Karaka couple John and Carol Walker took special satisfaction out of yesterday’s Ellerslie win by two-year-old first starter Gravano.
As well as being members of the group that races the Roc De Cambes gelding, the Walkers have also had an indirect hand in the development of
the Byerley Park-trained youngster. John Walker is employed by Byerley Park owners Elias and Daniel Nakhle as the facility’s track manager, while
his wife’s duties include clocking of trackwork at the Karaka centre.
Yesterday they were on-course at Ellerslie to cheer Gravano home as jockey Sam Collett brought him down the outside for victory at odds of
$18. From his outside draw the Peter and Dawn Williams-trained gelding had no option but to travel wide and he produced a prodigious finishing
effort to claim the honours by half a length over the more fancied Rio Claro and longshot Good Lookin’ Gal.
“This is great,” enthused John Walker afterwards. “We used to train for Paul Wicks and his mates and they invited us to come in on this horse.
“It’s a real bonus too with Carol and I involved like we are with Byerley Park.”
Carol Walker was happy to bring trackwork students into the loop, having headlined Gravano in last Thursday’s Byerley Park trackwork report that
appeared in The Informant and online at www.theinformant.co.nz.
In a big weekend for previously unrevealed two-year-olds being pinpointed in The Informant’s trackwork service, Saturday’s $45
Castletown Stakes upsetter Stella Di Paco was also headlined in the Tuesday report from Matamata.
It’s now on the cards that Gravano and Stella Di Paco will clash in the season’s final black-type two-year-old race, the Ryder Stakes on July 25.
Co-trainer Stephen Autridge has nominated the Otaki feature as his Paco Boy filly’s next target, while yesterday Peter Williams suggested that
Gravano will follow the same path as his year older stablemate Niki Piki Milo.
“When Niki Piki Milo won first-up in heavy ground last winter, the Ryder Stakes looked the obvious next start and she won it,” Williams said.
“This horse has done a good job and while I don’t think he’s just a wet-tracker, if he comes through the run okay there’s no reason why he can’t
go to Otaki as well.”
Group 2 winning stallion Ego"s little sister is fast gaining on him after a tough win over 1600m at Ellerslie today in the Barfoot and Thompson Trophy.
Taken to the front by apprentice rider Rowena Smyth, Ready Steady was taken on and then headed by Captain Scott before showing tremendous courage and fighting back to win by a long head with a further two lengths back to third.
Purchased for $23,000 at last years NZB Horses In Training sale, the Perfectly Ready mare has been a big improver in the subsequent eleven months under the care of Byerley Park trainers, Peter and Dawn Williams. Since commencing racing in the Nakhle colours, Ready Steady has won three times and banked almost $40,000.
Daniel Nakhle tried to buy the mare no less than three times before being a case of third time lucky. Firstly as a yearling when she had to be withdrawn by Bluegables Farm with a back issue, secondly at the May mixed bloodstock sale when she was sold over his self imposed budget for $45,000 and then when close friend Andrew Seabrook, a big fan of Ego, did the bidding and finally secured the already stakes placed mare for the office bound Nakhle.
"Being a half sister to Ego and also having inspected her as a yearling several times, it surprised me she was winning on wet tracks" said an elated Daniel Nakhle. "She was far too good a mover so I purchased her with the intention of trying her on good ground and the master team of Peter and Dawn Williams have done an amazing job changing things around and working her out".
By leading USA stallion E Dubai, Ego stands alongside Iffraj and Showcasing at Haunui Farm on a very novel basis - free.
"The move to stand him for free has been widely appreciated by breeders around the country and the feedback on his first crop foals has been nothing short of outstanding" said Nakhle. "I already have over a dozen bookings for next season including from several first season breeders who really rate the Ego foals they have and breeders that are being referred by vets who have seen Ego foals. I even got a call from a stud master just to say how impressed he is with the three Ego"s he has on his farm".
"With Ego being out of a Redoute"s Choice mare, his foals have very solidly thrown to Danehill/Redoute"s Choice. Like Danehill, he has only left bays and browns, all very muscular and all with outstanding temperaments".
"In fact, Peter Williams came through the weanling barn when we were weaning foals and his top pick was the only Ego amoungst them!" beamed a delighted Nakhle who is contemplating a competition amongst breeders for the best Ego name, of which there will be no shortage of contenders.
In the meantime, Peter and Dawn Williams will work out the next start for the much improved Ready Steady who is relishing her good track racing and the step up in distance to a mile.
Byerley Park, owned by the Nakhle"s, was also represented by three other winners on the nine race Ellerslie card with Dufellforte making it a double on the day for the Williams partnership, Andnowurmine winning on debut for the inform Wallace stable and promising stayer Lion Red for Shaun Clotworthy.
Ego"s half-sister Ready Steady is keeping the family in the limelight with a stunning win at Matamata ten days ago. The five-year-old Perfectly Ready mare trained at Byerley Park by Dawn and Peter Williams beat a smart field in the R85 1600m to take her winning tally to four. Ready Steady had the race in control 100m out and won going away in a smart 1.34.1 for the 1600m. The win reinforces her trainers belief that she will go over more ground and her target is a 2100m race on the final day of the Auckland Carnival.
Ready Steady is owned by Byerley Park proprietors Daniel and Elias Nakhle who stand Group 2 Concorde winner Ego at Haunui Farm. In an initiative to give the horse every opportunity as a stallion, the Nakhles" stand Ego free of charge.
His first crop of foals arrived this season and there has been an immediate response from breeders, many of whom have already re-booked their mares for the coming season. Ego is an upstanding, handsome individual with a great temperament and is stamping his foals in the same mould. Colts and fillies alike, they are correct, muscular and have the quality to make their sire an exciting addition to the stallion ranks.
Ego"s sire E Dubai (by Mr Prospector) is a proven international stallion with 33 stakes winners, consistently ranked in the top 10 stallions in the USA and Leading active sire in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2013. Ego is out of Redoute"s Choice mare Buckling who as well as stakes winner Ego and stakes placed Ready Steady, is also the dam of Sans Souci who won three and was also placed in stakes company.
Two top Byerley Park stables - two Byerley Park stakes winners.
The Wallace stable under the stewardship of long time foreman Alan Peard struck Group Three gold at Ellerslie with underrated and lightly tried Shezhardtocatch living up to her name in beating the older horses in The Aussie Butcher Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie.
In only her seventh start, the Elusive City filly, lived up to her name as well as her private reputation in the hands of Byerley Park rider Paul Taylor.
Coincidentally, Paul Talor won the same race in another Byerley Park stakeswinner in the stallion Ego when the race was a Group Two event. Ego is now a very popular choice amongst the stallion line up at Haunui Farm.
Owned by long time stable supporters, Able International Limited, the win was an early highlight of the day only to be trumped by track favorite in Shuka.
Winning one of the strongest renditions of the Group One Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes, the Peter and Dawn Williams trained 5yo was set for the race several months back by the master trainers.
With only one runner rated under 100, Shuka was at generous odds for Eric Parr of Parr Bloodstock Limited, a 28 year long stable supporter.
Shuka will become not only go down in Byerley Park history but also became Danielle Johnson"s first Group One winner with the popular local rider currently sitting fourth in the premiership. The Williams team has not only given Johnson her first Group One winner but also provided her first stakes winner to boot.
Both of today"s stakes winners have Group One goals in their next starts with Shezhardtocatch aiming at the Group One Sistema Railway handicap and Shuka looking a big chance in the Group One Zabeel Classic over 2000m.
More immediately, the only problem will be which of the stakes winning stables calls their favorite restaurant, Volare, to book the last table available this evening for the celebration!
Daniel and Elias Nakhle are proud to announce Group 2 winning Ego as the latest addition to the Haunui Farm stallion line up for the 2012 season.
Ego is the fastest son of the fastest son of the great Mr. Prospector in E Dubai (#1 SIRE IN PENNSYLVANIA BY 2011 SWS & WINNERS Progeny Earnings Almost USD$22M Over USD$4,600,000) in 2011 alone) out of Buckling, a mare by the mighty Redoute’s Choice who has left only three foals to race for three winners being a stakes winning stallion and two stakes placed fillies.
E Dubai is fast making a name for himself as a top line stallion with a tremendous 72% winners to starters ratio with almost 20% of those either stakes winners or stakes placed.
“What excites me with Ego is that the success of his sire E Dubai is being translated as a broodmare sire where he has only had 15 runners for 11 winners, 4 of which are 2yo winners which is great for a very young sire” says Nakhle. “Also, Mr. Prospector line stallions seem to thrive in New Zealand with the like of Straight Strike, Faltaat and Indian Ore all greatly out punching their own race records”
“Add that to having a dam by Redoute’s Choice and we have recently seen what weight that sire adds to a pedigree with Sacred Falls also being out of a Redoute’s Choice mare”
The winner of one of the strongest fields assembled for the G2 Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie, he beat no less than three G1 winners and six other stakes winners in a field of 12.
One of the quickest horses to get into stride in the country, no matter what the barrier, Ego led in most of his races and loved good tracks running just outside the course record at Matamata in 1.08.62 from the front.
Hailing from the family of blue hen Denise’s Joy and Christmas Tree and from a very precocious immediate family, Ego underwent emergency surgery for a twisted bowel that almost cost him his life and certainly stopped his promising 2yo career and affected his performance thereafter.
Described by regular pilot Leith Innes as “On his day one of the best sprinters I have ever ridden and without doubt would have been a Group One horse if he had concentrated on racing and not his future breeding career!” the best was never seen of Ego.
Trainer Ben Foote agrees, “He is horse we never saw anywhere near the best of and by far the fastest horse I have ever had anything to do with”.
“With a lot of pessimism in the racing and breeding industry at present, a lot of broodmare owners are deciding not to breed due to costs and a limited return” says part owner, Daniel Nakhle. “That is detrimental to the New Zealand racing and breeding industry as a whole and the best way to fix this is reducing input costs which is why we are standing Ego free of charge.”
“The way I look at it is we only have about 400-500 Premier mares in New Zealand. That means we have another 4000 or so mares that are really breed to race prospects and need a stallion at a cost that gives them a breeder a real chance of making a profit and “free of charge” is about as good a chance at profit as it gets!”
Ego has given the father and son partnership a lot of fun over the years and they are keen to give him every opportunity as a stallion which means getting mares to him and getting wins on the board early.
“Being from a very precocious family, I thought the best way to spend marketing dollars is to help out mare owners reduce their costs even further so we are offering a transport rebate of up to $150 (including GST) for the first ten mares booked who have won a 2yo race or are stakes winners/placed or who have left a stakes winner/placed horse” says Nakhle.
The Nakhle’s appreciate the Chitty family’s generous offer to stand Ego at the fantastic facilities of Haunui Farm in Karaka where Ego joins Don Eduardo, Iffraj and Showcasing in a high class line up for all budgets.
All inquiries to Daniel Nakhle on 0274 85 85 85
Four days out from the Stella Artois Auckland Cup, the Shaun Clotworthy trained The Jungle Boy signaled his chances in the Group One feature with an excellent win in the Nathan Memorial on Saturday.
Having no less than his tenth start at Ellerslie, The Jungle Boy overcame his hoodoo of the track with a convincing win in the 2200m race, coming from near last on the turn in a slowly run race to beat Group One winners Titch and Shes Sinsational into second and third.
The win was an ideal final "pipe cleaner" for the well conditioned gelding who is proven over the 3200m of the Auckland Cup and with showers forecast on the day, he may yet make his presence felt despite his barrier draw of 17.
Saturday"s successful rider Matt Cameron again takes the ride on Wednesday and The Jungle Boy is one of no less than three runners in the Stella Artois Auckland Cup from Byerley Park.
Convincing last start listed winner Options will represent Peter and Dawn Williams and has drawn ideally at 7 with one 52kg"s on her back. Her trainers have an excellent pedigree for the Auckland Cup having already trained and part owned the 1998 winner of the race in Sea Swift.
Likeable trainer Shane Hapeta lines up his first Auckland Cup runner in Jafa Jack who will also benefit from the forecast showers on the day.
A winner two starts back, Jafa Jack is likely to inject some much needed pace into the two mile event and will give his connections a tremendous sight with his front running tactics.
High Class Group 1 winner Planet Rock has extended her lead in New Zealand Bloodstock"s Filly of the Year Series with an easy win in the $70,000 Group 3 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hawke"s Bay on Saturday.
The penultimate race of New Zealand Bloodstock"s ten-race Filly of the Year Series, the win gives Planet Rock six points and a huge chance of taking the coveted Series crown, with a new total of 26 points, 11 clear of her nearest rival Capital Diamond on 15 points.
In steady rain, Planet Rock was taken to the lead in the back straight by jockey Damian Browne, a move which sealed the fate of the fillies left to chase the Peter & Dawn Williams trained filly.
Leading by some two lengths at the 600 metre mark and travelling exceedingly well despite the track conditions, Planet Rock moved clear at the point of the turn and held off a determined effort from Capital Diamond to win by three lengths at the post.
The Byerley Park filly is equal favourite for the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks with New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever who is unlikely to contest the race.
The NZ Oaks offers 12 Filly of the Year Series points to the winner, giving just two fillies - Zurella and Capital Diamond - the chance to match or exceed Planet Rocks current Series-leading tally.
Owned by Sarah and Chris Green in partnership with Ger Beemsterboer, "Ruby" has now earnt her connections almost $400,000 in stakes with hopefully more to come for her absolutely lovely owners who undoubtedly will be on hand at Trentham to see their filly attempt to claim her second Group One feature of the season.
The success of the move to Byerley Park by Peter and Dawn Williams was further underlined with Planet Rocks win and they will be also looking to cement their place in the northern training ranks with their second classic this season.
Two stakes wins in a period of eight days has again lifted the profile of Byerley Park as the sixth largest and the fastest growing track in New Zealand.
Celeris started the ball rolling by impressively winning the listed Levin Stakes for racing personality Leo Molloy.
In only his first season of training, Molloy has the best strike rate in the country with two wins, including the black type win and a second placing in the listed Pegasus Stakes from only three race day starts.
Celeris was retired last season after not standing up to a racing preparation in the Waikato and had been earmarked to go to stud this season and be served by Red Giant who stands at Westbury Stud.
A phone call from Molloy to part owner Daniel Nakhle convinced Nakhle and his partners Alan Montgomery, Darren Brady and Elias Nakhle to allow the mare one more chance in Molloys care which has elevated the strong daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus and Cuphill (Danehill – Loving Cup) to the elite level after her win.
“Leo has resurrected his mare” said Nakhle. “In fact her name should almost be Lazarus after the work he has done to get her right and back racing so well!”.
Celeris is now at $17 with the TAB bookmakers for the Railway Handicap on New Years day where she will meet Byerley Parks latest stakes winner in the 5yo stallion Ego, a comprehensive winner of the Group Two Concord at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Ego, trained by Ben Foote has been problematic to say the least for his connections after showing any amount of ability from the time he started work.
After easily winning on debut he was sidelined with a virus for several months. Back into work, his eye was more on his potential stallion career than his immediate racing and he took several runs to refocus on doing his best on race day.
When Foote finally got the stallion settled, he won his next three starts impressively culminating in a strong win on Boxing Day at Ellerslie. A trip to Sydney where he was placed several times despite running on rain affected tracks took Ego away from Byerley Park but he obviously savoured his return to Foote’s stables with a close up fourth placing in the listed Counties Bowl behind Railway favourite Italian Princess in his first run in two months.
“He took a lot of improvement with that run and blew out at the 120m mark” said Foote. After vet Murray Gilmour came back with the blood results last week, they confirmed what Ben Foote’s gut feeling was that he would be hard to beat in the Concord.
“Murray has been an amazing source of advice and help with Ego” said Nakhle. “Without him we may well have been resigned to racing a gelding now not a stallion”.
Ego gave his opposition no chance in the Group Two Concord, held for the first time at Ellerslie, leading from barrier rise to post to win from a fast finishing Amaryllis in a time of 1.10.17 on a track on the dead side of good. The time of the race was over a second quicker than the other 1200m races on the day.
The win was vindication for the connections of their faith in the 5yo stallion by Mr. Prospector horse E Dubai out of a Redoutes Choice mare Buckling. They have turned their mind to the Railway to give Ego his chance of winning an all important Group One to bolster his next career in the stallion barn next season.
As to the question who is the fastest horse at Byerley Park? That may well be decided in the Group One Railway with both trainers quietly confident of big runs from their respective horses.
The TAB book makers are in favour of the stallion Ego ($11) finishing ahead of the mare Celeris ($17) with a smiling Leo Molloy adamant he has Celeris in the right frame of mind to “have the other horse for breakfast”.
BYERLEY Park trainer Ben Foote"s faith in Darley stallion Gonski"s first crop of yearlings could reap him a one million bonanza come January.
Foote bought two of the three Gonski yearlings offered at the 2010 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Sales series for a combined total of $38,000.
The cheaper of the pair, an $8000 Festival Sale (K3) pick-up named Czechout Girl, scored her first win at Te Rapa last weekend.
She was also the debut winner for Danehill son, Gonski.
Foote intends to aim Czechout Girl at the rich Karaka Million (1200m) scheduled for January 30 at Ellerslie.
The filly"s Te Rapa triumph saw her leapfrog a number of other Karaka Million hopefuls in the all important ballot to gain a start.
``That"s the race I bought her for,"" Foote said.``I think if she was placed at her next start she would make the cut-off because it does drop a way a little bit.
``In recent years she wouldn"t be far away now from making the field.""
Czechout Girl"s Te Rapa win comes at only her third start and was measured in very quick time to boot.
``The track record is 57.2 something and she ran 57.7, so she was only half a second off the track record,"" Footed commented.
``There"s a a race that will suit her close to home on December 5 over 880m so I am hooping that might be some easy money for her then I can out her aside for 10-days or something like that and prepare for Ellerslie.""
Gonski was a talented racehorse who beat Perfectly Ready and Ferocity in the Listed VRC Concept Sports (1400m) prior to finishing fourth in God"s Own"s Group One VATC Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
He covered just over 200 mares in his first season at Darley.
``I didn"t know a lot about Gonski before the sale except that someone told me he won a trial by about 15-lengths,"" said Foote.
``But I liked the bone that his yearlings had on them and they were strong horses.""
Foote, 34, is one of the emerging trainers in New Zealand with 26 boxes as well as 20-acres of paddock at his state of the art complex at Byerley Park.
The Kiwi visited Australia in January to attend the Inglis Classic Yearling sale where he took home four colts which he on-sold at the NZB Ready To Run a fortnight ago.
``The Canny Lad was bought by Laurie Laxon (Singapore), the Snippetson colt is going up to Hong Kong, and the Valixir colt - he was a beautiful looking horse - he has gone to Macau.""
After a busy first season Hapeta Racing recently launched their website - www.hapetaracing.co.nz
With four winners from 12 runners to date, setting out to train in his own right has so far proven a fruitful endeavour for Shane Hapeta. “This season’s results are pretty good for our first season and I’ve been really lucky to have some great support from the Nakhle family and our other owners”.
With systems and a solid team of staff now in place, the Byerley Park-based operation is looking forward to the new season to consolidate the business and build their profile even more. An excited Hapeta commented on the development of www.hapetaracing.co.nz : “The website is going to be a great tool to get our name out there and keep owners informed. It’s also a way of showing people the exceptional facilities we have here at Byerley Park”.
The website also features a news feed, staff profiles and recent winners. “As our business grows we’ll be looking at what else we can offer through www.hapetaracing.co.nz”.
Byerley Park trainer Shaun Clotworthy continued his super run of form today at the Waipa Racing Club meeting at Te Awamutu when Toughasim saluted the judge.
Byerley Park trainer Shane Hapeta’s strike rate of 2.50 is the perfect summary of the dedication he has towards his horses.
Byerley Park was credited by no less than its fourth win in four days with the emphatic win by Aruriteson at Ellerslie.
After providing approximatley 15% of the fields for Countes on Wednesday and 33% of the winners on the nine race programme, Scott Lucock provided a fourth winner with John Williams Aruriteson leading most of the way in the Rating 70 2400 at Ellerslie today, further underlining the impact Byerley Park has had since its inception some four year ago.
Aruriteson"s owner John Williams provided one of the most memorable winners celebration after his horse lead most of the way to win easing down in the hands of evergreen hoop Grant Cooksley. All cameras were on Williams after the three forward rolls/summersaults in the Ellerslie birdcage.
The wining connections presentation to John Williams included a fantastic photo of his birdcage efforts which showed courage was shared by horse and owner alike!
Aruriteson was on the backup from Counties on Wednesday and broke maidens out of his class in the Rating 70 event comfortably by two and a half lengths under a hands and heels ride from Cooksley.
Four wins in a week was an outstanding result from the rapidly growing track but is someway from the tremendous six wins in a week experienced in 2009 by Byerley.
Scott Lucock and Bob Emery combined again this afternoon at the Dargaville Racing Club’s meeting at Pukekohe to take out the Murdoch Newell R70 1400m with Deverra.
Having missed winning the previous race by the barest margin, rider Hayden Tinsley made amends to the Stephen McKee stable when he combined with Irish Colleen (5 B. M. Shinko King – Fayette, by Grosvenor) to win the $45,000, Listed, Lowe Schollum & Jones Rotorua Stakes for fillies and mares over 1400 metres at Rotorua on Saturday.
Byerley Park trainer Don Dwyer looks set for a profitable winter with his oldest stable member, Dead Rabbits winning his second race from his last three starts at the Te Aroha meeting today.
The Ben Foote stable continued its run of form on Saturday with Fantastic Flash winning the $15,000 Calder & Lawson Melbourne Cup 2010 R80 2100m at Te Rapa.
Listed Wairarapa Breeders" Stakes winner Nadege has been retired after suffering a tendon injury during the running of the Westbury Classic at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The five-year-old Giant"s Causeway mare out of dual Gr I winner Champagne won five of her 21 starts and already had huge value as a broodmare, prompting owner Bob Emery to call time on the Scott Lucock-trained Nadege"s career.
""The injury is mild but considering her immense value as a broodmare I have decided not to risk her further,"" Emery said.
""Scott Lucock has done a wonderful job with her by bringing her through the grades and achieving an all-important stakes win last month. She will now be let-down and will probably be sent to Australia in the spring to be mated with a top stallion.""
Courtesy of Aidan Rodley
The Listed $45,000 Westbury Classic F&M 1400m is run tomorrow at Ellerslie as part of undercard of NZ Derby Day and once again has drawn a very even field of fillies and mares.
Smart Move was successful at the local Counties Racing Club’s meeting this afternoon for Byerley Park trainer Shaun Clotworthy.
Byerley Park sponsored apprentice Maija Vance experienced her most successful day in the saddle yesterday at Avondale.
Byerley Park trainer Scott Lucock scored his biggest win on his own account yesterday when Nadege took out the Listed $45,000 Tui Brewery Wairarapa Breeders Stakes 1600m at Tauherenikau.
Byerley Park trainers were to the fore on Saturday winning two of the ten race card at the Counties Cup meeting held at Pukekohe.
Luminoso provided trainer Shane Hapeta with his first winner on his own account at Te Rapa yesterday after previously training in partnership with Pukekohe trainer, Richard Collett.
Too big, too strong, too good came to mind as Ego, a first starter from the Ben Foote stable, lead all the way to win on debut at Dargaville yesterday.
Confidently backed in from $11 to start at $5.90, the E Dubai colt jumped first and although challenged all the way, retained the lead and kicked clear for an easy win.
Part owner Daniel Nakhle admitted to having a case of pre-race nerves. "He"s a horse that has a rap on him and also being a colt didn"t help the nerves any!" said Nakhle.
Owned in partnership with his father Elias, the win provided the perfect start for Ego"s career.
The win also was one of three from Byerley Park over two days with Shaun Clotworthy winning the following race with Johnnie Ray and winning the following day at Tauranga with Fistral Bay.
Ably ridden by Andrew Calder who was filling in for Leith Innes who had done much of the horses recent work, the future looks bright for the colt who"s next assignment may be at Ellerslie on 29 November in an R70 1400m race.
In only his sixth lifetime start, Agamemnon proved too tough for better performed and more experienced rivals in the Listed Wealleans Matamata Cup this afternoon.
Burdoned with the additional handicap of the outside gate and being a touch slow to leave the barriers, Agamemnon quickly assumed the pace for rider Cory Parish and was beautifully rated by the apprentice throughout.
With 600m to run, Agamemnon was two lengths clear and turning up the pressure and showed his toughness to hang on to win the Listed race from Mohican Brave and Mill Vinnie.
The 5yo gelding by Generous out of Oratorio is trained by Sally Gillespie at Byerley Park who has done a wonderful job with the horse, having only run and won at Te Rapa in R80 grade eight days earlier.
Gillespie showed confidence her judgement when scratching from the R80 1600m on the same card to run in the Cup.
Owned by Richard and David Moore of Soliloquy Lodge fame, Agamemnon comes from the family"s great Soliloquy line and looks to have a lot more in store for Gillispie and the Moores.
One minor problem comes from the win of Agamemnon - the club may well be paying overtime to an artist to accurately paint the famous Hunting Stewart tartan on the birdcage statue!
Byerley Park-trained Fistral Bay showed a vast improvement in form to win the final event at Sunday’s Counties race-meeting at Pukekohe Park.
The run for Byerley Park horses in the last week continued at Matamata yesterday.
Alan Biddicks maiden hurdler, Logistic made it six wins in six days for the track with an excellent display of jumping in only his second jumps start.
Coming off the back of a nice trial win and a handy fifth in his hurdling debut, at Ellerslie, Logistic obviously learnt plenty from his limited experience and in the handsof Byerley Park based rider Tony Ihaka held outhe favourite Zagata in good style to clear maidens.
Alan Biddick who owns several stable blocks at Byerley Park which he leases to trainers, left Matamata thoroughly satisfied with the win and can look forward to a good winter campaign with the soon of Moon Spirit and Coax which he also bred.
"Its been a long wait with this one" said Biddick of the nine year old. "I stood Moon Spirit so its good to see his name back in the winners circle after all this time!"
The win came as Logisitcs second from thirteen starts and his first over the hurdles from only two attempts.
Byerley Parks facilities will expand this Monday with the open of the new tie up barn catering for an additional 42 horses.
"Its been a necessary improvement to Byerley Park" said director Elias Nakhle. "With more and more horses coming each morning, we found that we had to bring plans forward earlier than anticipated".
The tie ups include new bathrooms and a kitchen and will allow several trainers who have been waiting to join Byerley Park, room to now do so.
Plans for a "horse training" based subdivision to allow trainers to purchase land within Byerley Park and build stables are now under way with an application expected to the local council in the next ten days.
"There has been more and more demand from trainers wanting to lease or buy land backing onto the tracks, especially now with the rising costs of staff and fuel which is now curtailing transporting horses for any great length each morning" explained Daniel Nakhle. "The subdivision will allow the traditional method of walking horses on and off the track which has been missing since the closure of Takanini.
Expressions of interest for land and/or stables for sale or rent are now being taken and Daniel Nakhle can be contacted on 0274-858585.
Greg Graham is not a name you would have seen in racebooks much. Thats for very good reason - he has never trained a horse before.
That is until today.
Dancing Chief provided a huge thrill for first time owner/trainer Greg Graham with a gutsy debut win at Avondale in the Te Atatu Memorial RSA 1400.
Challenged most of the way down the straight by El Gitano, Dancing Chief refused to flinch in the hands of Samantha Collett, eventually holding out the favourite by a long head.
It was a case of love at first sight for Graham, who had been working at Glenmorgan Stud when he took a real shine to the Chief Bearhart youngster as a foal. With the closure of the stud, he rekindled his association with the horse as a yearling in a mixed bloodstck sale at Karaka. With bidding stopped at $4000 with a reserve of $10000, Graham contacted the owner and took the horse into his care to sell at the upcoming ready to run sale.
Unfortunately for bidders, they did not see what Greg had seen all along and again the horse was passed in.
Backing his own judgement, Greg Graham leased the horse from his owner and has never looked back.
In his only other public appearance, Dancing Chief easily won a trial over 1200m by four lengths and has taken the step up to raceday and 1400m in his long stride.
Greg trains Dancing Chief from Salsbury Park, a boutique stud operation in Clarks Beach belonging to long time horse owner, Bernie O"Donnell who unfortunatley passed away earlier at Christmas.
With the heart shown by the three year old, there will be plenty of fun in store for Greg Graham in the near future.
Byerley Park stables landed a winning double at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Byerley Park-based Leanne Bertling has a big opinion of 2yo debut winner Kerilla.
The excellent start to his move to Byerley Park continued in fine fashion at the Counties meeting at Avondale today for young trainer Ben Foote.
The final phase of Byerley Parks grass track construction is nearing completion.
Patience pays off for Byerley Park trainer Nola Pye with her latest stable star, Sir Fortriss.
Byerley Park"s newest addition, Ben Foote, has gained instant success from the Karaka training complex.
Ben Foote serves as a fresh new face at Byerley Park.
Matamata jockey Kate Hercock says riding today"s Counties winner Somethymesoon is like driving a Mercedes car.
New Zealand trainer Steve Pinfold has added a pair of Group Two 1200m races to the list of black-type opportunities for speedy mare Ticklish (NZ) (Maroof x French Kiss) in Melbourne this spring after her stylish last-stride win in the FCM Business Travel Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Paul Bates has joined the growing number of Pukekohe trainers deciding to move to the state-of-the-art training complex at Byerley Park.
Kiwi mare Ticklish will be given one further Australian start before returning to New Zealand.
Byerley Park representatives were on hand as the training complex sponsored a race at the Auckland Racing Club's race-meeting at Ellerslie on February 17.
Daniel and Sybelle Nakhle along with Shaun Clotworthy were in the winners' circle following the running of the Byerley Park 2100 which was won by the Graham Richardson-trained Twopaddocks.
Twopaddocks was ridden by Chad Ormsby and looks a horse with a bright future in the staying ranks.
Melbourne-bound filly Post Thyme (NZ) (Postponed x ) will remain in New Zealand for a tilt at the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 17.
A further trip to Australia this autumn could be on the cards for Byerley Park-trained mare Ticklish after her brave third placing in the Group 1 $A500,000 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 3.
Talented trainer Steve Pinfold is wasting no time in making his mark at the newly-developed Byerley Park training establishment.
Auckland jockey Matthew Williamson has taken up an appointment as track manager at the new multi-million dollar Byerley Park training track development at Karaka, Auckland.
The exciting new Karaka training centre, Byerley Park, was represented by its first winner at Monday"s race-meeting at Ellerslie when Ruta"s Gift scored a well deserved win in the Coca-Cola 1200.
Two father and son teams in Karaka are set to launch a new, state of the art thoroughbred training facility to serve as a fitting venue for horses, trainers and owners.