Donnelly's success on and off the track
Things are happening in fours for Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly right now.
Last Friday she had four winners at a race meeting - for just the second time in her career - and this week she's bought at least three, and probably, four yearlings at the NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales.
Already secured are three colts, to Rock N Roll Heaven, Art Major and Bettor's Delight, with negotiations well advanced for a fourth purchase as well.
"The Miss Elsie one is the stand out," she says.
Lot 360 (Art Major - Miss Elsie) was bought for $61,000 in Christchurch, as was Lot 402 Rock N Roll Heaven - Smiles for Miles colt ($12,000), while Lot 113, a Bettor's Delight - Running On Faith colt was bought on the opening day of the sales at Karaka for $45,000.
"I've sold all of them too, there's been a lot of interest," she says, "there are probably 10-12 people who are involved in these ones, and a couple of new ones as well."
Her success in the sales ring follows arguably her most successful night at the races, at Cambridge last Friday.
Not only did the Donnelly stables win four races (R2 Pacing Hope, R4 Crusader, R9 Bad Medicine, R11 Aflying Spur) but there was a stable quinella in Race 9 with Glenthorne, and two other placings with New York Minute (R6) and Juju Mama (R10).
"We did have 14 in at Cambridge so it was nice to get some results."
The reason for such a big team was that many had been sent to Hawera over Waitangi weekend but the meeting was abandoned after atrocious weather battered Taranaki.
The last (and first) time she had four winners at one meeting was at Cambridge in March 2019 with Fira, Patanjali, Westburn Yield and Liberal Arden.
And Donnelly's had to manage her race team without two of her key staff, Alicia Harrison and Danielle Green, who were both injured in a car crash last month. They were both hospitalised after the car they were travelling in was hit head-on by a ute.
"Danielle might be back on light duties next week .. and Alicia is probably six weeks away."
Donnelly is very grateful to her other staff, her wider family, and also to the likes of David Butcher and Cambridge Raceway Chief Executive Dave Branch for lending a hand in the meantime.
This week, after her successful sales trip to Christchurch, it's back to Alexandra Park on Friday night when she has just two in - and both in the same race. Taipo and Rough And Ready will line up in a seven-horse field that features southern visitor Beach Ball, and Raven Banner.
"Taipo drops in grade and he's been racing well"
"And Rough And Ready's formline doesn't read as good as he's going - he's a smokey chance and has not been too far away."