The Trials ‘Report Card’

What was worth noting from the trials all over the country for the week ending 23/2/2024

Hezasweetie (3g Sweet Lou - Whitershadeofpale) Tr. A Stratford

16/2/24, back again at the Winton Raceway after already impressing in a previous trials report, sped to the lead on this occasion then ran clear of three rivals in the home straight last 800m in 58.3, 400m in 27.7. Word is that he could be sold but if he was to line up in the meantime, he will be very competitive in a maiden field down south.

Franco Nectar (3g Vincent – Nearea Franco) Tr. W Adams

On the same day, a half brother to top Aussie mare Nike Franco (32 wins + $913k + 1:48) appeared in an unqualified learners pace, led out in his heat before taking a trail, hooked out to challenge at the top of the home straight and did enough to get up, just. Last 800m in 58.9, 400m in 27.0. His talented dam herself won 11 and qualifying should not be a problem in the short term. Watch this space!

Always Dreaming (the full brother to Don’t Stop Dreaming) and Ted (3c Sweet Lou)

Both written up in the forum recently, qualified impressively on this day (16/2/24) winning their respective heats and their race day debuts should create considerable interest in the coming weeks.

By Chance (2c Lord Forbes – Livy Franco) Tr. A Milne

17/2/24, simply gets a mention as he is one of the few foals by his sire with former trainer Gavin Forbes in the ownership, led his one rival Beluga (by Bettors Delight) throughout and did enough to keep him at bay MR:2:10, 800m in 62.1, 400m in 29.8. His experienced trainer thinks a bit of him and with natural improvement, he could be one to follow when that race day debut comes around.

Dawson (3g Sweet Lou – Speights Girl) Tr. A Stratford

The promising pacer worked to the front from a wide draw and was always pacing well within himself, stretched out stylishly to come clear by 4L in the final 150m. MR:2:02.5, 800m in 56.5, 400m in 27.6 (17/2/24). Hasn’t started since before Christmas but two placings in two starts and the debut run when just pipped by Major Hot is form that has well and truly been franked since. High profile ownership group might be tempted to sell but if not, then looks a good thing to win sooner than later in the deep south.

Matai Phil (3g Washington VC – Matai Katie) Tr. A Milne

Not sure if it was the horse or the quality of his three rivals but the Milne-trained gelding soon in front and turned heat into a procession coming clear by a big margin at the line (25L) MR:2:08.5, 800m in 58.8, 400m in 28.8 and that certainly grabbed one’s attention since it was only an unqualified pace. Didn’t look extended so the next step of getting his race day ticket should be a formality, after that, who knows? This is a family that the Milne family have stuck with over the years, his dam won one but the first foal has already paced 1:55 in Australia.

Imperial Laz (3g Sweet Lou – Ice Imperial) Tr. A Stratford

Yet another Sweet Lou purchase by astute Otago horseman Graeme Anderson, qualified back in December in a 2:00MR but back here at Wyndham (17/2/24) and settled fourth of seven before improving to parked inside final 800m, took over at the top of the turn and kept going strongly to keep rivals at bay, last 800m in 58.5, 400m in 28.7. Up and going and also might be a candidate for an early sale but shouldn’t be underestimated if staying in the south.

Carolan Questro (3f A Rocknroll Dance - Averil’s Quest) Tr. R McKenzie

Cambridge 17/2/24 and the well bred filly trailed throughout in a four horse heat, didn’t wait for the passing lane but came around the outer on the final turn and was not extended to get her head in front of the pacemaker, last 800m in 58.6, 400m in 28.0. Dam won nine of 26 and $113k in stakes and her first three foals have all been winners. This filly qualified at the end of last year and looked very professional in all that she did in this workout in the hands of Peter Ferguson.

Caulfield (5g Sir Lincoln – Cosi Bella) Tr. D Butcher

Now the winner of seven after winning on both days at the recent Hawera meeting, he was back at the workouts (17/2/24) here against three lesser rivals, soon in front and as the heat progressed, got further and further in front eventually winning by an official 15L, last 800m in 58.7, 400m in 28.5. Still only rated at 57, he will be competitive in the right company and obviously doesn’t mind the grass but those opportunities not so common in the north.

Sans Repos (4g Art Major – Sans Le Sou) Tr. D Alfeld

19/2/24, the qualified yet unraced runner led before trailing Black Pearl (3 wins) with 800m to run, never got a crack in the straight and was hard held in behind the pacemaking winner, last 800m in 58.7, 400m in 27.7, officially in fourth. Qualified back in September of last year and his dam was an honest performer winning eight times in nearly 90 starts. This is her first foal and on this run could be one to watch when the raceday debut finally comes around.

Mystic Max (5g Village Mystic – Family Robinson) Tr. M Purdon

Starting off 30m behind, the Michael Purdon runner (8 wins + $180k) was soon third of five and stayed there to well inside the 300m, eased out late in the run home by regular pilot Blair Orange and had little difficulty getting the better of his rivals in the closing stages. Last 800m in 61.6, 400m in 29.5.
Hasn’t started since Dec 10 in the Group 1 at Addington (won by Oscar Bonavena) where he broke behind the mobile gate and lost all chance but his record suggests he is a class trotter and cannot be underestimated wherever he goes in the coming weeks

Melody Banner (3f Captaintreacherous – Caitlin Banner) Tr. S & A Telfer

At Rangiora on 19/2/24, the filly who won twice as a 2yo, settled fourth of five before improving in open from the 600m, led on straightening and only pegged back very late by Kaysan’s Rock who trailed - 2:00MR, 800m in 57.3, 400m in 27.6. Showed real ability in her first campaign only to blot her record by breaking soon after the start of the Fillies Sires Stakes final at Addington back on Show Day, losing all chance. This was a good trial and she will be competitive in the 3yo filly specials through the autumn.

Ohoka Nico (3c Sweet Lou – Albuquerque) Tr. D Keast

Not for the first time, the half brother to champion filly Millwood Nike impressed albeit against only two rivals on this occasion. Trailed third of three and on the last lap then came wide on final turn to run clear of rivals over final 200m. last 800m in 57.6, 400m in 27.2. The colt with the big white blaze qualified back in late January and he will definitely attract attention when his connections decide to launch him at the races.

Jay R Tolkien (3g Lochaburn – Cheyenne Princess) Tr. C & C Dalgety

A milestone moment for the colonial bred Locharburn with his first runner at the trials qualifying at his first attempt, leading throughout and not having too much trouble in holding the one challenger at bay. Last 800m in 58.4, 400m in 27.6. Bred and owned by the Chapmans (who also own his sire), the most interesting thing about this boy’s background is that his 3rd dam is none other than former NZ Cup winner Kym’s Girl. This was a very promising start for a former NZ Derby winner who has struggled for numbers since going to stud.

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