Racing: Hastings race start of trail

Babe will have two of her stablemates as rivals for the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings on Saturday. Photo / Trish Dunell
Babe will have two of her stablemates as rivals for the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings on Saturday. Photo / Trish Dunell

A group three test at Hastings next Saturday will define the 3-year-old paths of a trio of Matamata stablemates.

Trainer Graham Richardson will make firm plans for the unbeaten pair of Babe and Volpe Veloce and Tesia after the Hawke's Bay Breeders' Gold Trail Stakes.

"I'll decide which direction they take after Saturday," he said.

The Waikato Stud-bred and owned Babe hasn't raced since she made a successful debut at Te Rapa last month.

"I'm very happy with her, she's done really well and the Gold Trail's going to be a very hot field " it will give us a really good guide on her," Richardson said.

"Jason Collett is going to ride Babe, Johnathan Parkes will ride Volpe Veloce and Shaun McKay will be on Tesia."

Like her stablemates, Babe is nominated for the gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.

Volpe Veloce was a first-up winner on her home track last season before she closed her first campaign with victory in the Castletown Stakes.

Richardson was more than happy with her recent effort for third at the Te Teko trials, as he was with Tesia who finished fourth in the same heat. She won one of her four juvenile starts last season from Lance Noble's stable.

Meanwhile, the multiple winner Snapshot will also be in the travelling party to Hastings.

"He'll run in the open 1200, he hasn't quite turned in the coat yet but he's going well," Richardson said.

He was also pleased with the first-up placing at Hastings of the stakes winner and multiple group one placegetter Strada Cavallo.

"It was a very good run and I'm not quite sure yet whether she'll run there again over 1400m or if we wait for a mile," Richardson said.

Another Matamata galloper on his way to Hastings is the Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott is Gentil Tonton who will contest the open 2000m handicap.

"The long-term plan with him is the New Zealand Cup," Scott said. "He's coming along well and the two miles won't be a problem."

Gentil Tonton has won up to 2400 metres and he was also Group Three-placed in last season's Rotorua Cup.

His stablemate Willie Cazals' early New Zealand showings have kept him on course for a return to group one racing.

O'Sullivan and Scott have seen enough in the lightly-raced grey's two appearances to continue on a path toward the Livamol Classic at Hastings on October 1.

Willie Cazals resumed off an 18-month break in the Foxbridge Plate and his chances weren't helped when he missed the jump and raced keenly.

He finished ninth and was one spot better when he tackled an open mile at Hastings last month, his chances not helped after being blocked for room in the straight

"His run at Te Rapa was solid enough and we were very pleased with his effort at Hastings," said Scott. "He showed us a glimpse the other day that he's nearing form and we hope he continues on an upward spiral."

A stakes winner in Italy and runner-up in the Italian Derby, Willie Cazals subsequently joined Tony Cruz's stable in Hong Kong.

He didn't win there, but he did finish runner-up in the Hong Kong Vase in a field that included international group winners Dominant, Curren Mirotic, Empoli, Red Cadeaux, Snow Sky and Parish Hall.

"He'll have his next run in the open mile at Pukekohe on Sunday," Scott said, referring to the Karaka Classic. NZ Racing Desk.

- NZ Herald

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