Northern Briefs

By Garrick Knight


No issues with Belle Of Montana

Star mare Belle Of Montana has been cleared of any injury or niggles after her uncharacteristic gallop at Alexandra Park on New Years’ Eve.

She paced roughly and broke heading in to the first bend and was later terminally checked on the final bend when back in the field and racing roughly again.

Trainer Barry Purdon says that after a worrying period, he’s satisfied there is nothing wrong.

“There were a couple of sleepless nights but everything is really good with her now.

“One of the pins came out of her shorteners early and it unbalanced her.

“It was all a bit new to her and she didn’t really know what to do.

“We’ve had her checked out and she’s definitely sound and there is nothing wrong with.

“We’ve turned the page on that and she’ll race at Auckland on the 17th before heading across to Melbourne.”

The Group 1 A$100,000 Ladyship Cup at Melton on February 1 will be her first target, before heading across to Sydney.


MacFarlane awaiting surgery

Injured horseman Todd MacFarlane has been overwhelmed by well-wishers after his nasty accident at Cambridge on Sunday.

MacFarlane is still in Waikato Hospital, along with Matthew White, after the pair and Jay Abernethy were injured.

His wrist was broken and dislocated and he banged his head, both having fairly serious consequences.

“Obviously I had concussion, but there are no concerns there now.

“A few bruises and grazes on the face, but some might say that’s an improvement,” he joked.

“I am waiting on an operation on my hand and arm at the moment but am getting well looked after.

“I appreciate everyone’s concern and well-wishes; so many people have offered their support in the many forms.

“It’s been quite overwhelming and I’m blown away by the offers of support.

“What great people we have in and around our industry.”

White is also still in hospital but hopes to be discharged by the end of the week.

As well as a severe concussion after being knocked unconscious, he has been diagnosed with small fractures in three vertebrae at the base of his spine.

Abernethy’s broken wrist is in a cast but he has been cleared of any structural damage to a sore shoulder.


Temu off the mark as a driver

Pukekohe amateur driver Ange Temu recorded her first win at Cambridge on Sunday.

She piloted Clifton Flutter to overcome a severe last-lap inconvenience and win for trainer James Stormont at what was just her second race-day drive.

Clifton Flutter was buried on the markers when Banner Of Art stopped in front of it at the 900 metres, dragging it all the way back to last and losing valuable momentum.

But Temu didn’t panic and, once extricated, nursed Clifton Flutter down the outside with a charging late finish to get the win in the shadows of the post.

Speaking after the race, the mum of five said it was a great reward after taking the plunge in to an amateur drivers’ course six years ago.

“I used to go to the races with my parents when I was young and it was something I always wanted to do, but it never really happened when I got married and had the kids.

“I ended up doing the horse-power experience in Christchurch about 11 years ago with the intention of one day doing the amateurs’ course.

“I just wanted to try out first and do my homework.”

She flew back to Christchurch to do the final amateur drivers’ course at Addington before the new stables were built and then eventually started helping out various trainers in Kumeu, including Ray Green and Ken Sefonte.

“We eventually moved to Pukekohe and after intruding on Steven Reid’s for a while I ended up getting a job with James Stormont and have been there ever since.

“Every morning, six days a week.”

The thrill of winning her first race is a feeling she’ll never forget.

“It was kind of like ‘did I just do that’?

“It was only when I heard my youngest daughter yelling and screaming afterwards that it kind of dawned on me.”



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