Weather, fine early, showery later; track, heavy (11), rail, out 5m from 1400m to crossing, 3m for remainder.
Race 1: Southern Motor Group, $11,000, rating 85, 1600m.
Amun Ra won stylishly. He trailed on the inner close to the pace and Lee Callaway angled him three wide entering the straight. Amun Ra forged to the front at the 300m and came away by three and quarter lengths. The favourite Whispering ran on from last in the seven-horse field at the 600m for second, shading The Kraken, News Flash and Sunset Girl. The Kraken disputed the pace outside Morgan Bet and News Flash held his position throughout. Amun Ra is among the team being campaigned in the South Island by Waiuku trainer Sean Cameron, who races the Ustinov 6yr-old with F E Lockey.
Horse to follow: Amun Ra.
Race 2: Rural Lifestyle and Residential Experts, $11,000, rating 75, 1400m.
Absolute Gold revelled in the ground to win. “She was never on the bridle at Invercargill and seemed to like the looser ground today,’’ said Anderton.
The Gold Centre mare, ridden by Samantha Wynne, set a leisurely pace and dashed away to win by two and a half lengths, sprinting her last 600m in 36.74.
Taieri Gem fought on for second after trailing the leader with two and quarter lengths to What’s Up, who dwelt at the start but recovered quickly to outside the leader. There was a neck to Willow, who battled on after sharing the second line.
Horse to follow: Absolute Gold.
Race 3: Carefree Stables Maiden, $10,000, 1200m.
Free And Easy won going away by three quarters of a length after giving the leader a start of five lengths at the 350m. Ridden by Terry Moseley, she had settled eighth on the inner. A half sister to Sureasyouwereborn, the 4yr-old grey mare by Ifraaj from Grey Swallow is trained at Tapanui by Nikki and Barrie Blatch. “ We bought her as a yearling at a Karaka mixed sale after Sureasyouwereborn was showing promise for us,’’ said Nikki.
Sureasyouwere had then won a maiden race at Riverton. The Lucky Unicorn mare carried on to win the 2014 Otago Cup and Dunedin Cup the following year. She will be bred from this spring.
Roc Leone fought on for second after taking a clear lead at the 700m. There was two and a quarter lengths to Drumstorm, who ran on late from the rear. Sekatia was a length and quarter back fourth after racing handy with Poilu at the head of the others.
Horse to follow: Drumstorm.
Race 4: Tobique @ Clearview Park Stud, Timaru, $10,000, rating 65, 1200m.
Belle Hope triumphed in her first start from the North Taieri stable of Steven Prince for the In Snow We Trust and Chasing The Dream syndicates, comprising about 20 persons. Several of the members were in the Bonnie and Clyde syndicate who raced Chaparella, winner of the 2014 Gore and Dunedin Guineas when trained by “Snow” Prince.
Belle Hope, who had not raced since January 1, was ridden by Masa Tanaka. The syndicates leased the Falkirk mare through Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie, who won a race with her on a heavy track at Te Teko 12 months ago.
Belle Hope led from the 1100m and held on by a neck from Epic Dreamer, who ran on well along the inner from second last at the 350m. Flicka Gold, who was handy three wide, held on for third, a neck back with three parts of a length to Savason, who did well in his first race close on 12 months. Doppelbanger, who was tailed off last, came along the inner for fifth.
Horse to follow: Epic Dreamer.
Race 5: Pure Champion at Willow Glen Maiden, $10,000, 2200m.
Heel Be Jake made it a one-horse race. The 4yr-old Jimmy Choux – Frills gelding is trained by Kenny Moore (the owner) and Paul Harris, who also produced the third placed Acedecee. Heel Be Jake raced keenly at times in fifth place on the outer in the hands of Kylie Williams. He came to the fore near the 200m and cleared out by a five and a half lengths. Colour Me Red stuck on solidly for second, half a length clear of Acedecee, who moved from mid-field to lead at the 500m. Keyboard Warrior was in a gap of five and a quarter lengths fourth after disputing the pace with Power Punch.
Horse to follow: Heel Be Jake.
Race 6: Balmoral Estate Residential Sections Outram, $10,000, rating 65, 2200m. Dowry Duty continued the run of success for trainers Kenny Moore and Paul Harris.
The daughter of Roc de Cambes – Arena Pride has won three of her last five starts since joining the stable. Dowry Duty (Kylie Williams) trailed handy on the outer, disputed the lead at the 350m and held out Slammer by half a neck. Slammer, who had raced handy, finished four lengths clear of the favourite Smiling Assassin, who made ground from eighth. There was a nose to The Energizer (sixth inner) and a similar margin to The Young Pretenda, who made the pace.
Horse to follow: Dowry Duty.
Race 7: List With Ray and Alison Kean of Southern Wide, $10,000, rating 65, 2200m.
Squizzy confirmed his liking for heavy ground at Wingatui with a last stride win. Squizzy, trained by Noel Graham for a large group of owners, had his other win in similar conditions last season.
Squizzy was second last in the 12-horse field until the 600m and charged home to win by a nose. Hilarious was game in defeat. She was three wide early and outside the leader Bullitt from the 1200m. Additup was half a length back third after showing up three wide near the lead at the 500m from fifth in the running. Chica Rapida made ground for a close fourth, ahead of Southern Cool and Franconi.
Horse to follow: Hilarious.
Race 8: NZB Insurance Series Race, $12,000, fillies and mares, 1400m.
Drama preceded the win of Montserrat. A false start was inadvertently declared by starter Russell McAra as the field was being dispatched. Juliette, who had been fractious, dislodged her rider Shankar Muniandy in that dispatch. Polly Parker could not be restrained when circuiting the track with the riderless Juliette. Both horses were late scratched. She’s Fun was tightened, clipped a heel and lost her rider, Samantha Wynne near the 200m in take two of the event when racing between Montserrat and Advent. An inquiry into the incident was opened and adjourned by stewards until evidence could be heard from Wynne, who was sent to hospital for observation.
Montserrat is trained by Brian and Shane Anderton for Pat Kennedy, and his wife, of Christchurch. Kennedy bred Montserrat, who is out of Drom, an unraced Johar mare. Pat Kennedy raced Derrydonnell, winner of the 1988 Australian Grand National Steeplechase when trained at Wingatui by the late Bryan Kennedy. Montserrat (Jacob Lowry) came from seventh at the 600m and won by three and three quarter lengths from Advent, who showed up wide near the lead from the 500m. There was three quarters of a length to Highland Lady, who raced outside the leader Hadiya. Raisethestars made ground for fourth in a gap of six lengths, ahead of Mahana and Peggy Stewart, who was closest at the finish.
Horse to follow: Highland Lady.
Race 9: Ladies’ Day at Wingatui on June 2nd, $10,000, rating 65, 1600m.
Finbarr justified his favouritism with a decisive win. The 3yr-old is trained by Gay Robinson, who races the Falkirk gelding with John Dooley. Finbarr (Shankar Muniandy) took a wide berth from his draw (13) and moved up from back in the field to dispute the lead at the 350m. He prevailed by three quarters of a length from Valetina Victoria, who ran on from sixth. Gipsyrocker ran on from well back for third in a gap of two lengths with half a length to Orepuki Lad, who had his chance.
Horse to follow: Gipsyrocker.