Top Hawke's Bay owned jumper Mr Mor ran his last race when finishing fifth in last Saturday's $125,000 Irvines Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie.
The horse's Whanganui trainers Evan and J J Rayner had indicated in the days leading up to the prestigious 6400m event that retirement was imminent and, although there is another open steeplechase race at Te Aroha on October 1 that he could contest, the decision to finally call it quits has been made.
Last Saturday's Great Northern was Mr Mor's 102th race start. He retires with a record of 10 wins, eight seconds and seven thirds and stake earnings of more than $247,000. He won five of his 31 steeplechase starts, banking $200,000 in that role.
The Corrupt gelding won the 2015 Wellington Steeplechase and recorded back-to-back victories in the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase in 2015 and 2016, the second one when he was 11 years old. He was also runner-up in the Grand National Steeplechase at Riccarton in 2015 and 2016.
"He's been a great horse for us," Evan Rayner recalled.
"He's owned in Hawke's Bay and winning the Hawke's Bay Steeples twice was as good as anything, though the Wellington Steeples win was a bit special.
"He was bred and owned by a good mate of mine from our rodeo days, Brian Denton. He died and that's when the syndicate was set up to continue racing him. It's called the Bogga Syndicate because that was what Brian was known as."
By Corrupt out of the Red Tempo mare Redmor, Mr Mor was bred by Waipukurau-based Brian Denton in partnership with his wife Dianne and their Blenheim-based daughter Symone Stevens.
Redmor was the winner of two races for them and she was mated with Corrupt after Hastings-based Tony Lyndon gifted the Dentons a service to that stallion.
After Brian Denton died his wife and daughter asked Lyndon if he could arrange a group of people to assist them in racing Mr Mor and so the Bogga Syndicate was formed.
Lyndon managed the syndicate with the other Hastings members being Lindsay McIntosh, Greg Horton, Peter Johnstone, Peter Unverricht and Pat and Sheryl Watson. Another member was Paul Kavanagh, who used to live in Hastings but has moved to Christchurch.
Mr Mor became only the fourth horse to record consecutive wins in the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase since the distance became the equivalent of 4800m more than 70 years ago. Master Meruit, rated by many as one of the greatest jumpers ever produced in New Zealand, won the race three times, in 1946, 1948 and 1949.
There were only two horses to precede Mr Mor in recording back-to-back wins in the Hawke's Bay Steeples since 1946 and they were Yeti in 1964 and1965 and Robert Earl in 1970 and 1971.
Mr Mor also became the equal second oldest winner of the race in the past 70 years, with Count Lin (1966), Robert Earl (1971) and Sir Stanley (1976) also being aged 11 when they were successful. The oldest modern day winner of the feature is Teak, who took out the 1974 running at the age of 15.
Bonneval's connections reap rewards
Class mare Bonneval and her connections dominated the 2017 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards held in Auckland last Sunday.
The dual Oaks winner was voted Horse of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year and Stayer of the Year. Her owners were also presented with the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year trophy while her trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, gained all bar one of the 57 votes cast for Trainer of the Year and Bonneval's dam, Imposingly, was named Broodmare of the Year.
The prestigious NZTR Contribution to Racing Award went to syndicator and Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis.
The accolades for Bonneval came the day after she began her 4-year-old career with a decisive Group Two win over 1600m at Moonee Valley. She is now second favourite for the Caulfield Cup and third favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
She is the first 3-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year since Sunline, in 1999 and the fourth successive Horse of the Year winner to be trained by Baker and Forsman, following Dundeel (2014) and Mongolian Khan (2015 & 2016).
The award winners with votes counted:
2017 Horse of the Year: Bonneval (27 votes). Also: Gingernuts (15), Kawi (10), Jon Snow (3).
NZTR Award for Outstanding Contribution to NZ Racing: David Ellis.
Champion Two-Year-Old: Melody Belle (46). Other finalists: Summer Passage (11), Gold Fever.
Champion Three-Year-Old: Bonneval (30). Other finalists: Gingernuts (24), Jon Snow (3), La Diosa, Ugo Foscolo.
Champion Sprinter: Start Wondering (50). Other finalists: Kawi (3), Saracino (3), Signify.
Champion Middle Distance Horse: Kawi (55). Other finalists: Volkstok'n'barrell (1), Thee Auld Floozie, Willie Cazals.
Champion Stayer: Bonneval (37). Other finalists: Chenille (8), Gingernuts (6), Jon Snow (3), Chocante (1), Jacksstar, Lizzie L'Amour.
Champion Jumper: Kick Back (36). Other finalists: Sea King (14), Amanood Lad (4), Ngario (2), Upper Cut (1), D'Llaro, Raisafuasho.
Dunstan Trainer of the Year: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman (56). Other finalist: Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards (1).
Jockey of the Year: Chris Johnson (31). Other finalists: Opie Bosson (23), Matt Cameron (1), Alysha Collett, Danielle Johnson.
Jumps Jockey of the Year: Aaron Kuru (31). Other finalists: Shaun Fannin (26), Will Gordon.
Owner of the Year: JML Bloodstock (45). Other finalists: Hermitage Thoroughbreds (6), Lincoln Farms Bloodstock (1), China Horse Club, Kevin Hickman, NZ Thoroughbred Holdings, Sir Peter Vela, Raffles Dancers (NZ).
Media Award: Trish Dunell, Trish Dunell Photography (32). Other finalists: Paul Vettise (12), Mat Kermeen (6).
Breeder of the Year: Goodwood Stud (Breeder of Gingernuts, Nicoletta & Order Again). Other finalists: City Bloodstock, John & Christine Goodin, Richard Moore.
Broodmare of the Year: Imposingly (dam of Bonneval & Imposing Lass). Other finalists: Double Elle, Star Band.
Strapper of the Year - sponsored by Chris Waller: Joanne Roylands. Other finalists: Anthony Burton, Masaji Haruki.
Trainers' Premiership: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman.
Jockeys' Premiership: Chris Johnson.
Apprentices' Premiership: Sam Weatherley.
Owners' Premiership: JML Bloodstock.
Grosvenor Award: (stallion earnings in NZ): Savabeel.
Dewar Trophy: (stallion earnings in New Zealand and Australia): Savabeel.
Centaine Award: (Stallion earnings worldwide): Savabeel.
NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year: Bonneval.
The top training partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman plans to have three runners in the second leg of the Triple Crown series at the Bostock New Zealand Hawke's Bay spring carnival.
The stable will be represented by fresh runners Mime and Stolen Dance in the Group One $200,000 Windsor Park Plate tomorrow week with Coldplay to complete their Hastings-bound trio.
Stolen Dance was to have debuted for the Cambridge trainers in the Group One Tarzino Trophy, but plans were scrapped due to the slow underfoot conditions.
"It would have been too tough first-up on her," Forsman said.
"We left it until late, but the forecast was for more rain on the day and she's hopeless on wet tracks."
All three of the stable's candidates are Group Two winners chasing a breakthrough success at the elite level.
"We're happy with Mime and we're intentionally keeping her on the fresh side," Forsman said.
"By the time she got to the third leg last year it was all a bit too much."
Twelve months ago, Mime was an unlucky eighth in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (now the Tarzino Trophy) before she ran second in the Windsor Park Plate and again eighth in the Livamol Classic.
Coldplay will have race fitness on her side after she was blocked for room when unplaced in the Group Two Foxbridge Plate and she was foiled by the Slow 9 going at Hastings when out of the money in the Tarzino Trophy.
"She went to let down, but she couldn't handle the track," Forsman said.
"She's come through the race fine though."
Goldsbury enjoying Queensland
Former Hawke's Bay apprentice jockey Rebecca Goldsbury is making the most of her stint with leading Queensland provincial trainer Ben Currie and may look to extend her stay once her three-month loan period expires.
Goldsbury took the opportunity to broaden her riding experience by accepting an offer to ride for Currie from August 1 after successfully completing a three-week trial in late June. In that time, she has ridden 10 provincial winners and by her own admission is having a "complete blast".
"It's really good here and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself.
"I loved the initial three weeks I had and when they asked me to stay on for another three months I jumped at the opportunity.
"I had been thinking about coming over and trying my luck in Australia and when I got the call to see whether I would be interested it seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of the offer.
"I rode for three weeks and then had two back at home before I flew back for the start of the new season.'
"I love it here and with plenty of Kiwis riding or involved in stables I haven't really been homesick just yet."
Goldsbury is licensed to ride at provincial and country meetings where she can claim a 1.5kg allowance. Once she is permitted to ride at the main city meetings, that allowance is raised to 3kg which should see her in demand.
The Waipukurau Jockey Club will stage jumpouts on the Waipukurau track next Tuesday, September 19, with the first heat timed for 9am.
Due to a large number of horses competing at the last official Foxton barrier trials, the next Central Districts trials at Foxton have been pushed back a week to September 26 in order to give the Foxton track more time to recover.