a length.

“They ran hard early then backed it off. It was her speed that got her home. She’s a wee trick to sit behind but the ability is there. She just needs to grow up mentally. She just runs round a lot, but has speed and she can tough it out a bit.”

Joes Rock down the outside for Blair Orange

Orange thinks Joes Rock can also race competitively outside of the province. “The speed will take her a long way, but she just needs to get there mentally first.”

Her winning time of 1-53.5 was just .2 of a second off Watch Me Now’s three year old fillies track record.

Back to the birdcage

Joes Rock is owned by Robert and Sharyn Symon.

Winning connections

Meanwhile the Young Quinn Raceway and Southland record was broken by smart mare Darling Me, when she won the third heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series. Her time of 1-51.8 was the fastest ever recorded in the province for a mile, bettering Delightful Memphis’s previous record of 1-51.9 posted at Winton in March 2017. Kiwi On Show (1-52.2) previously held the Young Quinn Raceway record for the distance.

Darling Me heading to the swab box after a hot run

Hanna Found Key to Tairlaw Toll

Bruce Stewart

19th March 2022

There’s no doubting Kaiwera horseman Carl Hanna has found the key to Tairlaw Toll. It seems the rural lifestyle and one on one training has sparked a new lease of life in the seven year old gelding.

“Carl’s done an amazing job with him. It’s pretty unreal how well he can stay. All credit to Carl …… I didn’t think he could do what he has,” said driver Matty Williamson who reined Tairlaw Toll to a tough win in the $20,000 MLT Wyndham Cup today.

Tairlaw Toll heading out before the Wyndham Cup

I commented to Williamson when he was heading to the track today how big and strong the horse was looking and he said he’d been running massive races.

Warming up

He certainly lived up to his looks. After a positive drive by Williamson who led twice with the seven year old, he outstayed the large field to win by a length and a half from Idealism.

“He’s super tough. I thought we’d get round early after the leaders had a bit of a dual. I thought I’d over drive him rather than under drive him because he never seems to stop. If it came to the fight, he would win even though he’d done all the work.”

Tairlaw Toll ready to get the led back for Williamson with a lap to run

Close to the finish

Closer to the line

Returning

Winning connections

Hose down

Tairlaw Toll and trainer Carl Hanna

Tairlaw Toll is certainly in the winning zone at present, having won three of his last six starts.

“His mind is fresh and that shows in how much he’s enjoying his racing. He’s a happy horse and he’s racing that way.”

The gelding by Somebeachsomewhere was bred by Macca Lodge’s Brent and Sheree McIntyre in partnership with the Nelsons who raced the gelding’s dam Bonnie Lass.

“Most of the Somebeachsomewheres are speed horses but this fella is super tough.”

Tairlaw Toll will now be aimed at the $20,000 Southern Country Cups Final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park at the end of April. Bonnie Lass won the inaugural Southern Country Cups final in 2001.

Tairlaw Toll is owned by Hanna, his mother Pam Ashworth and stepfather Ross Rennie.

The winning time of 3-59.9 was only the second time a pacer has run a sub four minute time in the two mile feature. Franco Ledger’s time of 3-57.0 is still the race and track record for the distance.

Street Art Wins Debut

Bruce Stewart

19th March

Street Art was punted like a ‘good thing’ and the money landed in the pockets of the faithful when the Art Major three year old impressively won on debut for Wyndham trainer driver Craig Ferguson.

“I’ve always quite liked him. He was nice as a two year old but he just needed time to grow. We knew the best thing for him was going to be time,’ he said after Street Art easily won the Kubala Seeds Limited Mobile Pace on his home track.

Street Art warming up for trainer/driver Craig Ferguson

Street Art is the second foal out of the Mach Three mare Curragh’s Princess which won three races, and is a half sister to Estella Rose the winner of seven races.

“The mum had a bit of speed, and this fella feels like he could stay a bit. His full sister (Major Sweetart) had a bit of speed, but she went amiss.”

Ferguson settled the gelding sixth on the outside after the early rush. When Matty Williamson went to improve on Rightazz with just over a lap to run, Ferguson hooked out Street Art and urged him forward to take up the leader’s role. And there he stayed.

“He felt like he was cruising, and I was rapt with him today. When you go to the front you can dictate a bit. He was doing it pretty easy at the line.”

Street Art hooks out with a lap to run

Out on his own at the finish

The winning margin was three and a half lengths with Benji running second.

Back to the birdcage

Ferguson says Street Art won’t be aimed at the Southern Supremacy as he’s run out of time to qualify.

“We’ll just race him around. I feel he’s got a bit more in store.”

The Art Major gelding is owned by Wyndham Harness Racing Club President Bathan Muir and his wife Jane.

Jane represented New Zealand at the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the 400 metres.

Winning connections

Street Art’s winning time for the 2400 metre mobile was 2-58.1 with the last 800 metres run in 56.2, and last 400 metres in 26.9.

Meanwhile Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful recorded a stable quinella when Arnies Army got a well deserved win with stablemate Tartan Raider three quarters of a length away in second.

Arnie’s Army (80 beating stable mate Tartan Raider (5)

Returning with driver Mark Hurrell

The quinella pic!!

Miss Crazed Back to Winning Habit

Bruce Stewart

31st March 2022

Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson was not surprised to see Miss Crazed return to winning form at the Wairio Trotting Club meeting at Winton today.

Her form line was looking poor, but there were reasons.

“She went poor last start and when we investigated she had a virus. So we backed off and she’s come back like her old self,” said Phil.

Miss Crazed (13) winning by a nose at Wairio

“She’s a capable mare but she’s getting on a tough mark. Nothing is easy for her now. They had to trot 3-04 today which is a good trot.”

Returning

Miss Crazed is owned by Woodlands Stud and is by Crazed out of the Pegasus Spur mare Miss Pegasus who’s a daughter of champion mare Merinai.

“I’m pleased for them. She’ll probably go to the stud next year. I’d love to get a mile race for her because she’d have no problems going under two minutes.”

Miss Pegasus won nine races including seven for the Williamsons.

“She was a lovely mare too. This mare is not quite as good as her. Her size is a wee bit against her because when they’re that big it takes a while for them to mature.”

Bev Williamson, Kerryn Tomlinson and Phil Williamson with Miss Crazed

In today’s 2400 metre trot Miss Crazed was driven by Kerryn Tomlinson and she settled well off the early rush. When Don’t Ask improved three wide with 700 metres to run Tomlinson jumped on the back to get a cart home, but was left three wide inside the last 500 metres.

Leader Port Pegasus looked to be in for the win 50 metres short on the finishing line but Miss Crazed came with plenty of willingness to get up, and beat Port Pegasus by a nose.

It was the mare’s first win since winning on the grass at Wingatui at the beginning of December.

Meanwhile Allamericanlover added to the list of candidates for next month’s Southern Belle Speed Series Final when she won her mile in a respectable 1-53.0.

Allamericanlover winning for Ellie Barron

Winning salute

The four year old who is trained by Steve and Amanda Telfer brought respectable metropolitan form south and in the hands of the stable’s junior driver Ellie Barron she proved too strong for Mabalene.