Ideal Success nabs Hawera Cup

By Duane Ranger
If any horse and horsewoman deserved to win the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Manawatu Raceway on April 16 then Ideal Success and Arna Donnelly should already have their names already engraved on the trophy.
But sadly that isn’t going to happen.
“The Manawatu track is a bit tight for him and he will be off a long mark so we will be giving the Final a miss. The horse’s welfare comes first. He has been so good to us this season,” trainer/driver Donnelly said.
The tough son of American Ideal has now won five of the 14 North Island Country Cups on offer this season – the latest being the $13,000 South Taranaki Club Hawera Cup on the Hawera Grass yesterday (Easter Monday).
It is the first time in the 10-year history of Country Cup Finals that a horse has won five Cups.
Going into the Hawera Cup Ideal Success had 40 points in the North Island Country Cup Championship. Next best was Te Kawau with 25.
A C7 pacer in a field 10 other C3s to C5s, Ideal Success won Monday’s Hawera Cup from 40m behind. His other Cup victories came via the Morrinsville Country Cup (front), Thames Cup (20m), Stratford Cup (20m), and Franklin Country Cup (40m).
The 4-year-old gelding has now won nine of his 25 starts and placed in four others for just on $60,000 in stakes. Six of those wins have come this season.
With the Wairarapa Cup on Thursday week now off the agenda will Donnelly line him up against the big guns in the Group One 4-year-old classics – the Taylor Mile and New Zealand Messenger at Alexandra Park later this month and in May?
“He probably will start during the premier meeting but whether it’s against the top 4-year-olds, well I’ll have to sit down with the owners and discuss those plans.
“He went real well for second in his last Group 3 (Kumeu Stakes) race at Alexandra Park, but this is another step up again. He’s currently ranked ninth on the Jewels list and it would be nice to make the final, but for now we just want to get him home and assess it from there,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly’s drive behind Ideal Success on Monday was one right out of the Dexter Dunn handbook.
She had Ideal Success ideally situated in the one-one for most of the 3000m. From a 40m handicap that was not only a masterstroke, but it was also the winning of the race.
In the home straight the bay gelding again proved too strong running over the top of them in 3:57.8 (mile rate 2:07.5) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 59 even and 26.6.
Kippenberger (Josh Dickie), Darcee (Tony Herlihy MNZM), and Mach Cruiser (Peter Ferguson) filled the minors a neck, 4-1/4 lengths, and half a length away.
Ideal Success is owned by Donnelly’s father Brent and Peter Argus from Waiuku.
He was bred by Woodlands Stud.
Long-term Argus said Australia was not an option but Christchurch could be next season.
“We all seem to think he will be an even better 5-year-old next year, but no matter happens I can’t speak highly enough of how much Arna has turned this horse around in such a short time.
“We will just see how he develops, but we all think his best season could come next year,” said Waiuku-based Argus.
Donnelly agreed saying Ideal Success was physically mature but still lacked it bit upstairs.
“It was great today because he didn’t have to work too hard around them like he usually does. We got cover and then when I asked him to go he gave me his characteristic sprint again,” said Donnelly.
The Hawera meeting was another day to remember for 34-year-old Donnelly.
The Cambridge horsewoman also won the feature trot with $11.90 outsider Jagermeister, as well the second event with $2.20 favourite Alotbettor.
Ideal Success was also the $3.10 favourite.
“It was another great day at the office. All three won very well. I am very proud of them,” Donnelly said.
She is now on target to record her best season yet – both driving and training.
Donnelly has now won 15 races in 2014-2015 – three less than her best season when she won 18 times 2005-2006. She won a personal best $120,933 in stakes that season. She has currently earnt $101,882 this season.
Training-wise her best season came last year when she won 13 races and $91,331. Donnelly has already trained 14 winners this season and won $84,440.
All-up Donnelly has driven 139 career winners ($952,778) since 1999 and trained 56 ($358,230) since 2004.