Hastings trainer Paul Nelson was announced as bringing up his 200th winner when Amanood Lad took out last Saturday's Koral Steeplechase at Riccarton but his actual figure definitely exceeds that mark.
The New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing records show him on 200 wins but the official database goes back to only the 1988-89 racing season and Nelson has been training horses since the late 1970s.
"I don't know where they get that figure from but I know we have trained a lot more than 200 winners, in fact I think we went past that mark last year," Nelson said this week.
"The figures don't show the 1987 records and we had a horse called Chibuku who had a lot of success that year and Storm won the Wellington Steeples back then, and other races as well."
Chibuku remains as one of the best horses Nelson has trained, winning 20 races from 1985 to 1991 and seven of his victories were in 1987.
Storm won the 1987 Wellington Steeples and was successful in three other steeplechase races before that, the first being at Gisborne in May, 1985.
Amanood Lad did create history in his own right last Saturday when the 14-year-old became the oldest horse to win the Koral Steeplechase, albeit a somewhat fortuitous victory.
Amanood Lad was right in contention early in the run home, but coming to the last fence Notabadrooster had swept to the front and looked likely to score while Chocolate Fish was unleashing a strong finish.
Just as Notabadrooster's supporters were ready to celebrate, he came to grief on landing over the last obstacle and Chocolate Fish was checked when having to leap the fallen horse.
Nelson said he felt sorry for Notabadrooster's connections but, after watching a replay of the race, he was not so certain the leader would have won had it not fallen as he thought it was starting to weaken.
Amanood Lad has now won 10 races, including the Great Northern Steeplechase in 2014 and last year's Wellington Steeples. Nelson will now try to win the big three with the horse when he lines up in tomorrow's $75,000 Grand National Steeplechase at Riccarton.
"You've got to marvel at this old horse," Nelson said. "We're very lucky to get him to train. Thanks to Ben (Foote, former trainer) and the owners for letting us be part of it.
"The aim is to take the big three and it would be great if he could do it."
Nelson said Amanood Lad has come through his first day run in great order. "He's certainly not acting like a 14-year-old, he's done really well," he added.
Nelson's other Koral Steeplechase winner was No Hero, who completed the Koral-Grand National Steeplechase double in 2005. He also won the Grand National Steeplechase with Just A Swagger in 2008 but no victory would be sweeter than Amanood Lad winning again in tomorrow's 5600m feature as it is likely to be the horse's last race.
Amanood Lad is owned by Te Awamutu couple John and Shirley Blair who have travelled to Christchurch to watch their pride and joy compete.
Nelson will have a two-pronged attack on tomorrow's Grand National Steeplechase with King's Deep also entered and the trainer says that horse has improved since his first day fourth in the Koral and looks very bright.
Last Saturday was a bittersweet day for Nelson as another of his top jumpers, The Shackler, was pulled up in the early stages in the Sydenham Hurdles.
Nelson had advised stewards that the horse had been slightly scratchy in its action on the morning of the race but two veterinary examinations revealed nothing untoward.
Rider Aaron Kuru said the horse felt okay when doing his preliminary before the start but was noticeably lame after jumping the first fence. He added that he had been unable to pull The Shackler up until after the second fence due to being unable to remove the gelding from the race clear of other runners.
A post race veterinary inspection found the gelding to be lame in the right foreleg with swelling around the pastern and Nelson had the leg scanned on Tuesday. The results of the scan will be known later today.
Overdue success for HB couple
Hastings couple John and Colleen Duncan celebrated another win after a lengthy absence when Stradivarius led all the way in a $30,000 Rating 82 race over 1400m at Te Rapa last Saturday.
The Duncans bred the 8-year-old Stravinsky gelding out of the Kapstaad mare Kapsjoy and are part-owners in the horse, which is trained at Cambridge by Lee Somervell.
It was his third win but his first since taking out a 1600m race on the same track in October 2016.
Stradivarius has also recorded nine seconds and nine thirds and is certainly bred to be good as he is a full-brother to the high class sprinter Fleur de Lune.
She was also raced by the Duncans, in partnership with the late Ada Parnwell, and won six races including the 2013 Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie.
Another half-brother, Kapsboy (by Ishiguru), also won six races while the Duncans now have an unraced 3-year-old gelding by Rip Van Winkle out of Kapsjoy also in work with Somervell.
Matamata apprentice Taiki Yanagida was engaged to ride Stradivarius last Saturday and the young Japanese rider, who is attached to the Matamata stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, upstaged his employers in the race.
The O'Sullivan/Scott representative Andoyas was an eye-catching second in the hands of experienced jockey Michael Coleman, flashing home late from near last on the home turn.
"Credit to Taiki as I told him if he was going to lead he had to be a length clear so they wouldn't niggle at him," said Somervell.
"At Rotorua last time he got taken on and he just can't relax. This was a lovely ride and the ride of a boy destined to go places."
Injury knocks Upper Cut out
Outstanding jumper Upper Cut, part-owned by Waipukurau's Michael Ormsby, is likely to have run his last race after suffering a flexor tendon rupture in a foreleg during the running of last Saturday's Koral Steeplechase at Riccarton.
Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan had been hoping to give the horse a chance at a third Grand National Steeplechase success this weekend but those plans were scuttled.
Rider Matthew Cropp had to pull the Yamanin Vital 12-year-old up after jumping the fence with 800 metres to run in the Koral Steeplechase (4250m).
"It's a shame as he was travelling alright until then," Oulaghan said. "It's probably career-ending for him. He'll be out for 12 months and will probably be too old to bring him back."
Upper Cut was runner-up in the 2016 Koral Steeplechase before backing up to win the Grand National Steeplechase and last year he was fourth in the Koral before his hard-fought win over Kina Win in the Grand National a week later.
He is the winner of nine races in total, one over hurdles and five in steeplechases.
Nominations called for awards
This year's Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay racing and breeding awards function will be held on Friday, August 31, and the Hawke's Bay Breeders' Association are requesting nominations for the following awards.
* Jimmy Choux 3YO Of The Year (Criteria – Highest earning 3YO bred by a HB/PB Breeder in the 2017/2018 season)
* HB/PB Breeder of the Year with the most Wins Award (Criteria – Awarded to the HB/PB based breeder with the most wins in the 2017/2018 season by progeny bred)
* Group and Listed Awards (Criteria – Awarded to the HB/PB based breeders of horses that have won black type races in the 2017/2018 season)
* HB/PB Breeder of the Year (points) (Criteria – Awarded to the HB/PB based breeder who recorded the most points based on the performances of horses they have bred in the 2017/2018 Racing Season. Group 1 win – 10 points. Group 2 win – 8 points, Group 3 win or Prestige jumping race – 6 points. Listed win – 4 points. Any other win – 2 points)
* HB/PB Broodmare of the Year (Criteria – The mare owned in the HB/PB districts whose progeny has recorded the most success at black type level. Judged by the Keeper of the Stud Book)
If you have bred (by yourself or in partnership) any horse which raced and won during the 2017/2018 racing season which you would like to be considered for an award, please phone Sharyn Craig (027 499 9084) or email email@example.com to nominate.
Nominations must be received by 5pm Wednesday, August 15, and you must be a financial member of the Breeders Association to be eligible.
Sir Nate on track for HB event
Promising 3-year-old Sir Nate is likely to kick off a fresh campaign in the Listed $50,000 El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) on the first day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, on September 1.
The son of Nadeem put himself in contention for early season feature races when winning an open 850m heat at last week's Foxton trials at last week's Foxton trials.
It was the horse's first public appearance since his eye-catching third behind Avantage and Melt in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni on March 31.
"It was a bit of a surprise," trainer Lisa Latta said. "He's coming up well and he'll probably go to that 3-year-old race on the first day at Hastings."
If he performs well in that race he will be back at Hastings for the Group 2 $100,000 Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m) on October 6.
Sir Nate, who is part-owned by Hastings woman Katherine Donoghue and Havelock North's Merv Dudley, has won three of his six starts, including the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham.