News Briefs - 4 July

By Garrick Knight

Gold Ace sired his first winner last week when juvenile Max Power was victorious at Newcastle in Australia.

The multiple Group 1 winner and former three-year-old of the year is readying to stand his fifth season at Nevele R Stud in Christchurch.

His oldest crop is about to turn three and number 35 in New Zealand, the first of which, Distinguished Taste, debuted at Timaru on Sunday.

“He ran home well for Ken Barron to grab third,” said Ged Mooar, Nevele R’s General Manager.

It’s been a slow start, but he faces the same problems all locally-bred stallions do, according to Mooar.

“We’ve had really good feedback about his progeny – nicely conformed, good-gaited and easy to work with.

“But it’s a numbers game and that doesn’t help things when the first crop has 35 foals.

“The support from breeders has been consistent across his first four seasons though.”

“It’s tough for a colonial horse to get mares, because realistically he’s not going to attract commercial mares.”

* * * * *

Former West Auckland mare Eclipse Me equaled a world record in America on Tuesday night (US time), when running a 1.48.2 mile on a track the same size as Alexandra Park.

The daughter of Real Desire equaled the mark for aged mares at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania for trainer, Rene Allard.

The win continued an excellent American career for the mare, who has now won 16 races stateside, to go with her six in New Zealand, and has over US$250,000 in career earnings.

Her brilliant run came as no great surprise to her former co-trainer, Tate Hopkins, who prepared her in Taupaki with Frank Cooney.

“She was a great, honest mare that had a bit of speed but was very tough as well.

“She could hold that speed for quite as way and it was always going to suit her having the speed on the whole way up there.”

“I know it was a very tough decision for Frank to sell her in the first place.”

The pair, who in recent times have both owned Eclipse Me’s dam, Bella Me, have no further stock from the family to go on with.

“I sold the mare last year and the filly I bred from her went through the yearling sales this year. Derek Balle has her now.”

Tony Herlihy (Macca’s), Doug Gale (American Me) and John and Joshua Dickie (Park Avenue) are training Eclipse Me’s half-brothers.

Another former Kiwi mare, Shebang, ran second in the record-equaling race while Poppy Drayton and Miss Daisy – both former northern mares as well – won on the same card.

* * * * *

The win of Megastar at Alexandra Park last Friday night gave dual-island trainer Robert Dunn a century of victories on the season.

It was the fourth time the illustrious horseman has achieved the feat, and took him to a lifetime tally of 1473 New Zealand training wins – the fourth most by anyone and the most by someone not carrying the Purdon surname.

With 14 meetings left in the season, Dunn is also an outside chance of scoring his maiden training premiership.

He is only 15 wins adrift of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, who are unlikely to have any stable runners before the new season starts.

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