The Trials ‘Report Card’  

What was worth noting from the trials from all over the country for the week ending 1/3/2024

Advance Party (4m Bettor’s Delight – Democrat Party) Tr. K & F Price

22/2/24, back again at the Winton Raceway, the well bred four-win mare settled sixth of seven in her heat before getting a 1x1 drag closer with 800m to run, challenged three wide at the top of the straight and finished attractively to get home first. MR:2:02.1, last 800m in 55.3, 400m in 28.7. A last start winner at the beginning of February, any further wins are just going to add to her considerable value as a broodmare. The Prices went home with $240k for her full brother War Party at the recent yearling sales.

Both Always Ticking (parked last 800m) and Sporty Charlie (4 deep) shaped very pleasingly to place close up to the winner .

Gem’s Delight (8m Bettor’s Delight – Pocket The Gem) Tr. B Norman

This 8YO mare qualified way back in 2018, has had two foals (both by Sky Major) in the meantime but was back on the track on the same day, leading in her heat and kept going too well for her rivals, last 800m in 56.9, 400m in 28.7. Horses can't talk but one imagines ‘Gem’ has a few back stories to share. The raceday debut (later this week) will add a remarkable next chapter to this horse’s resume.

Jolimont (4g Sweet Lou – Running On Faith) Tr. A Donnelly

A good horse on the way back at the Pukekohe workouts (24/2/24) trailing third of four before improving to sit outside leader 600m out, led on straightening and untouched to stay in front MR:2:02.8, 800m in 58.0, 400m in 27.9. The winner of just two from 17 starts, his last start was a creditable fourth in the NZ Derby behind Merlin and Don’t Stop Dreaming back in December. Wouldn’t surprise if he put together a picket fence form line going through to open class.

The unbeaten Little Spike (3 from 3) trailed the winner throughout and was very good in getting within a neck at the line.

Vinnie Turbo (4g Vincent – River Polka) Tr. A Poutama

Led his four rivals and was always going well, clear final turn and impressed in staying in front, last 800m in 59.9, 400m in 29.0. Hasn’t started since March 2023 and didn’t show much in three starts in that campaign but could be ready to turn things around and does have some breeding to help his cause, watching with interest.

Spirited Peggy (5m American Ideal – Spirit Of Trees) Tr. J Young

Another who hasn’t shown a lot in brief racing career to date but on this day, against four rivals led and was impressive if staying clear of rivals without being fully extended, last 800m in 58.1, 400m in 27.9. This effort suggested that Peggy could be about to reward those faithful connections who still believe in her ‘spirit’ ! Drawn the pole at Auckland this week !

Scout’s Honour (4g Always B Miki – Georgia’s Jury) Tr. A Donnelly

The winner of one from only four starts but another to be off the scene for nearly a year, he worked to the lead over his two rivals then stuck on well to keep those rivals at bay. MR:2:02.9, 800m in 60.5, 400m in 28.9. Did show good ability in last campaign but obviously has had some ‘health’ issues along the way, good spice up some multiples when ready to resume, respect stable.

Old Town Road (6g Bettor’s Delight – Lucy’s Way) Tr. J Dickie

Only three in the heat and not a fast overall time but in the hands of David Butcher sat third of three before sprinting sharply last 400m in 26.3 to win easily. Last start second behind Don’t Stop Dreaming and ahead of Akuta in the Franklin Cup and obviously a class horse when at his best. Should not be underestimated wherever he decides to line up next (and it looks like at Auckland this Friday night).

Almighty (3f Father Patrick – Princess Sophia) Tr. K Butt

28/2/24, the well bred filly (from the prolific Abundant family of trotters) led out before taking a trail, got through to lead again when the pacemaker got the ‘wobbles’ at the 600m, cleared out by some 11L in the run home and ran 5 secs under the qualifying time, last 800m in 62.8, 400m in 30.1. Connections have produced a steady stream of winners from this family and this filly had a nice way of going, sure to be competitive in maidens at least.

Midnight Miki (2g Always B Miki – Weownthenight) Tr. M & N Purdon

The full brother to Kiss in front after 400m and defied his four rivals to run him down in the straight. Last 800m in 58.6, 400m in 28.5. Only a 2yo and although he didn’t qualify, did show enough on this occasion to suggest he has inherited the family ability. One of several 2yos from the high profile stable that could be seen out on raceday in March and one to look out for.

Beside Me (2f Downbytheseaside – Dream About Me) Tr. C & C Dalgety

The royally bred filly out well to take a trail and stayed there before using the passing lane to finish best, last 800m in 58.3, 400m in 29.2.
‘Mum’ won 25 races and nearly $1.5M in stakes and this is arguably the most commercial family running around today. Was it mentioned that she was also a 1:50 racemare ! Only the second foal and one imagines the connections have high hopes of a successful race career for this girl.

Woodlea Rocks (parked last 800m) and Fear The Pain (finishing attractively for third) both deserved a ‘merit’ for their placings behind the winner.

Got The Chocolates (2c Art Major – Kate Black) Tr. R & J Dunn

While he didn’t ‘get the chocolates’ the Dunn runner certainly impressed, raced fifth of six and must have been giving the pacemaker/heat winner Coba Charged a 10L headstart with only 600m to run, stormed home to get within 2L of the winner. The 57.9 last 800m timed off the front so the Art Major colt would have recorded very impressive sectionals especially the last 400m. He is bred to be good with his dam being a Bettor's Delight daughter of the very good Kate’s First (Auckland Cup) and closely related to the mighty Christian Cullen. Looks like the Gordon family have another good horse on their hands.

Coba Charged (2g Lather Up - Ultimate Art) is Lather Up's first two-year-old trial winner in this country. Bred and raised by Woodlands Stud he was sold through the NZB Weanling sale for $16,000, last 800 57.9, 400 in 28.8.

Allets (2f Captain Crunch – Sue Dreamer) Tr. R & J Dunn)

Stablemate of the above, with Blair Orange driving, settled last of five from the outside gate then looped around to lead with 1200m to run, had her rivals well and truly stretched before the final turn, way too good, last 800m in 58.5, 400m in 29. Eyecatching run from Justyouwait (Captaintreacherous – Goodlookinggirl) who made up many lengths over the last 400m to finish second. Another with breeding to suggest a likely racehorse when the 2yos come out to race.

High Energy (4m Father Patrick – High Gait) Tr. M & N Purdon

The highly credentialled square-gaiter (8 wins from 13 starts) in front of her two rivals and kept going too well to score without any stress, last 800m in 60.4, 400m in 29.2. Hasn’t started since running third in the Oaks to Sunny’s Sister back in December but with $155k already in the bank, her class is without question. She will be a force to be reckoned with wherever her trainers place her in the coming weeks.

Just Foxin (3g Sweet Lou – Fire Dancer) Tr. K Townley

Back at the trials (but in a mobile) after burning punters on debut (from a stand) when a hot fav but failing to begin and take any part in the contest, on this day (28/2/24) he trailed mostly and attacked the leader at the 400m, too good over the final stages to win nicely, 800m in 60.4, 400m in 29.2.
Has shown any amount of ability, with the exception of that raceday debut and punters should stay loyal to the cause if next stepping out in a mobile, better than a maiden for sure.

Franco Indie (5g Always B Miki – Idancedwithcullen) Tr. M & N Purdon

A very good horse at his best, in this heat he raced fifth of sixth before improving sharply at the 500m to take issue, pulled wide on straightening and not extended to get over the top of his rivals, last 800m 57.6, 400m in 27.6. Last start winner in Central Otago at the beginning of the year over the likes of Ohoka Connor and in this trial looked very sharp and ready to continue the good form. Has won nine from only 26 starts and should improve that record without too much trouble. Smart 2yo filly of last season Our Shangri Lana set the pace and wasn’t disgraced holding on to third just over a length from the winner

Florence The Machine (3f What The Hill – Petite Sunrise) Tr. R Houghton

The well bred filly gave her 10 rivals all a start, put in a big run over the last lap to get outside the leader and led on straightening, found one better in Bounce N Beyond but all things considered a top effort to place second, last 800m in 59.9, 400m in 29.8. Already placed in four of her six starts, the last an unplaced effort at Group 1 level behind Empire City back in December but based upon this effort should beat a maiden field with her best manners on display. Her 2nd dam the mighty Pride Of Petite (35 wins)

Mo’unga (5g Bettors Delight – O’Baby) Tr. R Todd

Started off 20m, along with Jimmy Arma, sat back in sixth of seven before improving sharply inside final 600m following the latter who had taken over, not pushed to get the upper hand over that runner final 150m, sharp 55.1 for final 800m, 400m in 27.1. Hasn’t started since October 2023 but has won fourth from 10 and has looked very promising doing so. Should not be underestimated when he launches a new campaign.

Mighty Logan (5g Creatine – Landora’s Siesta) Tr. R & J Dunn

The winner of three (from 17 starts) started off 20m but soon found itself in the trail in a field of four, stayed there throughout before challenging on the final turn and had little trouble getting the upper hand by nearly 3L, 800m in 58.6, 400m in 27.5. Given time to fill into his solid frame, he has not raced since September of last year but did show enough in his last campaign to be rated ‘promising’ at least. Traces directly back to Rowe Cup And Dominion Handicap winner Landora’s Pride so bred to be a nice trotter and with manners can do the business.

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