How good was Legends Day12 Feb 2020

On Saturday the 8th of February the Waikato Racing Club hosted Legends Day. The meeting formerly known as International Day featured four prestigious group races, the showpiece of the WRC calendar. Over the years the club has been blessed with some famous names who have been victorious in the International Sprint and International Stakes including Bonecrusher, Poetic Prince, Sunline, Darci Brahma and Tavistock to name a few.

Saturday’s meeting included some performances which could be described as legendary and have plaudits discussing whether or not some of the victorious horses could go on to carry Legendary status in years to come.The Group One BCD Group Sprint saw Te Akau Shark show a huge turn of foot to nail The Mitigator close to home, to win his first Group One. This horse had previously been placed at Group One level in Australia including a third in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate in 2019. He made a statement, that this win might not be his last Group One of 2020 as he is now set to take on Australia’s best in the Sydney autumn. Prior to the race we had the privilege of having former two time winner Start Wondering lead out the field. “Bart” is now based at Gina Schicks’ EventStars property in Cambridge and is beginning his life after racing. He is sponsored by the Waikato Racing Club and Dunstan Feeds as he commences his next chapter as a sporthorse. He will compete in Beyond the Barriers competition at Equidays in November.

The richest WFA race in the country, the Group One Herbie Dyke Stakes was taken out in the smallest of margins by Tiptronic. The Gelding trained by Graham Richardson was last year’s runner up but produced one better in 2020. It was a titanic battle with the Baker/Forsman trained True Enough with both horses fighting for Group One glory. The winning of the race came down to a ten out of ten ride by Jason Waddell who had a brilliant day in the saddle claiming other group features and going down close in the BCD Sprint. We’re proud that the International Stakes is now run as the Herbie Dyke Stakes. Herbie was a former chairman of the Waikato Racing Club and his passion for racing is now carried on by his sons Steven and Simon and grandsons James, Henry and Edward.

Two Illicit marked herself as the New Zealand Derby favourite after a dominant seven length win in the inaugural running of the Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas. The Roger James and Robert Wellwood filly jumped second favourite behind Travelling Light following the scratching of favourite Dragon Leap. She gave her opponents nothing short of windburn. The Trelawney Stud owned filly now is the $2.70 favourite for the New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on February the 29th.Did you know that the last two winners of the Waikato Guineas for Roger James have gone on to win the Derby? The last being Silent Achiever in 2012. We are delighted that Joan Egan has added another race to her sponsorship portfolio at Te Rapa. Her boutique operation Legacy Lodge in Hamilton has produced recent stakes winners in Concert Hall and Beauden. Joan is proud to support her favourite race course and enjoyed seeing Two Illicit take out the first running of the Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas.

The David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic was also won by an impressive performance. Jennifer Eccles extended her lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series beating her rival Loire through pure acceleration. The filly is trained by Shaun Ritchie and owned by Adrian Clark’s Challenge Bloodstock. Upon her return to scale, Jason Waddell and the horse were met with song, with the Hollies - “We love Jennifer Eccles' ringing from the Te Rapa Grandstand. With David and Karyn both giving so much to their beloved Waikato Racing Club it was great for them to witness a phenomenal performance from a class filly with an enthusiastic syndicate of owners. It’s a joy they know so well from their Te Akau Racing Syndicates.

The undercard produced plenty of black book performances. Angaria and James Barrie continued their preparation towards the New Zealand Derby in the final race of the card. Both showing fight and determination to the line with Angaria under Opie Bosson just claiming the prize. Earlier in the day we saw the race experience come to fruition with On Display winning the opening event for Danny Walker and Samantha Collett. Followed by an impressive front running ride from Mubs Kareem which saw Rocket Fuel claim the second race of the day in the Thank You Lynn Collins 1400. Lynn was on the board for over 30 years at the Waikato Racing Club and we thank him for all his hard work and dedication over that considerable period.

We now undergo a two month break from racing at Te Rapa. Over this time we will be conducting our annual track renovations ahead of a busy winter schedule. Our next meeting is on Sunday 19th of April, we hope to see you there!