Local trainers hoping to snare Karaka riches at Cambridge

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Graeme Rogerson has been a frequent name on the buyers’ sheet at Karaka and the dual code trainer is hoping he can earn back some of his investment this week.

Rogerson trains out of his Hamilton operation in partnership with Dylan Ferguson, and the pair will line-up promising filly Seaclusion in the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 3YO Fillies Final (2200m).

Rogerson purchased the daughter of Sweet Lou out of Woodlands Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred Yearling Sale draft for $35,000 and she has made a pleasing start to her career.

She has placed in her two starts to date and her trainers were enticed to throw her in against some handy opposition on Friday with the meeting’s transfer to Cambridge Raceway following flood damage to Alexandra Park.

“She has stepped up every time we have asked her to,” Ferguson said.

“Coming to Cambridge was the main factor for running her in the race and the fact she performed well lately I think she deserves her place in the race.

“I think everyone would agree that we are probably running for placings behind Millwood Nike, but I don’t think she is out of place with the rest of them.

“If we get a little bit of luck in the running, and it has been the best draw (3) she has had to date, it wouldn’t surprise me if she could fill one of the minor placings, and we would be rapt if she did.”

The stable will line-up another promising three-year-old filly in Wicked Wanda on the undercard.

The Woodlands Stud bred and raced filly won on debut at Cambridge last November before finishing runner-up at the same venue a month later. Ferguson has been pleased with the way she has returned and is looking forward to her fresh-up run in the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Mobile Pace (1700m).

“Wicked Wanda has had a bit of a freshen-up and she trialled well on Saturday, and she has got a good draw (3). She has got more upside than most in our stable,” Ferguson said.

“Hopefully she will get her turn in the feature races coming up towards the end of summer.”

Ferguson is also looking forward to a few other fresh-up runs from his barn.

“We have got some nice chances, but on a feature night they are racing in some nice fields too,” he said.

“We have been a bit light on numbers lately but having I’llavabubbles and Gaz Man in fresh-up back to the races, I am sure they will improve on what they do this week.

“They both trialled pretty nicely on Saturday, so if either of them get a bit of luck in the running they will be hard to beat.”

It will also be a family affair at Cambridge Raceway on Friday when Ferguson jumps in the bike to do the steering behind Rosie in the Gr.3 HR Fisken & Sons Northern Trotting Breeders’ Stakes (2700m).

The six-year-old mare is trained by his partner Jo Stevens, who races the mare in partnership with Ferguson’s mother Wendy.

The daughter of Peak has won her last two starts but will be in for a sterner test this week.

“She has put it together in her last two starts and has done everything right,” Ferguson said.

“It is a bit of a different kettle of fish on Friday night having horses behind her and in front of her and not just being able to have a bit of room to move.

“If she steps away and does everything right, I think that is 90 percent of the battle. If she does that and runs top five we would be over the moon.”

There will be no rest for Ferguson the following day, with the Waikato horseman making a beeline for Karaka where he will inspect yearlings ahead of the sale commencing on Sunday.

“We will get up there early and get through a few of the drafts,” he said. “I am sure Graeme will be putting his hand up on a few of them, so hopefully we can bring home a few nice ones.”

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