Sydney the goal with Hail Christian
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Hail Christian made an impressive return to racing at Addington last night and is tracking nicely towards some important upcoming engagements.
Trainer Paul Court’s immediate focus with his current stable star is the $50,000 Aged Classic at Kaikoura and then, of course, Cup Week.
But beyond that he has plans to campaign the Christian Cullen entire at Menangle from Blake Fitzpatrick’s stable.
“There’s some nice four-year-old races in Sydney early next year including the Chariots Of Fire in February and then he could come back for our age group races later,” said Court.
“He’s rising up the grades pretty quickly here and I think he could win a lot more in say three months over there than he could here at the same time.
“So, I’ll take him over and get him settled in and pop over whenever I need to.”
Hail Christian has always looked a smart horse and has been showing steady improvement, running into some good form in the autumn with a win in the $40,000 Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic at Addington over Alta Maestro and Pat’s Delight before drawing badly at the Jewels.
“We’ve had a bit of trouble with him holding his weight, but he put on a bit of beef during the spell and he seems to be doing better in that respect.
“He’d gone two nice trials with quick sectionals without being pulled out and I think the race showed he has taken another step up.
“He’ll go to Ashburton next although that’ll be partly for the standing start practice for Kaikoura.”
Court bought Hail Christian at the yearling sales at Karaka for $45,000 and he comes from the very good colt family established by a rather unlikely source in Happy Hooker.
That one-win Smooth Hanover mare produced a string of good performers for the Fleming family in Wicklow Hill, Wicklow Bay, Wicklow Way and Wicklow Express and now the first three colts from her Falcon Seelster daughter Wicklow Heather have been Gaius Caesar (35 Aus wins, $550,000), Our Wicklow (8 NZ wins) and Hail Christian.
“The mare hadn’t been to very good stallions and while Christian Cullen was sort of on the way out at the time, he’d still done a bloody good job and I could see some value there.
“Our Wicklow was one of the better horses sired by P-Forty-Seven and Gaius Caesar was by Julius Caesar, making Hail Christian a three-quarter brother to him.”
Driver Ricky May completed a double for the night with Hail Christian and he also set one up for Court with Cast A Shadow scoring later also fresh up for the season.
The three-year-old chestnut colt by Shadow Play was at false odds after a smart trial win at Rangiora last week and will now tackle the Sires Stakes heat at Addington next week.
“I guess the draw (10) put a few off and all the punters seem to want at the moment is Pro Surfer.”
The Courts have had a great run with the progeny of Shadow Play with the likes of Brilliant Strike, Beyond Belief and three-year-old Stick Man and they were more than happy to take Cast Shadow when asked by Cheviot’s Emmett Daly, who races Cast A Shadow with his son, Sean.
The Dalys earlier raced RR Sand Dollar, a good mare trained by Court to win seven races and $77,000, and she was the first foal from the Falcon Seelster mare Ragazza Bromac.
They later acquired Ragazza Bromac along with Cast A Shadow as a foal and they’re racing him after he was passed in for $20,000 at the Premier.
Ragazza Bromac, from an imported mare by Fame, has since produced a yearling colt by Mach Three and is in foal to Betting Line, while RR Sand Dollar had a foal by Rock N Roll Heaven last week.