Waikato RC @ Te Rapa
Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate Raceday
Waikato RC @ Te Rapa
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Trainers Graeme and Debbie Rogerson and jockey Chris Johnson continued their current sparkling form with yet another winner in Francis Drake in the $25,000 Jumpflex NZ (Rating 85) over 2100 metres at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Johnson settled the $2.80 favourite midfield until approaching the home turn the pair coasted up to challenge for the lead and the topweight exploded away to record a stylish four length win. The victory was Francis Drake's fifth win on the track and rider Chris Johnson's 106th winner for the season. Rough Cut (S.Spratt) finished second, with Arite Guru (T.Thornton) two lengths further back in third.
Francis Drake winning time was 2:14.62 (last 600m in 36.63) on a Slow8 track.
"When I carried the saddled down, I thought (grand-daughter) Bailey was riding it, there was so much dead weight," co-trainer Graeme Rogerson said.
"This little horse is the best jumper Ive had since Lord Sorento."
"He jumped 50 hurdles on Wednesday morning. I think that's his forte. Hopefully he'll win a few more until then."
"He's going great. He'll go to the Listed Taumarunui Cup at Rotorua (July 29th). Ive already won the Taupo Cup with him at the end of last year."
"I may take him overseas. Hopefully he's an Australian type of horse for jumping. I think he is. He certainly has the ability on the flat and he showed today he can carry weight. Takes a good horse win with 61kgs, especially when the others are claiming."
"It's good for (rider) Chris Johnson, who I think has the premiership sown up."
"I asked him three months ago if he wanted to win the premiership, and he said yeah, I said if you come north I'll support him. I like the bloke, his wife and children. He's certainly a worker," Rogerson said.
Rogerson purchased the son of Tavistock for $40,000 at the 2013 Karaka Select Sale from Blandford Lodge's draft, and races the gelding along with J T Brown, A.C.T. Syndicate, E Thompson, B J Weal & G R Wilson.
Francis Drake recorded his seventh win, and along with 13 minor placings from 38 starts has earned over $136,000 in prizemoney.
Consistent performer Amarula took the honors in a compact finish of the $30,000 Skycity Hamilton over 1600 metres on Saturday, having trainer Peter McKay eager looking towards Group One tilts during the Spring Carnival at Hastings for the upcoming five-year-old.
Ridden by Peter's son Shaun, Amarula jumped from barrier two to settled fourth outside race-favourite Fire Jet then cruised up to challenge the leader Admiral at the 250m mark and bravely fought off the challengers with his 60kg top-weight to win by a neck, with only one and lengths separating the first six placings.
Adriatic Pearl (T.Thornton) finished late to finish second, with the winner's stablemate Stokers Rock (S.Spratt) also running on from the rear for third place.
Amarula's winning time was 1:38.14 on a Slow8 track.
"That was a huge effort to carry that weight. It was nice to see him relax and finish it off," trainer Peter McKay said.
"I don't think he'll get in the first one (the Tarzino Trophy) at Hastings because the three-year-old Group winners push them all down, so we'll look at the mile (Windsor Park Plate) on the middle day and then the 2000 (Livamol Classic) on the last day, so it's good to see that he can manage a bit more distance."
"It's a bit strange thing to do to be having a horse up at this time of year for those sort of races, but even though he's gelded he still gets quite burly on me, it's a struggle to keep the weight off him so we'll keep him ticking over and he's enjoying it," said McKay, who races the son of Thorn Park with his wife Kim.
Peter and Kim McKay purchased the gelding at the 2014 Karaka Premier Sale from Esker Lodge's draft for $80,000.
Amarula has now won eight races - including the 2015 Hawke's Bay Guineas (Group 2) and along with seven placings from 23 starts has earned more than $232,000 in prize-money.
Malambo is shaping up as an ideal candidate for upcoming stakes races, at least the Ryder Stakes following an easy win in the $20,000 Clarence Street Pak N Save 1200, here at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The daughter of Duelled made easy work of her re-handicapped (1.5kgs) 56.5kgs weight, after her comfortable win at Rotorua three days previous.
Stable apprentice Ryan Elliot settled Malambo just outside the early leader Le Brassus, then striding clear to win to win by three and a half lengths from Le Brassus (V.Colgan) with nearly the same margin back to race favourite Showtenaire (T.Thornton) in third.
"She anticipated the start quite good, so it was easy enough to sit outside the leader," Elliot said.
"It's a lot better than what she won on a Heavy 10 at Rotorua midweek, but she's always been able to skip across any type of track conditions. She's actually freshened up well since Wednesday and improving all the time. Onwards and upwards, hopefully."
"The track's quite good, just the sting out of it," Elliot said.
Malambo winning time was 1:13.40 on a Slow8 track.
"Ryan said she still had a lot left up her sleeve when she won at Rotorua on Wednesday, and he was very confident she would win today. She's a quality two-year-old and she will head toward the Ryder Stakes and we will look at the 1000 Guineas in the spring," winning trainer Graeme Rogerson said.
The Listed Ryder Stakes is run at Otaki on July 29.
"Ryan is a very good rider. If he didn't get those whip suspensions, he'd be challenging for the apprentice premiership. He has a big future and he'll do a lot of riding for our stable next season," said co-trainer Graeme Rogerson, who also shares ownership of the filly with the Wealleans Bloodstock Partnership.
Malambo, won her first two trials then finished second on debut to Smart Thinking in the second two-year-old race of the season at Ruakaka back in September, has now had seven starts for two wins, three placings and earned $27,500 in prize-money.
Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and rider Matt Cameron enjoyed a good day at the office on Saturday when Craftyeva dug deep to beat a competitive field in the $20,000 Dow Agrosciences (Rating 65) over 1600 metres, to round out a terrific double for the trio.
In the final race on the card, Craftyeva ($4.60) was sent out favourite in the 16-horse field after a brave fresh-up run for fourth on the same track, three weeks ago.
With regular pilot Cameron aboard, the pair began well from barrier nine to settle just past midfield. Turning for home Cameron angled his mount to the middle of the track and the daughter of Mastercraftsman unwound late to grab Pythagoras (T.Harris) just short of the post, to win by a head. Civique Rose (S.McKay) was three-quarters of a length back in third.
Craftyeva's winning time was 1:38.89 (last 600m in 36.04) on a Slow7 track.
The four-year-old mare had shown solid form over longer trips before being sent for a brief spell.
Craftyeva's recorded her second victory from 15 starts and with six placings has earned over $36,000 for her owner W Luff.
Murray Baker purchased the mare at the 2014 Karaka Select Sale for $31,000.
The win was Cameron's 12th winner for the season at Te Rapa, placing him first equal with Danielle Johnson as this season's Waikato Racing Club's leading rider, with two meetings remaining.
Cameron recorded two wins at Te Rapa for the first 8 meetings - up until end of January, but has ridden 10 winners for the following seven meetings since, with five doubles.
The Chris Wood trained Roc de Bank brushed aside a wide draw to prevail in the $22,500 Ebbett Toyota (Rating 75) over 1600 metres on Saturday.
The topweight appreciated the under-rated claiming apprentice Darren Danis - claiming three kilograms in the saddle.
The progressive Roc de Cambes gelding jumped well from the outside barrier to lead early and was joined by Ali Baba at the 1100m mark. Danis sat outside the leader, then challenged for the lead soon after straightening and despite drifted in the home turn kicked on well to record a half length victory. Keep On Comin (A.Collett) finished second, with The Kipling Girl (M.du Plessis) finishing well for third, half a head back.
The win gave apprentice jockey Darren Danis a much-needed kick to his career, recording his sixth winner this season from limited chances but came at a cost with Danis admitting a careless riding breach for a minor infringement. With a suspension from the conclusion of racing June 17th to June 25th.
Roc de Bank's winning time was 1:37.91 (last 600m in 36.69)
on a Slow7 track.
"He's a progressive horse who has only had 19 runs with five wins under his belt, and has fashioned a good record at Te Rapa with three wins here," winning trainer Chris Wood said.
"He likes a little cut in the track but isn't a true winter galloper so the track he struck, was perfect for him."
"At this stage, we might find one more for him somewhere and then he can have a break before we bring him back for the spring," Wood added.
Roc de Bank's five victories and four placings from 19 starts had earned over $54,000 in prizemoney for owners Miss K C Avery, J R Borich, P J Bucknell, J Duckworth, G R Edge, K W Green, R P James, N P Jamieson, P P Magill, G D Manson & P G Proverbs.
Wood purchased Roc de Bank at the 2014 Karaka Festival Sale for $32,000 from Suncroft Bloodstock draft.