Ruie's Crumpet, prepared by the Hawke's Bay partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, stunned punters when she showed a complete form reversal with a decisive all the way win in a $10,000 maiden over 1400m at Waverley last Sunday.
The 4-year-old Bullbars mare was having her fourth start, with her previous best placing being an eighth over 1200m at Awapuni on November 2.
Her debut run over 1200m at Otaki in May proved a complete disaster, with the horse tailing off in the early stages before being eased down to not much more than a trot when finishing a long last, more than 73 lengths from the winner.
The judicial report after that race stated that Ruie's Crumpet raced ungenerously in the early stages and hung badly rounding the home turn. Her rider did not persevere over the final stages and she must trial to the satisfaction of a stipendiary steward before she could race again.
Ruie's Crumpet was given a 1200m trial at Otaki five days after that race and performed to the satisfaction of the steward, finishing third out of five runners.
Lowry and Cullen decided to give the horse a winter spell and she resumed with a win in a 750m Hastings jumpout at the beginning of September followed by a second in a 1000m trial at Foxton in September, where she went down by only half a length.
However, her resuming race, over 1200m at Otaki on September 26, resulted in another poor performance. She raced in the first half a dozen until the home turn but then dropped out sharply to beat only one horse home.
The mare was given another freshen up and sent down to be trained on the Dannevirke farm property operated by Cullen and his partner Nikki Lourie.
Her last start eighth over 1200m at Awapuni on November 2 was a slight improvement but hardly endeared her to the punters and she was sent out a 30 to one shot when she lined up at Waverley last Sunday.
Jockey Holly Andrew's instructions were to bounce the mare out fast from the barrier and get her to race on the pace and she followed them to the letter.
Ruie's Crumpet was in front at the end of the first 50 metres and just kept on running, keeping up a strong gallop to the line to win by a length from Posh Porotene, with Qiji Olympia a further 2 lengths back in third.
Although the result rocked the punters, Cullen was not completely surprised by the win.
"She's shown a bit of potential at times but she has been green," he said.
"So, from the draw today, I told Holly to go forward and put her in the race.
"I did think she might have been going a bit too hard at one stage but she stuck it out well."
Ruie's Crumpet is owned by Dannevirke's Roger Jefferd in partnership with his Australian cousin Dan Morice but there were also several other family members involved in celebrating the win.
"It is a big family affair with about 20 people involved," Roger Jefferd said this week.
"We bought the horse in a private sale and it is the only horse we are racing at the moment.
"Her first two races were a total disaster but she seems to have come right now."
HB-owned gelding ran rivals ragged
He's Done A Runner, bred and owned by Pourerere's Sue Harty, certainly lived up to his name when breaking through for a maiden win at Waverley last Sunday.
The Per Incanto gelding, having his first start in a new campaign, bounced straight to the front in the 1200m event and led his rivals a merry chase from then on.
The 4-year-old was taken on by Blue Arrow in the middle stages of the race but quickly shook him off and, after kicking clear on the home turn, he never looked like being caught. At the finish he was 3-3/4 lengths clear of second placed Trendy Belt, with Blue Arrow weakening to be a short neck back in third place.
He's Done A Runner - trained at Awapuni by Mike Breslin - was having his third start after a debut second over 1200m on his home track in May and an eighth over 1200m at Wanganui the following month.
He was then given a spell to strengthen and mature and has come back a lot better horse this time in.
"He's always been a nice horse and Mike likes him but his brain has had to mature," owner Sue Harty said this week.
"He's growing up all the time and is getting better."
He's Done A Runner is a big rangy gelding and the last foal produced by the Justice Prevail mare Out On Bail, who is now deceased.
Out On Bail was the winner of three races herself and has been a prolific producer of winners at stud. From eight foals to race she has produced seven individual winners of 32 races.
Her successful progeny have been Ocean Storm (four wins), Parole (eight wins), Acquit (10 wins), Surf Patrol (seven wins), Legal Aid (one win), Justice Well (one win) and He' Done A Runner (one win).
Harty has reduced her thoroughbred interests in recent years but still retains a breeding and ownership interest in Surf Patrol, who has left the three race winner Son Of Surf as well as Flying Surf, who has recorded a second and a third from four starts.
"Surf Patrol now has a foal at foot by Dalghar and has gone to be served by Staphanos," Harty added.
Talenti wins in Melbourne
Former Hastings-trained Talenti broke through for an impressive win in his Australian debut at last Friday night's Moonee Valley meeting in Melbourne.
The Niagara 4-year-old gelding was having his first start for Caulfield trainer Robert Hickmott when he lined up in a A$50,000 Class 1 race over 1500m and was ridden by South African-born jockey Barend Vorster, who was having his first ever ride on the famous Moonee Valley track.
Talenti dropped out to a clear last in the early stages of the race before Vorster started to improve his position coming to the home turn. The horse was the widest turning in and unleashed a powerful finish down the outside to win by 1-3/4 lengths, going away.
Talenti is owned by his Auckland breeder Trish Dunell and is out of the Lohnro mare La Tourneau. He had his first three starts from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, winning on debut over 1300m at Hastings back in May.
He was then given a winter spell before resuming with an unlucky fourth over 1200m at Hastings on the last day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival.
He was then stepped up to 1400m at Awapuni on November 2 where he drew wide and covered plenty of extra ground in the running before recording another fourth. He was then transferred to Hickmott's Melbourne stable.
Pony race win to contest final
Charlotte New, winner of the New Zealand Pony Race Final at Hastings on August 31, travelled with her mother Kylla to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night to compete in the international final of the Sheikha Lateefa series tomorrow.
The 14-year-old, riding a pony called Armadale Hitari, was a three-quarter length winner of the 300m dash up the Hastings straight on the first day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival.
It was Charlotte and Armadale Hitari's 's third win from as many starts in pony races this season, following victories in the Waikato Hunt Pony Scurry at Te Rapa and the Pakuranga Hunt Pony Sprint at Ellerslie.
At Abu Dhabi she will be competing against riders from Algeria, Sweden, Romania, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the United States and the United Emirates.
Charlotte has always loved horses. Her first word was 'horsey' and she got her first pony at age 18 months. She was the youngest member of Waikato Hunt at age 8 and is an avid fan of hunting. She has previously served the huntsman as a whipper in and led the field at the children's hunt.
Charlotte has been showjumping competitively to a height of one metre and was a member of the Hauraki Plains College Equestrian team that won the Waikato secondary schools Showjumping Championship.
Charlotte often rides three or four ponies after school and has them all fed and cared for before school in the mornings.
She is also training a wild Kaimanawa stallion and hopes to start riding him this summer.
First Group win for Hemi
Central Districts jockey Leah Hemi experienced her biggest day in racing at Riccarton last Saturday.
Hemi brought up her sixth stakes victory and first at Group level when riding home Dee and Gee to take out the Group 3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m).
"This one is definitely the biggest one because all of the other ones have been Listed races and this is the first Group race I have won," she said.
It was just the second ride Saturday for Hemi, who kept her perfect record on the day intact after winning aboard Riviera Rock earlier in the card.
"It's pretty surreal, it still hasn't sunk in yet because we were straight on a flight afterwards and there were races on Sunday," she said.
"It was a great day, it just seemed to work out really well. We had a quiet week on the Wednesday and Saturday prior, so it all made up for it on the last day."
The pair had gone close to a Cup victory before, having finished runner-up in the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) behind Gorbachev earlier this year.