Multiple Group race winning mare Polly Grey is likely to contest all three Group 1 features over the Colliers Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival.
New Zealand mare Polly Grey is returning home after a lengthy stay in Australia and is likely to be seen in action at the Colliers Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival before she is retired to
the broodmare paddock.
The nine-year-old has a date with leading New Zealand sire Proisir but her connections are hoping she can snare some further elite-level success before her racing days are over.
Initially trained in New Zealand by co-owner Kylie Fawcett, Polly Grey won six races for the Matamata horsewoman, including the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m), and also placed in the Gr.2 Japan Trophy (1600m) and Gr.3 Thompson Handicap (1600m).
With the country going into lockdown in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fawcett elected to send her mare over to leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller in Australia, where racing continued.
The move has proven to be a masterstroke, with Polly Grey going on to win a further five races over the last three years, including the Gr.3 Epona Stakes (1900m), Listed Gosford Cup (2100m), Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m, Listed ATC Cup (2000m) and Gr.3 JRA Plate (2000m).
“At the time, with our industry shutting down around COVID, it was just a no brainer to send her there and it has paid off,” Fawcett said.
“She has won five races over there and they have all been black-type races.”
The daughter of Azamour was also Group placed on several occasions, including a hit-and-run mission on last year’s Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2050m) at Pukekohe, where she finished third behind Defibrillate.
“All we needed was a drop of rain (for the Zabeel Classic),” Fawcett said.
“It was about 300m away in the distance, but it didn’t hit the track. She went a really good race on that Good-3 track.
Polly Grey has subsequently returned to Sydney and, while she is pleasing Waller ahead of the spring, Sydney’s unseasonably warm weather has been far from ideal for her build-up.
“He (Waller) is very happy with her in terms of how she is training and her general wellbeing. He is just waiting for some rain to line her up,” Fawcett said.
Polly Grey is nominated for all three weight-for-age Group 1 races over the Colliers Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival and Fawcett is hoping the weather plays its part for her mare.
The first is the $400,000 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on September 9, followed by the $400,000 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) on September 30 and the $450,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 14.
“She is nominated for all of those races, but we are not going to be competitive until we probably get up to the mile on the second day,” Fawcett said.
Fawcett said they were weighing up their options with stallions on both sides of the Tasman and settled on Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir as their ideal first mating for their Group One performer.
“When we were comparing stallions in Australia at similar money, he was still coming up as the best value,” she said.
“We thought we would send her to him and give her a really good go.
“If we get a nice colt, we might put him through the sales, but at this stage, we are breeding to race with John and Margaret Thompson.”
Veteran ticking over nicely
Veteran Wairarapa galloper Times Ticking showed he is on target for the Colliers Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival after scoring a good win in a 1000m trial on the Awapuni synthetic track on Tuesday.
The eight-year-old son of Tavistock settled to the rear of the field for senior hoop Lisa Allpress, before pressing three-wide from the 600m and finished over the top of his opposition to win by a neck over Group 1 winners Belclare and Callsign Mav.
Trainer Alby MacGregor was pleased with what he saw from his gelding and said he is likely to have one more trial before heading to the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 9.
Hastings has been a happy hunting ground for Times Ticking, with the gelding having won the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) on the track last year after finishing runner-up in the race the year prior.
MacGregor has been pleased with the way he has returned and is hopeful of the horse contesting all three days of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival.
Suliman sidelined after bleed
Hastings jumper Suliman unfortunately bled from the nostrils during the running of last Saturday’s Grand National Hurdle at Riccarton and will now have to undergo a three-month ban from racing.
The 10-year-old Redwood gelding was sent south on a hit-and-run mission and, after travelling well in the early stages of the 4200m feature, he suddenly started to drop away in the last 600m and was pulled up before the last jump.
Suliman, trained by Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal, was coming off a last-start win in the $75,000 Wellington Hurdle (3400m) on July 15 and is the winner of 10 races from 56 starts, four of them over hurdles.
Meanwhile, the star jumper in the Nelson/McDougal stable, The Cossack, will have a run on the flat over 2200m at Rotorua this Sunday to top off his preparation for the $60,000 Pakuranga Hunt Cup Steeplechase (4800m) at Te Rapa next Saturday.
Another stablemate, Nedwin, will also contest the same race at Rotorua in preparation for the $60,000 K S Browne Hurdle (3200m) at Te Rapa.
One lead-up run for I Wish I Win
Trainer Peter Moody is likely to use the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2 as the one lead-up race to The Everest for his stable star and New Zealand TAB entrant I Wish I Win.
The T.J. Smith Stakes winner was given his second jump out of the preparation at Pakenham on Tuesday, pleasing his trainer and jockey Luke Nolen with his effort to win the 1000-metre heat.
I Wish I Win ran a flashing second first-up at his previous preparation over 1000m in the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington and didn’t race beyond 1200m in a three-run campaign.
“I am probably leaning towards running him in the Memsie,” Moody explained.
“I just don’t see any sense belting this horse around Moonee Valley over 1000 metres as that will just drive him mad and do his head in.
“If the opportunity was there to run down the straight like last time in the Lightning, we’d probably look at it.
“But my experience tells me he doesn’t have to be as wound up for a race like the Memsie as he would a Carlyon Stakes or the like.
“I would expect him to go to a Memsie and be very competitive.”
Moody suggested it is unlikely that the son of Savabeel will race between the Memsie Stakes, where he is the $3.20 favourite, and The Everest on October 14.
“I think he probably doesn’t run in between and probably has another trial,” Moody said.
“He is a horse who thrives on that 21-day break.”
Kah returns to the racetrack
Victoria’s star jockey Jamie Kah returns to race-riding at today’s Randwick meeting in Sydney and is free to ride during the spring carnival after the date set for her tribunal hearing for bringing racing into disrepute has now been scheduled for mid-November.
Kah intends to plead not guilty to charges of bringing racing into disrepute over images of her pictured cutting lines of a white powder, with her legal representative Matthew Stirling indicating that he intends to challenge Racing Victoria’s position that Kah’s alleged conduct broke the rules of racing.
Still shots of recordings of Kah, stablehand Ruby McIntyre and greyhound trainer Jacob Biddell were published in the media in late June, which pictured Kah using an identification card in her hand to arrange a white powder substance into three lines.
Under the rules of racing, “a person must not engage in conduct prejudicial to the image, interests, integrity, or welfare of racing, whether or not that conduct takes place within a racecourse or elsewhere.”
Due to a backlog of tribunal cases, the earliest Kah’s case could be heard was October 25, just three days before the Cox Plate and on the same day as the Geelong Cup.
Marwan El-Asmar, representing Racing Victoria stewards, proposed that the hearing could be scheduled for after the spring racing carnival, and after consulting Kah, Stirling agreed for the hearing to be set on Monday, November 13, two days after Champions Day.
Kah has not ridden in a race since March 11, when she fell at Flemington in a horrific fall which put her into an induced coma, and left her with bleeding on the brain and several broken bones.
The 27-year-old has since returned to riding trackwork and will be free to ride in races leading up to her tribunal hearing on a stay of proceedings.
She will ride the Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki in today’s A$ 1 million Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and has also been engaged for horses from the top stables of Chris Waller and Cairon Maher and David Eustace.