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Patience key to talented son of Galileo- NZ Racing News
16 Jul 2018

Well-performed overseas performer Giovanni Canaletto won’t be a player at the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

The six-year-old will instead be given more time by trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott with their focus now on a summer programme for the chestnut.

Andrew Scott Photo: Trish Dunell

“He’s been in and done a bit of work and we’ve tipped him out again on the hills,” Scott said.

“We wanted to get him familiar with the stable and he was very well-behaved the whole time.

“We’re in no rush and we’ll give him another month off and bring him in toward the back end of August so we’re looking at the Christmas racing and beyond.”

Scott said if Giovanni Canaletto can reproduce anything like his European and Hong Kong form the chestnut would be competitive in feature domestic races.

“He’s going to be an interesting horse over the summer months,” Scott said.

Giovanni Canaletto finished fourth in the Gr.1 English Derby (2400m) and third in the Gr.1 Irish Derby (2400m) before stints in Hong Kong with Tony Cruz and later Paul O’Sullivan.

Although he failed to win in six starts, he did finish third in the 2016 Gr.1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) behind the New Zealand-bred Werther.

Giovanni Canaletto is owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds, who also raced the now-retired 2016 Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) winner Willie Cazals. 

“Willie had all the time off like this chap is having and that worked the oracle so we’re hoping it does again,” Scott said.

Willie Cazals returned from tendon injuries to triumph in the Hawke’s Bay feature and Giovanni Canaletto is on the way back from similar issues. – NZ Racing Desk.

Mare a Beauty of Wet Tracks- NZ Racing News
08 Jul 2018Winter track specialist Sleeping Beauty didn’t let a chance pass her by at Tauranga.

She revelled in the heavy going to bounce back to her best and win for the sixth time in her 13-start career when successful in the Aongatete Coolstores Limited Premier (1200m).

Raced by Sir Peter Vela, Sleeping Beauty had struggled in the opening two runs of her current campaign on ground firmer than is her preference.

“Her two trials before her first two runs were super and we thought she was flying, but she ran into a couple of tracks that were too good,” said Andrew Scott, who trains with Lance O’Sullivan.“

Sir Peter and (racing manager) Gary Cossey have been really patient. This was her first run for seven weeks, so that was a question mark, and it’s fantastic to see her back in form now the winter tracks are here.

”Sleeping Beauty was ridden by the stable apprentice Taiki Yanagida and he had the Rip Van Winkle mare in the hunt early and she proved superior in the run home.“It was a good ride, he showed good judgement in letting her slide up to the leader so it’s good for his confidence,” Scott said.“The weight relief was a massive help, with 52.5kg it brought her right into the race.”

Sleeping Beauty challenged the front-runner Temple Tiger 250m from the post and edged clear to win by three-quarters of a length.

I'm really happy. The four kilo claim helped her and she loves we tracks," Yanagida said. 
Trainers Following Proven Process with Import-
02 Jun 2018

Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott are following a path with Giovanni Canaletto that has previously earned the stable Group One honours.

The Matamata trainers are hoping to emulate their 2016 efforts with another Irish-bred galloper in Willie Cazals, who came back from serious injury to win the Livamol Classic (2040m).

Like Giovanni Canaletto, he enjoyed a successful European and Hong Kong career before bowing a tendon and a having lengthy period of recovery in New Zealand.

“Willie had all the time off like this chap is having and that worked the oracle so we’re hoping it does again,” Scott said.

“It’s a proven process to get them back to the top level.”

The now retired Willie Cazals was raced by the Hong Kong-based Hermitage Thoroughbreds, who have again entrusted their faith in Wexford Stables to return the six-year-old Giovanni Canaletto to his former glory.

The son of Galileo was a winner from the stable of famed trainer Aidan O’Brien and finished fourth in the Gr.1 English Derby (2400m) and third in the Gr.1 Irish Derby (2400m) before stints in Hong Kong with Tony Cruz and later Paul O’Sullivan.

He failed to win in six starts, but did run third in the 2016 Gr.1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) behind the New Zealand-bred Werther.

“He’s obviously a very good horse and he would be competitive in our best races for sure,” Scott said.

“He’s still out spelling and I saw him three weeks ago and he’s looking good. We’ll give him every opportunity in the spring, we’re excited about getting him back in the stable.” – NZ Racing Desk.

Stayer all the Better for Sydney Experience- Racing News
17 Apr 2018
(Sir) Charles Road downs Ventura Storm to win the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick. - Photo: Bradley Photographers
(Sir) Charles Road downs Ventura Storm to win the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick.

Photo: Bradley Photographers

Charles Road will return home this evening after going a long way toward realising his staying potential in Australia.

His Matamata trainers believe the trip will prove a coming of age experience for the four-year-old, who excelled in both of his Sydney outings.

“We were all very proud of him and he left it all out on the track, he tries so hard,” said Andrew Scott, who prepares the gelding with Lance O’Sullivan for owner David Archer.

“He’s one of the big improvers and the trip will be the making of him. There’s a lot of improvement to come.”

Charles Road won the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick and backed up strongly last Saturday to finish third in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m). He banked more than A$265,000 from his two appearances.

“He has lacked experience and maturity, but this season he has gone forward and really hardened up,” Scott said.

“He’ll get home and go out to David Archer’s property for a well-deserved break and we’ll work out a spring plan in due course.”

Meanwhile, the stable has a number of promising younger horses engaged at Matamata on Wednesday. The prospect of a heavy track has Stella Daze (New Zealand Bloodstock Pearl Series 1600m) and Inigo Montoya (Matamata Glass & Joinery 1600m) rated among their best prospects.

“I think Stella Daze will handle it, she’s got a bit of racing and fitness on her side and Inigo Montoya raced through the summer and is still going very well,” Scott said.

The former ran a couple of fourths before finishing third at Tauranga while Inigo Montoya was a last-start second on his home track toward the end of March. – NZ Racing Desk.

Going No Concern With 2YO- Racing News
17 Apr 2018
Nirvana In Fire - Photo: Kenton Wright

Wetter tracks won’t be inconveniencing the talented two-year-old Nirvana In Fire.

“He won’t mind soft ground so it’s all in front of him,” co-trainer and part-owner Andrew Scott said.

Nirvana has won one of his four starts and recently returned from a break to finish runner-up at Rotorua behind More Wonder with subsequent Hastings winner Madison County third.

“He’s still learning and wanting to overdo things and he just came to the end of it,” Scott said. “He will improve and he’ll run next on Saturday week at Te Rapa.” - Racing News

Adkins to guide Kiwi Cup Hopes Fortunes- NZ Racing Desk
11 Apr 2018

Andrew Adkins has been confirmed as the rider for Sir Charles Road in Saturday’s A$2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick.

Blake Shinn was successful aboard the New Zealand stayer in the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m), but he is unable to make this weekend’s weight of 50kg.

Sir Charles Road Photo: Trish Dunell

“It was a little bit of a battle. Originally, Andrew was going to ride him in the Chairman’s and when he was allocated 56kg the owner opted for experience,” said Lance O’Sullivan, who trains in partnership with Andrew Scott.

“I’m delighted to have Andrew on in the Cup, he’s an in-form jockey.”

O’Sullivan said Sir Charles Road had done well since his winning Australian debut.

“He’s come through the run really, really well. Looking at him this morning, you wouldn’t think he’d had a run.”

The four-year-old, who races as Charles Road at home, will face a stiffer test on Saturday.

“The competition will be far tougher, there’s no doubt about that,” O’Sullivan said. “He does get weight relief, but we’re certainly under no illusions.” – NZ Racing Desk.

Wexford Wins Chairman's Quality- NZ Racing News
11 Apr 2018

He's regarded as one of the greatest riders to come out of New Zealand and on Saturday Lance O'Sullivan combined with Andrew Scott to train his first Sydney winner when Sir Charles Road outstayed his rivals to win the Gr.2 Chairman's Quality (2600m) at Randwick. 

A year ago to the day O'Sullivan and Scott had their first Sydney runner when Summer Passage finished second in the ATC Sires Produce Stakes but a "10 out of 10" Blake Shinn ride delivered the stable a victory with Sir Charles Road in a driving finish.

A four-year-old son of Myboycharlie, Sir Charles Road outstayed the Hayes/Dabernig-trained Ventura Storm to win by a half-neck. "It was a great team effort," O'Sullivan said. "What a super ride. It was 10 out of 10, unbelievable."

"After he ran particularly well in the Auckland Cup we said 'let's have a crack, we're not taking on the Australian sprinters'. He certainly showed he was up to having a go."

"He's one of those fast staying types that has a kick and keeps going. He can go on wet ground or firm ground, it sort of doesn't worry him at all."

"This was the first target, one step at a time but of course given what he did today, we're very keen to push on to the Sydney Cup now."

Sir Charles Road's Sydney Cup quote firmed from $31 into $10 following the victory. The stayer will drop from 56 to 50kg in the A$2 million handicap next weekend.

 The Chairman's Quality win carried Sydney Cup ballot exmeption while Sir Charles Road cannot receive a weight penalty for the two-mile feature.
Sydney Cup beckons Charles Road- Racing News
21 Mar 2018Charles Road - Race Images
Well-performed stayer Charles Road is pencilled in for The Championships.

A lucrative domestic campaign has the Matamata four-year-old on the verge of a trip across the Tasman in a quest for Group One honours.

“If he comes through the next couple of weeks well we’re going to take him to Sydney,” said Andrew Scott, who prepares the son of Myboycharlie with Lance O’Sullivan.“He’ll run in the Chairman’s and all going well into the Sydney Cup.”The Gr.2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) will be run at Randwick on April 7 with the A$2 million Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) a week later.

Placed in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year’s Day, Charles Road won the Gr.3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) two runs later and last time out he finished sixth in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m). He was less than a length and a-half from the winner Ladies First in the Ellerslie feature.“We were pleased with his performance and he’s just had a bit of a quiet time since and a freshen-up has done him the world of good,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, the promising two-year-old Nirvana In Fire has taken no harm from an unplaced effort after a tough run in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) and will trial at Taupo on Tuesday.“He was caught off the track from a wide gate at Ellerslie and that was that,” Scott said.“We’re looking to run him at Rotorua on April 2 and we think he’s in for a good autumn.”Gifted mare Sleeping Beauty, the winner of five of her 10 starts, will also be in action at the Taupo trials before her return to racing. – NZ Racing Desk.

04 Mar 2018While a number of candidates for the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) had their final hit-out at Ellerslie on Saturday, one of the leading contenders was safely tucked up back at his Matamata home base.

The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott trained Charles Road leapt to the forefront of Cup calculations with his win in the Gr.3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) on Karaka Million night in January. A handy run for fourth in the Nathan’s Memorial (2400m) at Ellerslie last month kept him up to the mark with co-trainer Andrew Scott of the belief he is primed and ready for a big effort this coming weekend.

“He has done well since his last run and worked nicely at home on Saturday,” said Scott.“He didn’t get all favours on an off track last time as the race wasn’t really run to suit when they dawdled along and just sprinted home. He showed a good turn of foot and was finishing off well, so we were really pleased with how he went.“He’s a tall, athletic type of stayer who doesn’t need a lot of racing hence we didn’t think he needed to have another run before the Cup.“He will have his last serious gallop on Tuesday morning and then it will just be a count-down to Saturday.”

Scott believes maturity achieved through experience has played a key role in the gelding’s progress after a disappointing start to his campaign in the spring.“He’s just got better and better this campaign which we have put down to him maturing as he has gotten some more racing under his belt,” he said.“He can still do a few things wrong but he has settled better in his races. I guess you never know if they are going to get the distance of the Cup until they have tried it but on what he has shown us lately I don’t think it will be a problem.“What we do need is a good draw and a good run in the race as that is the key to it all. There look to be at least half a dozen good chances in the race so whoever gets the best trip will be the hardest to beat.”

Charles Road is currently rated as equal second favourite with Magic Chai at $6.50 on the TAB Fixed odds market for the race. Ladies First, who took out Saturday’s final lead-up race to the Cup, heads the market at a $4.50 quote. – NZ Racing Desk
27 Feb 2018Stablemates Charles Road and The Mayor did their upcoming Group One prospects no harm with encouraging last-start displays.

The former finished fourth in the Nathan’s Memorial (2400m) having won at his previous appearance over the same trip in the Gr.3 City of Auckland Cup, while the latter finished sixth in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).“It was a pleasing performance from Charles Road after getting shuffled back in the running off a slow tempo,” said Andrew Scott, who trains at Matamata with Lance O’Sullivan. “He quickened in the straight and hit the line well.”

Charles Road now heads to the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m), with his connections quietly confident he will run the trip out.“You never really know until you try, but things are looking good,” Scott said.“He will be at peak fitness so he’s being given every opportunity to run the two miles.”

Charles Road is the $6 second favourite for the Cup behind the $5 market leader Ladies First.Meanwhile, his three-year-old stablemate The Mayor is an $18 chance in Saturday’s Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m).“It was a good performance from him in the Guineas,” Scott said. “He pressed on well, a solid effort from a horse who is still learning and improving.”

The Mayor had won two of his previous three runs before taking on the best of his age group at Ellerslie. – NZ Racing Desk.

Charles Road - Trish Dunell
Charles Road

Trish Dunell

Pure Champion debuts in Book 3-
03 Feb 2018

A 1400 kilometre trip has not deterred Willow Glen Stud owners Mike and Barbara Cooney who have travelled north from their Waimate farm to offer three colts by their resident stallion Pure Champion in New Zealand Bloodstock’s Book 3 catalogue.

They are the first yearlings to be offered by the Group One winning son of Footstepsinthesand.

Pure Champion Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

“We are really excited to offer three nice colts up here at Karaka by Pure Champion,” Mike Cooney said.

“They are all nice, correct colts. They have all travelled up here well and have been eating, drinking and sleeping and we are really pleased with the way they have arrived.”

The globe-trotting Pure Champion competed in Ireland, Hong Kong and New Zealand, winning stakes races in all three racing jurisdictions.

The highlight of his career was his half-neck victory over quality mare I Do in the 2014 edition of the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).

“He was such a fantastic racehorse,” Cooney said. “He raced all around the world and came back to New Zealand and won a Group One and Group Three.

“He’s been a great horse to have around, he’s a great server and good with the mares.”

Cooney will offer four Pure Champion colts at New Zealand Bloodstock’s South Island Sale in April under his Willow Glen Stud banner, alongside yearlings by Proisir, Darci Brahma, Jakkalberry, and the farm’s other resident stallion Saperavi. – NZ Racing Desk

03 Feb 2018A lean and hungry Jake Bayliss was rewarded at Ellerslie for his belief.

The Australian jockey’s New Zealand stint gained further momentum on Saturday with Group Three wins in the Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) aboard Julius and the Windsor Park Stud City of Auckland Cup (2400m) with Charles Road.

“Getting down to 53kg is the bottom of the barrel for me, but I dug deep to get my weight down and it’s paid dividends – I knew they were very good rides,” Bayliss said.

Not the easiest horse to handle, Charles Road raced outside of the leader early in the running before settling just off the pace set up by Gobstopper.“I was very confident going into today,” Bayliss said. “I wanted to get some cover and did when another one came around me.”Charles Road ambled up to challenge about 300m from home before kicking clear and the four-year-old had enough in reserve to hold off the late run of Five To Midnight and Hugh Bowman to win for the fourth time in his 15-start career.“I held him together for as long as I could and then he started to get his head up, but fortunately his head was sticking down at the right time,” Bayliss said.

Chares Road is trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and races in David Archer’s colours, which were carried by his multiple Group One winner and former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa.“It was a great performance and he’s a horse with a lot of ability, but he still does a lot of things wrong,” O’Sullivan said. – NZ Racing Desk.
19 Jan 2018Smart Patch - Race Images
Smart Patch

Race Images

A pair of talented Wexford Stables performers, one proven and the other potentially heading for higher honours, may be heading offshore.

Group victor Sweet Leader and the impressive debutant winner Smart Patch are both owned in Hong Kong, the likely destination for their future racing.“At this stage, Sweet Leader is heading up there,” said Andrew Scott, who trains in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan whose brother Paul will take over the next stage of the four-year-old’s career.“If he performs like we know he can in Hong Kong then it’s good for Paul, for us and for the owner.”

Sweet Leader has won three of his seven starts, including last season’s Gr.3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa.This term, he finished sixth when resuming and then gave an excellent account of himself when fifth in the Gr.1 Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. The son of O’Reilly was caught in the worst part of a track that had been downgraded to a Slow 8.“His run was full of merit,” Scott said. “He drew one and the advantage was clearly closer to the outside rail.”

Smart Patch is raced by Yeung Kin-Man and he was one of three winners at Matamata last week for the Hong Kong-based billionaire following early successes with Jewel Of Patch and Wisdom Patch.Yeung is the founder and chairman of Biel Crystal Manufactory, which makes glass covers for smartphones, tablets and watches and supplies, among others, Apple and Samsung. The company has more than 120,000 employees.

Smart Patch created a lasting impression on debut when he overcame a tardy start to win by a widening five lengths over 1100m.“He had been working like he was going to perform very well and his trials had also been encouraging,” Scott said.“His last 600m was pretty fast and the manner in which he quickened was really very good. There’s a possibility he may go straight to Hong Kong now.” – NZ Racing Desk 
14 Jan 2018Strapping juvenile Wisdom Patch has earned himself an outing in black type company.

The son of Snitzel produced a dominant front-running performance to win Thursday’s Baker Racing 1100m at Matamata with next month’s Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper (1200m) now a target.

“It was quite a good effort today after he did as much work as he did early and he really kicked well,” said Andrew Scott, who trains the two-year-old with Lance O’Sullivan.“He’s a lovely, big colt. He’s 16.3 hands so it’s all in front of him.”

Wisdom Patch was ridden aggressively early by Jake Bayliss to lead and they kicked clear 200m from home to score comfortable from Imelda Mary.
Memorable day for Apprentice-
14 Jan 2018
Taiki Yanagida  - Trish Dunell
Taiki Yanagida

Trish Dunel

Taiki Yanagida posted his first New Zealand winner at Matamata on Friday when he guided stable runner Jewel Of Patch to victory.The 24-year-old, who is apprenticed to Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, combined with the stable runner for a memorable victory in the Ohukia Lodge 1400m.“It was a good ride from Taiki,” Scott said. “He let the horse finds its feet and rode patiently.“He’s a hard-working young fellow and hopefully this is the start of a long and successful career.”Originally from Matsudo in Japan, Yanagida has been with the stable for nearly a year.
Home grounding to serve exciting 3YO well
15 Dec 2017

Aero De Paris will continue to learn his trade in New Zealand ahead of a possible overseas career.

The Hong Kong-owned three-year-old is highly-rated by trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, but is still very much a work in progress.

Aero De Paris Photo: Race Images

“He’s obviously got good ability and we just have to educate him along the way, we’ve always liked the horse a lot,” O’Sullivan said.

And it was easy to see why after Aero De Paris created a huge impression at Hastings on Thursday when he overcame a torrid run to break his maiden over 1400m under stable apprentice Sam Weatherley.

From an outside gate they were forced to race three off the fence without cover and, despite running wider on the home turn, the Tavistock gelding flattened out impressively in the run home.

“It was a very good performance,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m certainly not blaming Sam, but you don’t see many horses do what he did. With the trip he got he was entitled to drop right out.”

Aero De Paris was a $200,000 Karaka purchase out of Cambria Park’s 2016 draft for owner Daniel Yeung Ngai. He raced the multiple Group One-winning New Zealand-bred sprinter Aerovelocity out of the Hong Kong stable of O’Sullivan’s brother Paul.

“I said to Daniel that this horse can race for as much here as a three-year-old, the opportunities are better,” Lance O’Sullivan said.

“If he’s good enough for the Hong Kong Derby, which is what he was purchased for, there are far more chances here to get his rating up.”

From the family of the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Prince Of Penzance, Aero De Paris holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) and is currently a $35 chance.

“Everybody with a three-year-old that looks like they can stay has that as a target and so do we,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s got all the ability, we just need to harness it.

“We’d like to give him another run around Ellerslie and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic is a race on the radar.” – NZ Racing Desk.

12 Dec 2017

Jake Bayliss’ impact on New Zealand racing went to another level at Ellerslie.

The Victorian arrived last month to principally ride for Michael Moroney and Pam Gerrard and their fellow Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and the winners have subsequently flowed.

Bayliss was successful aboard the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) favourite Volpe Veloce in the Ray White NZ (1200m) on Saturday and he then broke through at black type level aboard Spring Heat in the Gr.3 Hynds Holdings Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).

“This means the world to me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in Australia or New Zealand - it’s a Group Three race,” he said.

Trained by O’Sullivan and Scott, Spring Heat bridged the gap from a last-start maiden win at Hawke’s Bay to trounce a smart field of three-year-olds.

The daughter of More Than Ready settled three back on the rail and once Bayliss angled her into the clear she quickly put paid to her opposition.

“I had to bide my time and she’s still very green, but when I gave her one around her backside she really knuckled down,” he said.

Spring Heat hit top gear 250m from home and bolted clear to beat Xbox, who did well after missing the start, and the pacemaker The Great Southern. Warm favourite Prom Queen raced outside the leader and boxed on fairly for fourth.

“I’ll talk to Lance and he’ll map out a plan, but the Eight Carat is probably the logical race,” Scott said.

“She got a bit lost turning for home and got to the middle of the track and really quickened. It’s really encouraging for the rest of the summer and the autumn.

“Jake’s got a wonderful work ethic and he deserves everything he gets.” – NZ Racing Desk.

Charles Road on Right Path-
07 Dec 2017 Loftier goals await one of last season’s better three-year-olds following a return to form at Pukekohe.  Charles Road bounced back to his best with a comprehensive defeat of a competitive Rating 85 line-up over 1600m on Wednesday to confirm plans to a future return to black type racing.

 “It’s really encouraging going into the summer months and some of the better mile races,” said Andrew Scott, who trains the gelding with Lance O’Sullivan. “Lance picked out this race some time ago and it’s good for the horse’s confidence, hopefully onwards and upwards now.”

 Charles Road won the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) last term off the back of a solid run for sixth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m). However, he failed to come up in the spring which Scott attributed to the weather and Charles Road’s age. “There were wet tracks and it’s not easy at that stage against the older horses,” he said.
Princess Rihanna Finds her Winning Groove-
07 Dec 2017

Quality three-year-old filly Princess Rihanna finally found her way back to the winner’s enclosure when she demolished a handy field of older horses in the rating 75 Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Qualifier (1400m) at Ellerslie.

 Successful on debut as a two-year-old, the Showcasing filly had failed to greet the judge in six subsequent appearances before Saturday’s contest. Those statistics fail to tell the whole story however, as the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott trained runner had competed with distinction in rich company throughout her two-year-old campaign including running fourth in both the Listed Karaka Million (1200m) and the Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).

 A fresh-up third in the Gr. 3 Hawkes Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) was followed by an indifferent run for seventh in the Listed Partners Life Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) before she contested Saturday’s event.

Plagued by a tendency to begin slowly in her races, Princess Rihanna turned that form on its head as she bounced brilliantly from a midfield barrier to dispute the early speed before taking a sit in behind the leaders for rider Sam Weatherley. Weatherley took the initiative rounding the home bend as he dashed the filly to a clear lead from where she comfortably held her rivals at bay to win by a length and a quarter at the line.

 Co-trainer Andrew Scott admitted that things hadn’t quite gone to plan during the race. “Funnily enough we had talked about riding her back a bit seeing it was her first go against the older horses,” he said. “To his credit Sam took the initiative once she jumped so well and decided to put her in the fight early on which has worked out for us. “She showed a really nice turn of foot when he asked her to go which augurs well for what she has coming up.”

Plans before Saturday’s event had been to have the filly contest the Gr. 3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1550m) at Awapuni on 16 December however Scott was keen to see how his charge came through the race before confirming that assignment. “Lance and I had talked about the Eulogy for her, but we will just have to wait and see how she pulls up before we make that commitment,” he said. “We will have a chat later in the week but her performance on Saturday does provide plenty of food for thought about how she might cope over a little more distance in her races.

“We’ve mainly thought she was a sprinting type, being quite a nuggety individual, but the way she relaxes does give you confidence she could get over further. "If they are going to do that sometimes it is when they are up against their own sex and age so there are plenty of opportunities coming up for her over the summer"- NZ Racing Desk  

Speedy colt makes early deposit-
07 Dec 2017

A hot start to Nirvana In Fire’s career has the precocious youngster on target for a crack at the country’s richest prize.

 The colt carried his trial form over to race day with a tidy front-running performance to bank the $6250 winning purse of Wednesday’s New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Pearl Series Race (1100m) at Pukekohe. Nirvana In Fire is eligible for next month’s Karaka Million (1200m) and will have another chance to secure a berth in the race with past years indicating around $10,000 in stakes earnings to be the entry level.

“We’ve got a few dollars and we’ll have to look for some more pretty quickly,” said part-owner Andrew Scott, who trains the chestnut with Lance O’Sullivan. “He needs to get familiar with Ellerslie so we’ll pick out one of the races at the carnival there for him.”

Nirvana In Fire won the start under rider Michael McNab to lead and, despite cornering a little awkwardly, he comfortably held another debutante in Scorch at bay in the run to the post. “He was a bit green turning for home, but it was encouraging the way he got away and he’s certainly going the right way.”

Nirvana In Fire had showed good improvement from his first trial, where he ran third at Te Awamutu, to his second last month at Cambridge where he also beat Scorch. “He got caught wide there and had to do it quite tough to get outside the leader,” Scott said. “He had an excuse to have run third or fourth, but he hit the line really well,” Scott said. “He’s built to run early and everything is indicating that he’s a fast-running type.”

Nirvana In Fire’s pedigree backs up that opinion as he is a son of Showcasing from the family of the Gr.1 Railway Handicap (1200m) winner Alynda. – NZ Racing Desk.

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