Verry Elleegant nearing European debut

Australasia’s darling of the turf Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed) is edging closer to making her European debut. Her new trainer Francis-Henri Graffard is eyeing the Gr.1 Prix Rothschild (1600m) at Deauville at the start of next month to kick-off her European career. Part-owner Brae Sokolski said that Graffard had confirmed Verry Elleegant was progressing well in her preparation following her first gallop on the grass at Chantilly over the weekend. “She’s going great and she seems to be ahead of her program after talking to Francis yesterday in terms of…

Case scores first NZ win

English jumps jockey Charlie Case hadn’t even considered the possibility of riding in New Zealand two months ago. But he hasn’t taken long to take advantage of his surprise opportunity. Case arrived less than two weeks ago after leading trainer Paul Nelson started looking for a jockey to boost New Zealand’s somewhat thin jumping rider ranks. He made his mark quickly, scoring his first victory at his eighth New Zealand ride when guiding Leitrim Lad (NZ) (Tavistock) to victory in a maiden hurdle over 3000m at Rotorua on Sunday. “People…

Bellatrix Black to lead spring charge

Catherine Cameron’s main spring hopes will rest on the shoulders of the lightly raced Group winner Bellatrix Black (NZ) (Redwood) following the retirement of the highest-rated horse in her stable. The Cambridge trainer has called time on talented import Cheval Prometteur, an English-bred son of Declaration Of War who had graduated to stakes company with honours last preparation. “He has been retired, he tweaked a tendon just before the Easter Handicap (Gr.3, 1600m) and we decided he deserved a happy retirement,” Cameron said. “Emma Wilson, one of the girls that…

Patterson enjoying being home

Taranaki trainer Robbie Patterson is enjoying being back in his homeland after campaigning a trio of his team in Queensland. It was Patterson’s second trip across the Tasman to compete at the Queensland Winter Carnival and he was met by a wet reception in the Sunshine State. “It was wet for the first couple of weeks and then it fined up. It was a bit of an indifferent season for Brisbane that’s for sure,” Patterson said. It wasn’t smooth sailing for the New Plymouth horseman who ran into a few…

Frankie The Fox rewards trainer’s faith with Riccarton victory

While it may have taken two years for enigmatic galloper Frankie The Fox (NZ) (Ego) to make a return to the winner’s enclosure at Riccarton, trainer Mike McCann never lost faith in his charge. A winner on debut as a three-year-old on his home track at Riccarton, the now six-year-old son of Ego had proved to be a consistent performer for McCann in his early days, winning five of his first 17 starts before hitting a drought that saw him go winless since taking out a rating 85 1400m event…

She’s A Maneater all class in fresh-up victory

Wet track specialist She’s A Maneater (NZ) (Reliable Man) showed her class on a testing winter surface when she produced a powerful performance to win fresh-up over 1200m at Tauranga on Saturday. Trainer Peter Lock rolled the dice on starting the five-year-old daughter of Reliable Man over the sprint journey as she had never won under a distance of 1600m in her career to date. With the Heavy10 rated surface proving a tough ask for many runners on the day, She’s A Maneater and apprentice Maria Sanson made light work…

Neasham: Mo’unga unrecognisable

Leading trainer Annabel Neasham says she almost didn’t recognise star Mo’unga (NZ) (Savabeel) given how much he has matured in the spelling paddock. The dual Group One winner returned to her New South Wales stable this week and she couldn’t be happier with the rising five-year-old. “He just arrived back in the stable. You nearly wouldn’t recognise him,” Neasham said. “He has improved physically an enormous amount. He’s really beefed up. “He is coming into his five-year-old season now. Very excited about him.” Neasham said Mo’unga will likely return in…

She’s A Maneater all class in fresh-up victory

Wet track specialist She’s A Maneater (NZ) (Reliable Man) showed her class on a testing winter surface when she produced a powerful performance to win fresh-up over 1200m at Tauranga on Saturday. Trainer Peter Lock rolled the dice on starting the five-year-old daughter of Reliable Man over the sprint journey as she had never won under a distance of 1600m in her career to date. With the Heavy10 rated surface proving a tough ask for many runners on the day, She’s A Maneater and apprentice Maria Sanson made light work…

Frankie The Fox rewards trainer’s faith with Riccarton victory

While it may have taken two years for enigmatic galloper Frankie The Fox (NZ) (Ego) to make a return to the winner’s enclosure at Riccarton, trainer Mike McCann never lost faith in his charge. A winner on debut as a three-year-old on his home track at Riccarton, the now six-year-old son of Ego had proved to be a consistent performer for McCann in his early days, winning five of his first 17 starts before hitting a drought that saw him go winless since taking out a rating 85 1400m event…