By Garrick Knight
A national record run has forced trainer Steve Telfer’s hand with his stable star, Triple Eight.
He took out the $30,000 Kerry Hoggard Memorial – Holmes D G in a thrilling finish with Mach Shard, the two capitalising on a break-neck speed that played perfectly in to their hands.
Both started from handicaps but ended up getting sweet trips in the running line which allowed them to fight out the finish, Triple Eight prevailing in 3.17.2.
It was a remarkable time that shaved 2.4 seconds off the previous mark, set by Vincent.
Telfer purposely avoided nominating for the New Zealand Cup, saying the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park at the end of the year were the clear focus.
And while that still remains, Triple Eight will now head south for two races, contrary to earlier plans.
“Looking at the programme at Auckland, and knowing he needs some good hard runs to prepare him for the Inter Dominions, we are going to send him south next week.
“So, we’ll go to Kaikoura and then the junior free for all on Cup Day.
“But that will be it; he’ll come home and prepare for the Inters after that.”
Stablemate Check In will also head south to race, joining stablemates, Ivana Flybye and Flying Steps, who are already down there.
Earlier in the night, one of the stable’s best three-year-olds, Mimi E Coco, resumed with an all-the-way win in the hands of David Butcher.
She has classic potential according to Telfer, but will need to be expertly-managed to realise that.
“It’s early in the season but she gives you that feel of a horse that will be up to the better fillies’ races later on.
“She has a lot to learn though – at the moment she is a lot better in behind.
“David was saying she was switching off and needed a horse up beside her to keep her mind on the job.”
The name, according to her breeder and part-owner, Scott Plant, was chosen on a whim while he and his wife were on an overseas holiday.
“Initially she was going to be called The Last Mach but my wife didn’t like that.
“We were talking about in a café in the south of France and on the wall was a sign that said Mimi E Coco.
“I said what about that? And she liked it so we went with it.”
It’s actually Italian and language experts spoken to by HRNZ suggested it refers to ‘soulmates’ or a couple displaying extreme levels of love for one another.
Old friends combine with Sole Ambition
Sole Ambition is one of those horses everyone would like to own.
His front-running win on Friday night capped off a consistent run of form for trainer Barry Purdon, who owns the son of Bettor’s Delight with American-based expat Kiwi trainer, Chris Ryder.
“I’ve known Chris for as long as I can remember – we got right back to the eighties when he was training here.”
Ryder, who owns star trotter Oscar Bonavena with Purdon’s father, Roy, also has ownership interests in Henry Hu, Bad To The Bone and three other unraced horses in the stable.
He looks like being the best performer to date out of former champion race mare One Dream, who has been somewhat disappointing at stud.
There’s no real story to tell behind the rise of Sole Ambition – just a good, honest horse that keeps getting better, like all the stock of his sire.
“He’s really stepped up recently and kept on improving,” said Purdon.
Purdon was non-committal on the immediate future for the horse but says, at this stage, sending him to America to race for Ryder was not on the cards.
Purdon had a decent night at the office with Thumbs Up clearing maidens and Sunny Glenis getting another win while he also had placings with Henry Hu, Wainui Creek and Mach Shard.
The latter was narrowly beaten by Triple Eight again but lost no admirers in a New Zealand record run.
“He’s a pretty damn good horse, I think.
“We’ve been patient with him and he’s just continually gotten a bit better.
“He’ll race here again on the 25th and then go south for the Cup trial and the Cup.”