Trainer Lee Somervell chalked up win No 1 from his new Hastings base when Soroc scored an impressive all the way victory at Awapuni last Saturday.

Somervell, who trained successfully at Cambridge for many years, moved south at the beginning of last month and has leased the stables formerly used by Dianne Sergeant, about 3km from the Hastings racecourse.

Somervell has 14 horses in work, which is about as many as he wants, and said they have all settled in well in their new environment.

"The set up where we are is perfect, with good stables, yards and paddocks and the most satisfying thing is that horses are really doing well," Somervell said this week.


"It's lovely to kick it all off with an early win from our new Hastings base."

Somervell took two horses to last Saturday's Feilding meeting and picked up a win with Soroc and a good second placing with One Prize One Goal.

Jockey Leah Hemi rated Soroc perfectly in front in the Rating 72 race over 1400m and they never looked like being headed.

The Roc De Cambes 6-year-old rounded the home bend with a two length advantage on his rivals and kept up a strong run to the line to score by three-quarters of a length from Secret Allure.

It was Soroc's fourth win from only 20 starts and he has also recorded three seconds and two thirds.

"He's always been a very good galloper but unfortunately he has problems with his joints and so we can't race him that often," Somervell said.

"He's a horse that can operate on all types of tracks and when he's right he's very hard to head off.

"Leah Hemi gets on well with him and rated him well. She managed to give him a breather mid-race and that enabled him to finish the race off strongly."


Soroc is raced by a large group of owners, most of whom live in the Waikato and Auckland areas.

The syndicate is managed by Karen Remetis, who bred the horse and is president of the Matamata branch of the New Zealand Racehorse Owners Federation.

Somervell said he doesn't know where Soroc will race next but it probably won't be for at least a month.

"With the way his joints are we have to give him four to six weeks between races," he added.

Somervell was also pleased with One Prize One Goal's performance in finishing second in the Rating 65 race over 1400m, where he went down by only half a length behind Father Lenihan.

"He was a bit unlucky not to win as his jockey Rosie Myers said he got held up for a few strides but the most satisfying thing with him was that he settled well in the race and finished it off well," Somervell said.

Hastings pair primed for 1000 Guineas

Hastings-trained fillies Xpression and Mohaka are continuing to thrive at their temporary base in Christchurch ahead of next week's Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.

Co-trainer Guy Lowry said this week the stablemates have done so well that Xpression was given a 900m trial at Motukarara yesterday and both horses are likely to have their work stepped up before next week's 1600m feature.

Xpression is coming off a last start win in the Group 3 Barnswood Farms Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton on October 20 and that followed a close second behind Avantage in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings on September 22.

The Showcasing filly has had only five starts for three wins, a second and a third.

Mohaka is still a maiden after four starts but the Nadeem filly has not finished further back than third and was a last start third in the Listed Zacinto Stakes (1600m) on the Riccarton track.

Last season's leading jockey Samantha Collett will again team up with Xpression in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas while Jake Bayliss has been booked to ride Mohaka.

King Louis draws wide in guineas

Hastings-trained King Louis has to overcome a wide barrier draw in tomorrow's Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand 2000 Guineas as he attempts to credit John Bary with a second success in the 1600m feature.

The Equiano gelding will jump from barrier 12 in the 13 horse field and will be opposed by an outstanding line up of 3-year-olds.

King Louis was floated down to Christchurch last weekend following an easy last start win in 1350m maiden race at Waipukurau on October 25.

That success followed a game third in the Group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings on October 6.

Bary prepared Jimmy Choux to win the 2010 New Zealand 2000 Guineas. It was the first of five Group 1 victories the horse achieved before he was retired to stud.

Racing stalwart farewelled

Roger Britten, who died in Hastings last Saturday, was a passionate racehorse owner and a great supporter of the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.

Brittin, who was 78, was born and raised in Hastings and lived here for most of his life.

He became a highly successful builder, operating for years in partnership with close friend Brian Williams before branching out on his own.

He was one of the original members of the Storming Home Syndicate, a group that raced a number of horses from the Lowry/Cullen stable.

he syndicate had early success with Scareaway, Shezenthusiastic and Elusive Dreams (four wins) but it was in more recent years that they raced a good one in Savvy Dreams, who was a daughter of Elusive Dreams.

The Savabeel mare won only two races but finished third in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks as a 3-year-old and fourth in both the Group 1 South Australian Derby in Adelaide and the Group 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham.

Lowry said this week that Roger Brittin was not only a close friend but also a huge help at the Game Lodge Stables that he and Cullen operated.

"He would turn up just about every day and just do things around the stable. He just wanted to help out and loved being around the horses," Lowry said.

A service, attended by hundreds of people, was held for Brittin at Sileni Estate Winery on Wednesday.

Mare now aimed at Captain Cook

Ruakaka galloper Danzdanzdance's imminent return could spell danger for her opposition heading into summer.

The dual Group 1 placegetter has been out for a light freshen-up after running third in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on October 6 and her connections are eyeing more Group 1 spoils with the 4-year-old mare.

"She will be back in the stable this week," said Chris Gibbs, who trains in partnership with Michelle Bradley.

"She has been at Kylie Bax's for a little break and she's been in work for the last two weeks.

"She is maturing a lot. We made the conscious decision to wait and head for the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham on December 8, so we'll head down that path

"Races like the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie are also on her target list."

Horse ambulance in operation

The New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust is thrilled to announce that the first horse ambulance will be in use this weekend.

The ambulance has been assigned to the Canterbury region and will start operations through all the equine meetings during Cup Week, initially at the Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas meeting at Riccarton Park tomorrow and then the Christch­urch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup meeting next Tuesday.

The New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust is a collaboration between New Zealand Equine Veterinary Association, the Racing Integrity Unit, NZ Thoroughbred Racing and Harness Racing New Zealand.

It was formed with the objective of funding, procuring, main­taining and ensuring the operation of a fleet of equine ambulances that will contribute to the health and welfare of horses across New Zealand.

The initial fleet will comprise five ambulances.

The Canterbury region ambulance was funded by a donation from well known racing identities Kevin and Jo Hickman, through Valachi Racing.

The horse ambulances feature the latest technology in equine first aid tools and capability, and are constructed in Dunedin.

The ambulances include a full hydraulic suspension system, which allows the ambulance to be completely lowered to the ground, full limb supports and stow away crush which allows minimal distress upon loading and transportation.