Honest Hastings-trained galloper Double O Seven confirmed a trip south for a crack at next month's Group 3 $225,000 New Zealand Cup with another game performance in Saturday's feature race at the Wanganui meeting.
The No Excuse Needed gelding finished third in the $25,000 More FM Hospice Cup (2040m), the eighth time he had returned a dividend from his last eight starts.
The 7-year-old got back in the early running but rider Cameron Lammas sent him on a forward move around the field from the 1000 metres and he kept up a sustained finish to be just 1 lengths behind the first two placegetters, Sacha and Spiro.
Double O Seven is trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, who have had the New Zealand Cup in mind for the promising stayer since the beginning of this season.
The horse showed he has good staying qualities by recording two second placings over 2500m at Hastings during the winter, the second of them behind the highly regarded Thorn Prince.
He has a record of four wins, five seconds and six thirds from 42 starts.
Plans are to run the horse next in the $50,000 Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) at Riccarton on November 10 and then in the cup a week later.
Double O Seven will be attempting to become the fifth Hastings-trained winner of the New Zealand Cup in the last 36 years, the others being Andrew, Our Boyfriend, Exocet and Carlton King.
Andrew was owned and trained by Lachie Ross when he took out the 1976 running of the 3200m event in the hands of Hastings jockey David Withington. Our Boyfriend was prepared by Marlene Todd when he won in 1984 with Mark Barnsley aboard, while Exocet was owned and trained by the late Michael Peacock and ridden to victory in 1989 by Brian Hibberd. Dianne Sergeant prepared Carlton King to win the race in 1991, with Matthew Enright the rider.
Win was overdue
Hastings-trained mare Enuffisenuff capped of a string of minor placings and repaid her loyal supporters when recording a dominant win in a $15,000 Rating 75 2040m race at Saturday's Wanganui meeting.
It was the mare's third success but her first for 12 months. She had been expected to win, when sent out favourite, on the final two days of the recent Hawke's Bay spring carnival but managed only fifth over 2000m on September 22 and third over 2000m on October 6. The punters made her favourite again on Saturday and she returned a win dividend of $3.20.
Enuffisenuff is trained by John Bary and owned by the Thoroughbred Breeders Partnership of Wellington Syndicate, a group of racing enthusiasts who bred the Howbaddouwantit 5-year-old out of the Grosvenor mare Zippo.
Top female jockey Lisa Allpress rode Enuffisenuff to success on Saturday. She settled the big mare perfectly in fourth place in the early stages before sending her forward to challenge the leaders on the home turn. Once angled into the clear, Enuffisenuff powered home to win by a length, going away.
Voodoo, part-owned by Hastings man Peter Johnson, made it four wins from four starts on the Ashburton track when taking out a $12,000 Rating 85 race there last Friday.
It was the Pins mare's sixth win in total and her second on end after she had also been successful over 2100m in a Rating 75 race at Ashburton on August 31.
Johnson is a member of the Voodoo Syndicate which races the mare in partnership with her Riccarton trainer Mike McCann.
She was ridden to victory last Friday by top South Island jockey Chris Johnson, who had the mare poised in behind the leaders until well into the home straight before asking her to sprint. Voodoo quickly shot clear of her rivals and won, untested, by three lengths.
Sure can win
To Be Sure, who scored a decisive three-length maiden win at last Wednesday's Whangarei meeting at Ruakaka, is part-owned by Hastings couple Kevin and Shirin Wood.
The 3-year-old Patapan gelding was an $8500 purchase as a weanling and was prepared for last year's Karaka yearling sales from the Wood's Hawke's Bay property. He was originally passed in for $9500 at the festival session of that sale but later purchased by Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan. A syndicate was then set up to race the horse, with the Woods retaining a share.
To Be Sure was having his second start when he stepped out in last Wednesday's 1400m race, after a debut seventh over 1200m at Te Aroha.
Waipukurau's Michael Ormsby is the recipient of the Hawke's Bay Racehorse Owners bi-monthly award for the months of August and September.
Ormsby has shared in the ownership of a number of successful horses over the years including the dual Grand National Steeplechase winner Counter Punch. He is now the part-owner of Upper Cut, who followed up a maiden steeplechase win at Wanganui in July with another victory in a 3200m steeplechase at Riccarton on August 8.
The connections of Mighty Matt have added $1000 to the stake of the Rating 65 Benchmark 1200 at tomorrow's Hawke's Bay meeting in the hope that the horse can win the 1200-metre event and then be sold to Hong Kong.
The stake for the race was originally listed at $7000 but, for horses to qualify for racing in Hong Kong, they must win a race worth $8000 or more in New Zealand. The winning stake for tomorrow's race will now be $5000.
Mighty Matt is trained by Mike Breslin and co-owned by former jockey Tineke Balcombe.