Return To Racing
Big horse numbers compete
- After 14 weeks of inactivity due to the COVID-19 alert level ‘Lockdowns’ racing resumed in the south at Riccarton Park on Saturday 27 June 2020. This followed resumption in the north at Pukekohe the previous Saturday and in the Central Districts at Wanganui on Thursday.
- In what must be a record of sorts on heavy10 going 163 horses came to race in 11 races, with only 1 effective scratching above the 42 ballots.
- In the resumption phase put together by NZ Thoroughbred Racing for the months of June and July all races carried a $15,000 stake with payments back to 14th.
- The days feature was the Valachi Downs Rating 100 Handicap with the winner being the most travelled entrant coming all the way from Riverton. OREPUKI LAD carried the 55kg minimum for trainers Graham and Michael Eade with local rider Kylie Williams in the saddle (see image). The two highest weighted runners, and the only two above the minimum, NOMEN LUDI also for Southland carried 57kg into second whilst top class galloper WHO DARES WINS dominated the handicap with 63kg and gallantly carried that massive impost into third.
- Local apprentice Rohan Mudhoo rode three consecutive winners. IRISH EXCUSE for NOMEN LUDI’s trainer Ellis Winsloe, and GEE TEE ELEANOR and FRANKIE THE FOX for his employer, a very proud Mike McCann.
- Matthew and Michael Pitman also prepared two winners on the first day back winning maiden races with SHOWGEM and IMPECUNIOUS.
- The first race of the day and therefore the first race back brought two local riding legends together. Jamie Bullard, who rode in excess of 1000 winners as a jockey, has turned his hand to training and sought the services of the best of all in Chris Johnson to win aboard YANNICK. “He got it Chris rode him” was a typical concise Bullard quote when challenged postrace that he had said beforehand that the horse needed luck to win. In doing so Johnson now sits only 16 wins behind David Walsh’s all time New Zealand record of 2451 winning rides.
- CELINE brought possibly the biggest celebration to the course with the ‘Pennies from Heaven Syndicate’ managed by Club Member John Fowke cheering home their Pam Robson trained pride and joy. Celebrations continued on Sunday at the Racecourse Hotel, a great sponsor and support of Riccarton Park racing.