May 2022

Breeding Quinella for Hunter

Bruce Stewart

7th May 2022

Wyndham breeder Ian Hunter has been racing horses for a long time and today at Ascot Park in Invercargill he quinellaed a race for the first time.

“I can only recall having two horses starting in the same race once. That was at Wyndham (2004). Delcola won and The Last Sonofafella finished last. They both carried quite a bit of money.”

Andy Hall back to winning form for Nathan Williamson

Two of the progeny of Delcola provided Hunter with the dream result today, with Andy Hall trained and driven by Nathan Williamson beating his younger half-brother Port Pegasus (Brian Norman/Mark Hurrell) by a length and a half.

“It’s the optimum result for a breeder.”

There was some relief around Andy Hall’s win after his form had dropped away and Williamson had struggled to get him to run up to his potential.

“He went good right up until Omakau where he ran second to Sundee Son and had a couple of bummers after that. So we turned him out and brought him back, and it looks like he’s back to his old self. He’s one of those horse that doesn’t carry any fat. He’s a bit like myself (laughter).”

Back to the birdcage

Both Andy Hall and Port Pegasus are out of the Chiola Cola mare Delcola which won six races, five  for Wyndham trainers Megan Irvine and Ivan Gutsell. Her first win was for Tony Barron.

As a broodmare she’s had outstanding success, leaving the winners of thirty four races. But in recent seasons she hasn’t had a whole lot of luck.

“She had a rupture five or six years ago and Andy Hall was her last foal up until that stage, until we bred a couple through ET including Port Pegasus. I’ve also got a filly by Creatine (Del’s Creation). Since then we haven’t had too much luck with Embryo Transplant. The mare gets in foal okay but when the transfer happens it doesn’t take with the recipient mare. This year because she’s been doing such a good job we’ve put her back in foal (Creatine) and left her to carry it. She’s at home and I’m watching her closely. It’s a bit of a last resort as she’s twenty years old now.”

Delcola was named Southland Broodmare of the Year in 2020 with Splash Cola being her best progeny winning thirteen races.

Hunter is currently breeding from two of Delcola’s daughters, Suncola and Splash Cola.

‘She’s (Splash Cola) in foal to Creatine as well.”

Ox On a Roll

Bruce Stewart

7th May 2022

It’s been an amazing twenty four hours for Te Anau owner trainer Wayne ‘Ox’ McEwan.

Tommy Waterhouse got the ball rolling last night at Addington when he dominated a strong field and won the Listed Betavet Uncut Gems Classic at Addington for Southland trainer driver Kirstin Barclay, and the success continued today when Olly, owned and trained by McEwan, won at Ascot Park.

“The hangover told me about the first one and I dare say there’ll be another one tomorrow,” McEwan said.

Olly winning. One of two wins for Ellie Barron

Barclay took Tommy Waterhouse straight to the lead in last night’s Gems Classic and he held on to beat Anything Goes by a length and a quarter.

“Kirstin was impressed with the way he won it and so was I. In his last few starts from the stand down here he’s been giving them 20 to 30 metres and running on. So last night shows you what he can do from behind a mobile.”

Meanwhile in today’s Ascot Park Hotel Mobile Pace, driver Ellie Barron took Olly straight to the front and held on to beat Ngaroma by half a head with Northview Dance charging home for third a half a head away.

“It was his first front line draw in five or six starts so we thought he’d acquit himself well and he did. We’ve had him in front a bit lately at home and he seems to thrive on it so that was the plan today.”

Returning to the birdcage

Named in the sales catalogue as Jet Black, Ewan bought the horse at the 2020 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch for $15,000.

“I liked the way he looked and presented himself.”

McEwan has recently built a new stable block and put in a track in Te Anau and is currently working twelve horses with help from John Bennett and local Olivia King.

“We tend to get them running along and send them to Kirstin or Ken Barron.”

It was his nineth training success in the RBT (Ryal Bush Transport) colours. His first winner was Kacee Jane at Winton in September 2011.

Both Tommy Waterhouse and Olly were at 13-1 odds.

Crusher Relishes the Mobile

Bruce Stewart

14th May 2022

Crusher Collins can be more than a handful but when she comes out and wins like she did at Winton today, trainer Lyndon Bond is prepared to forgive all other misdemeanours.

“I’ve just tried to keep her quiet because she’s a growly old tart. It was great that the Winton Club put on the mobile for the unruly trotters. It’s awesome to pick one up. You don’t get them programmed down here that often,” he said after the eight year old mare in the hands of Sam Ottley powered home down the middle of the track to win the Murray Gray Memorial Mobile Trot.

It was the mare’s eighth win and Bond says Crusher Collins is in her last season of racing. She’ll return to her owners Bevan and Keith Grice who will match her with a stallion.

“We’re going to get her first foal. That’s the deal with the Grice’s.”

Crusher Collins out wide beating Afterburner

Meanwhile Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson is over the moon after scoring a double at Addington last night.

Williamson’s run started when Master Lavros broke. Giant trotter Andy Hall carved his way through a gap in the inside and won by a head.

“The gap was probably going to come on the outside of the leader anyway. I was really pleased with him. He likes it when the speed is on. Any stop start affairs he doesn’t really like. He’s got another run in a fortnight and then he’ll have a bit of a break too.”

Sand Wave completed the double when he won the Listed $50,000 Garrards Sires Stakes Magnifique, beating Cyrus by a length after leading most of the way.

“He’s developed into a lovely wee horse. I thought there’d be a bit of speed early, which there was. Matty (Williamson) won the battle for the front, and I thought Cantfindabetterman (driven by Matty) had used a bit of petrol and would be looking for a trail and he was, so it worked out well,” Williamson said.

It was the horse’s eighth win and he’ll have a short break before returning to the stable with his main target the New Zealand Derby to be run at Addington in December.

Wolfie Gets 200

Bruce Stewart

14th May 2022

Gore trainer Tony ‘Wolfie’ Stratford notched up a milestone at Winton today when Betterthanarocket won his maiden race. It was Stratford’s 200th winner.

“That’s a bit special,” he said after the race.

Betterthanarocket warming up for Brad Williamson

In the small field driver Brad Williamson slotted the horse into the one one and he let down nicely to beat favourite Foveaux Strait by three quarters of a length.

“He had a lovely run and was beautifully driven by Brad. I’ve had a bit to do with him this time round and I think he’s got a future.”

Tony Stratford leading back his 200th winner

Stratford’s other runner in the race was the more fancied Tuneinsportsfans which ran home nicely for fourth.

“He got back on the markers, and they ran home in 57 (seconds) on a wet track so he went well. He’s got a bit to learn.”

Betterthanarocket is owned by the Flashing On Syndicate which includes Ross Cleland, Paul Matheson and Sid Breen.

The four year old is out of the Christian Cullen mare Trendy’s Rocket which left five foals of racing age all of which have qualified. The mare’s best winner was Santanna’s Rocket which won six races for Sid Breen and another three in Australia. She also left Cheddar Made Beta the winner of seven races.

His first winner was Idle Meadow at Wyndham in March 1994. The Meadow Roydon gelding was at odds of 27-1, similar to Betterthanarocket’s winning odds today.

Stratford’s best season to date was 2018 when he trained twenty four winners, including War Machine, Especial and War Admiral.

In twenty eight years Stratford has handled some nice horses.

“Le Sol won $110,000 as a two year old and he got beaten by a pencil line in the Sires Stakes Final. That year the race was worth $300,000. He was a super horse and Monaghan won the Sapling Stakes.”

Pulp Fiction was another of his good horses. He won twelve races including two Riverton Cups.