The connections of last-start winner Son Of Surf have welcomed the wet weather that has plagued the New Zealand racing scene this spring.
The gelding, part-owned by Hastings man Neville Robertson and Central Hawke's Bay's Sue Harty, relished the slow-7 track conditions when winning a 1200m maiden race at Waverley on Thursday of last week and a summer break for the horse has been put on hold.
"He was going to go out for a spell after that race but he likes it wet and, with the way things are at the moment, he will probably have another run somewhere before that happens," Harty said this week.
Son Of Surf followed up two fourths and a second in his first three starts with a narrow victory at Waverley.
Apprentice Danielle Hirini had the horse third and in the perfect trail before they lost a couple of lengths when briefly held up coming to the home turn.
Once in the straight Hirini was able to get a gap one off the rails and Son Of Surf drove through to get up and snatch a head victory over Satin Belt.
Son Of Surf is only small in stature and his Awapuni trainer, Mike Breslin, originally feared he wouldn't be big enough to compete when he first entered his stable.
"But he's a little horse with a big heart," Harty said.
"He's not actually 3 until the end of this month so he's still got some growing to do hopefully."
Son Of Surf is by Any Suggestion out of the Towkay mare Surf Patrol and is both bred and raced by a syndicate that was set up by Neville Robertson.
Most of the members live in Wellington.
The same syndicate raced Surf Patrol, who was a Towkay mare that recorded seven wins, seven seconds and four thirds from 49 starts.
Son Of Surf is Surf Patrol's first foal and the mare has since left an unraced 2-year-old filly by Niagara and is due to foal to Dalghar.
The Niagara filly has been broken in and will be going back into work with Breslin within the next few weeks.
NZ Cup aspirations
Locally Sauced, part-owned by Hastings woman Irene Downey and her son Josh, took a step towards a possible start in next month's Group 3 New Zealand Cup when recording a game win in last Saturday's $35,000 North Canterbury Cup (2000m) at Riccarton.
It was only the 6-year-old's fourth career win but he clearly outstayed several other horses whose connections have New Zealand Cup aspirations.
The $250,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) is run on November 18 and, in recent years, horses with four wins or less to their credit have managed to make the final field.
Imperium was only a three-race winner when he finished third in the race last year and he was one of the beaten brigade behind Locally Sauced in last Saturday's race, which was run in driving rain and on a slow-8 track.
Locally Sauced trailed the leaders in fourth during the early stages before moving closer on the home turn and out-finished his rivals in a slog to the line to win by a long neck.
It was the horse's first success on the Riccarton track, although he had been placed four times from seven starts there.
He has now had four starts at 2000m for two wins and two minor placings.
Saint Kitt swaps stables
Well-performed Hastings galloper Saint Kitt will be prepared from a new stable when he resumes racing later this season.
The 8-year-old gelding, winner of seven races and more than $170,000 in stakemoney, is owned by Hastings trainer Kelly Burne and her Perth-based son Vinnie Meenehan.
Burne has decided she no longer wants to train the horse so he has been leased to Hastings trainer Grant Cullen and his partner Nikki Lourie and will be trained from Lourie's farm property, just north of Dannevirke.
Burne said Saint Kitt was still fully sound but she had decided to cut back on the number of horses she was training.
"He's been a great horse for us and owes us nothing and hopefully Grant and Nikki can get another win or two out of him," Burne said.
Saint Kitt was bred by Hawke's Bay's Don Gordon in partnership with Little Avondale Stud and has been raced on lease by several syndicates throughout his career.
He showed good potential from a young age, finishing a gallant fourth in the 2013 Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) as a 3-year-old and followed that up a year later with a sixth in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m).
Burne decided to send the horse to the South Island last spring, where he was put in the care of Riccarton trainer Pam Robson and recorded three wins, three seconds, a third and two fourths in nine starts between October last year and March this year.
Cullen said Saint Kitt had settled in well in his new environment and undergone light work around the farm, which would be stepped up as he got fitter.
"We haven't got any plans for him at this stage but he looks in great order," he said.
Livamol Classic nears
The Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic will be part of a nine-race programme Hawke's Bay Racing will stage at the Hastings racecourse on Sunday, October 22.
The 2040m weight-for-age event will be the highlight of a reconstructed premier meeting, which will also include the Group 2 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m).
The Livamol and the Spring Sprint were among the five races lost when last Saturday's premier meeting at Hastings was abandoned midway through the programme.
The rearranged event will be run by Hawke's Bay Racing and replaces the meeting originally scheduled for Otaki that day.
An inspection of the Otaki track earlier this week found that it was unlikely to be fit for racing at Labour Weekend.
The Hastings programme will be similar to that originally scheduled for Otaki, apart from the addition of the Livamol.
The $70,000 Red Badge Spring Sprint will replace the Open 1200m and there will be stake increases for three other races.
The Rating 85 2100m will increase from $30,000 to $40,000, as will the Rating 85 1600m and the Rating 75 1400m will be raised from $25,000 to $40,000.
There will be free admission, with the gates open from 11.30am and the first race timed to start at 12.50pm.
There will also be free access to the Sasanof Lounge and Committee Lounge in the Members' Stand with the Desert Gold Lounge reserved for members' bookings only.
There will also be free children's entertainment.
Sidelined Danis scores
A recent award has boosted the spirits of injured apprentice Darren Danis.
The 25-year-old was named the Most Improved Apprentice at the annual Milan Park Waikato Apprentice Jockeys' Awards.
Employed by Matamata trainer Wayne Hillis, Danis is sidelined after a nasty fall at the Phar Lap Raceway in July.
"I'm out for the rest of the year. After surgery to my fractured T3 and T4 vertebrae, doctors told me I had to wait at least until next January to have a better idea if I can resume my riding career," he said.
Last season's leading apprentice jockey Sam Weatherley will be flying out to Algeria after his rides at Matamata tomorrow to compete in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World apprentice championship.
The Matamata rider, apprenticed to Lance O'Sullivan, will be the first New Zealand jockey to compete in the series after New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing was welcomed into the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies.
It will be a hit-and-run mission for Weatherley, who will compete in just the one race in the North African country.
"I'll ride at the races at Matamata on Saturday and fly out to Algeria on Saturday night," Weatherley said.
"We get in on Sunday their time and race on Monday. We'll then fly back to New Zealand on Tuesday."
Weatherley will be accompanied by national riding mentor Noel Harris.
The Cambridge training partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are set to add to their Melbourne spring carnival team with lightly-raced Victoria Derby hopeful Vin De Dance to be flown to Australia next Wednesday.
The high-profile New Zealand stable already has Group 1 winners Bonneval, Jon Snow and Lizzie L'Amour in Melbourne along with 3-year-old Weather With You, who is also on a Derby path.
Vin De Dance races in the colours of OTI Racing and won a 1200m-maiden on debut last month in New Zealand on heavy ground before finishing second in benchmark-65 races over 1400m and 1600m at Te Rapa.
"He's a lightly tried son of Roc De Cambes that is owned by OTI. They want to have a crack at a Derby," Andrew Forsman said.
"He's run three very good races and if he can stay he'll be competitive."