The Hawke's Bay-owned and bred mare Thrive continued her rapid rise through the grades with another easy win at New Plymouth on Saturday and is now being aimed at a black-type event this month.
The Colombia 5-year-old took her record to four wins, a second and two thirds from just eight starts with an easy 2-length victory in the $15,000 Rating 85 race over 1800 metres at the Taranaki meeting. She accounted for a number of open class gallopers so comfortably that her connections are now looking at starting her in the listed $50,000 Platinum Homes NZ Rotorua Plate (1950m) on October 20.
Thrive was bred by Ken Browne, who is a board member of Hawke's Bay Racing Incorporated. He has taken in Te Akau Racing's principal, David Ellis, as a 50 per cent shareholder in the mare and she is prepared at Matamata by Jason Bridgman, resident trainer for Te Akau Thoroughbreds.
Bridgman and Browne were concerned the New Plymouth track, rated a good 3, may have been a bit too firm for Thrive on Saturday, given that her last three wins were all on heavy tracks. But she coped well, with winning rider Hayden Tinsley telling the connections that the winning margin flattered her rivals.
"She seems to be a mare that is improving all the time, which is quite exciting," a happy Ken Browne said. "We were worried a bit about the track on Saturday but it was probably her most impressive win so far."
Browne bred Thrive out of the Paris Opera mare Trove, who was the winner of two races, and has also left Strive (two wins) and Gusto (one win).
The broodmare has since left a 3-year-old by Gold Centre and a 2-year-old by the same sire and is now due to foal to Per Incanto. She will be served this year by the exciting Wellfield Stud-based stallion Alamosa.
Not many thoroughbred broodmares have attained a record of producing the winners of 27 races but Hawke's Bay-owned Out On Bail has.
The Justice Prevails mare, owned by Pourerere's Sue Harty, brought up win No27 when her daughter, Surf Patrol, scored an upset victory in a $25,000 Rating 75 fillies & mares race over 1600m at Saturday's Taranaki meeting.
Surf Patrol had been successful five times previously but they had all been on heavy tracks and the good 3 surface at New Plymouth was expected to be too firm for her.
She was overlooked by the punters, starting at odds of 16 to 1, but produced a powerful finish in the last 200 metres to get up and snatch a long-head victory over Gold Cape.
Surf Patrol is a 6-year-old mare by Towkay out of Out On Bail and was the fourth foal produced by the mare. The first three were Ocean Storm (four wins), Parole (eight wins) and Acquit (nine wins).
A fifth foal, Legal Aid, was due to have her second race at yesterday's Gore meeting.
Harty has retained a share in Surf Patrol, who is raced by a syndicate from the Awapuni stable of Mike Breslin.
She is still breeding from Out On Bail, who has now left a yearling filly by Patapan and is due to foal to Per Incanto. She will be served again by Per Incanto this year.
Harty, who was again crowned Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay thoroughbred breeder of the year for the last racing season, has started the new season in the same vein. Surf Patrol is the fourth individual winner she has bred since August 1, the others being Acquit, Tidal Wave and Urunga.
Hastings-owned and trained jumper No Quota recorded an impressive winning debut over the steeplechase fences at Sunday's Waikato meeting.
The Kingfisher Mill 8-year-old stepped up from winning the longest hurdle race in the country, over 4400 metres at Rotorua on September 19, to score a two-length win in a 4000-metre steeplechase at Te Rapa. In doing so, he also credited English rider Charlie Studd with his first success on New Zealand soil.
Studd has spent the past winter working for No Quota's Hastings trainer Paul Nelson and had previously recorded two seconds and a third in New Zealand jumping races. Nelson owns No Quota in partnership with his wife Carol and they bred the gelding out of the Victory Dance mare All Magic.
Meanwhile, former top hurdler Morpheus, part-owned by Hawke's Bay's Sir Russell Pettigrew, broke through for his first steeplechase win at Sunday's meeting.
The Zabeel gelding boasts a record of five wins and four minor placings from 17 hurdle starts and recorded a winning hat-trick over hurdles during the winter. He was having just his second start over the bigger fences in the 4000-metre maiden steeplechase at Te Rapa and won by half a length from Old Redfeather.
Morpheus has now won 10 races. He is raced by Sir Russell Pettigrew in partnership with the horse's co-trainer, Graeme Rogerson, and Tauranga couple Peter and Lee Karton.
Rogerson paid $240,000 for the horse as a yearling at the 2007 Karaka sales.
Hastings-born amateur jockey Aaron Kuru achieved immediate success as a jumps rider when he got The Nemesis home for a short-head victory in a 2400-metre maiden hurdle race at Sunday's Waikato meeting.
Kuru, 20, was having his first race-ride over fences and it was the second win of his career.
The first was aboard D'Goldie in an amateur riders' flat race at Ellerslie in August last year.
He started his career working for Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell before transferring to the stable of John Bary.
He then decided to shift north this year and is now attached to the Cambridge stable of Craig Thornton.
Kuru is also a former member of the New Zealand Black Sox softball team.
Last season's Queens Oaks winner Quintessential and impressive last-start winner Carrick are two notable late additions to Saturday's Group one NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic, feature race on the last day of the Rush Munro's Hawke's Bay spring carnival.
Quintessential is coming off a last-start fifth in the group one George Main Stakes (1600m) in Sydney a fortnight ago and is expected to be suited by the step up to 2040 metres on Saturday.
She is the winner of four races from just 14 starts.
Carrick impressed when winning an open 2000-metre race at Hastings a fortnight ago, in his second start back from a spell, and has had seven starts for three wins, a second and two thirds.