IN Racing
Autumn Racing Day 1 Review - 23 March
Burgie Wins Valachi Downs Group 3 feature
March 25, 2024
Post Race Presentation for Valachi Downs SI Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
  • The first day of the four days of the Autumn Racing Season was held under the auspices of the Hororata Committee.

  • Weather and track conditions were ideal with the latter being a Good4.

  • The family of Kevin Hickman signed off a lengthy sponsorship involvement with the running of the Valachi Downs South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes. First sponsored by Kevin, who has his roots in the Hororata district, in 2007 Kevins goal of having the race upgraded to Group 3 status was achieved in 2016. This year’s renewal was won by the very good White Robe Lodge product BURGIE a fitting result for a South Island breeders race. Trained by Brian and Shane Anderton the five-year-old was ridden by stable rider Corey Campbell coming from well back in the field. Group 1 placegetter LADY TELENA ran second ahead of favourite DAZZLING MISS.

  • The Seaton Family, another with strong ties to Hororata, sponsored the Hororata Gold Cup. Good galloper MATSCOT was backed into favouritism and prevailed in the hands of Tina Comignaghi after racing wide for much of the 1800 metres journey. The result was a fillip for trainer Sharon Robertson who has been unwell in recent times.

  • The Johnny Fresh Darfield and Yaldhurst Open sprint was another Comignaghi victory. This time aboard the Pitman stable MYSTIC PARK. The four-year-old mare took her record to five wins to nine starts and must go close to being favourite in the TAB Southern Alps Challenge in three weeks time.

  • Race 7 was the Selwyn District Council TAB Southern Alps Qualifier with the winner, if eligible, being guaranteed a start in the $350,000 feature. Unfortunately, the winner BEAU BRUMMELL cannot start in the Challenge as Te Aka Racing did not have a South Island satellite stable at the required date of 1 August 2023.

  • Former trainer John Heasley, principal with son Tom in Johnny Fresh got some of his sponsorship money back when SPARTAN won the last race. ‘Heas’, as he is known, part owns the Russell McKay and Ashley Harrington trained gelding.