Racing: Long time between winners for trainer

By Mike Dillon

Nigel Tiley. Photo / File
Nigel Tiley. Photo / File

It's only one runner since Nigel Tiley trained his last winner.

That winner, though, was seven years ago.

Today at Ellerslie, Tiley, the former New Zealand, Australian and Hong Kong high-profile jockey, saddles Golden Downs as his first raceday runner since 2005.

Tiley joined a very small, elite group of international trainers to produce a Derby winner in his first year of training when he won the 1994 New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie with Look Who's Talking.

After winning the Sunline Stakes in 2005, Tiley gave up training after only one more trip to the races. He retired at that point with 150 winners from 919 starts, the tally including 11 stakes victories.

He has had a number of positions since, including running the Auckland quarantine station during the equine influenza outbreak and troubleshooting for Majestic Horse Floats when that company eclipsed a previous rival's operation.

He's glad to be back at the coal face. "I've leased 15 boxes in a fairly new complex at Pukekohe.

"I've got 20 horses on the books, but most of them are rising 2-year-olds, so I won't be doing a lot until towards the end of the year."

And Golden Downs today?

"Well, he had one start back in December, he finished last of seven, 25 lengths away.

"He's drawn No 1, which is going to be bad today, and the track is wet. Hard to tip him, isn't it?"

Tiley knows a bit about Golden Downs - he purchased the horse for David Cole at the Melbourne sales last year.

"He's actually not a bad little horse."

If Shelley Hale was at one point worried about pressing on with the current preparation with stayer Sum Up, it wasn't obvious after Saturday's DLA Phillips Fox Cornwall Handicap at Ellerslie.

"He's had a few issues and at one point I thought I'd stop with him," said a delighted Hale after Sum Up and rider Rogan Norvall destroyed the opposition.

Once Norvall had curbed Sum Up's tendency to lug in up the home straight, his only concern was what sort of victory salute he'd present.

It came (one stride after the winning post) in the form of a sharp punch forward with his left arm.

As he did last season, Cambridge-based Norvall had some magical moments as the rider of Veyron this term, despite being sidelined with shoulder and leg injuries mid-season.

He may yet have some more with Sum Up. Shelley Hale had thoughts of this being the stayer's last run this campaign, but if the weather stays reasonable, there is a chance the Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga could be added to the schedule.

The favourite Fromelles, who had beaten Sum Up in the Rotorua Cup, was fractionally disappointing in finishing sixth, but well fancied runners Intransigent and Indikator went well.

Intransigent lost six lengths out of the gates (he has yet to curb that tendency), and did a great job to come from last to finish third just ahead of Indikator, who had clear topweight of 59kg. Stewards issued the connections of Intransigent with a barrier manners warning.

- NZ Herald

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