Thousandkissesdeep repaid the faith trainer Lee Somervell and owner Gary Hyde have had in her when she broke through for a dominant maiden win at Tauherenikau last Sunday.
The 3-year-old Sepoy filly scored a 1-1/2 length victory over 1000m and was at the surprisingly good odds of 28 to one.
Thousandkissesdeep was having her ninth start but only her second since joining Somervell's Hastings stable at the beginning of this year. She was originally prepared by Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley, who went to $55,000 to buy the filly at the 2018 Karaka yearling sales, on behalf of a syndicate.
"It was a high-profile syndicate that bought her and their big ambition was to get her into the Magic Million Two-year-old race at Ellerslie," Somervell recalled this week.
"But, after she didn't qualify for that race, and was still a maiden after another 12 months, the majority of the syndicate wanted to pull out and so the filly was offered for sale on Gavelhouse."
Wellington taxi-driver Gary Hyde, a close friend of Somervell, managed to buy the filly for only $900 and arranged to have her sent to his Hastings stable.
"When she arrived she was really poor in condition but after I gave her a worm drench and had her teeth done she started to quickly pick up and I've had her for three months now and she has absolutely thrived," Somervell added.
Thousandkissesdeep managed to beat only one home in her first run for Somervell, in a 1200m maiden at Awapuni on February 28, but nothing went right for her that day. She was severely hampered soon after the start which put her back to a clear last and never had time to recover.
The filly suggested she was ready to turn that form around when recording one of the fastest gallops in training at the Hastings track on Tuesday of last week and Somervell decided to also add blinkers to her gear for last Sunday's Tauherenikau race.
He engaged senior jockey Leah Hemi for the ride who managed to get the horse away well from the barrier and had her up outside the leader, Runthiefrun, until the home turn. She went to the front early in the home straight and raced clear in the final stages.
It was Hyde's first win as an owner and Somervell said his good mate was rapt with the result, especially as he had a sizeable bet at the odds of $28.80 for a win and $3.80 for a place.
"She is a filly with a very good pedigree and so we knew she had something there and, after her great track gallop last week, I was confident she would go a good race," Somervell said.
Thousandkissesdeep is an Australian-bred, by Sepoy out of the More Than Ready mare Cast Your Vote and was bred by prominent Australasian thoroughbred owner-breeder Gerry Harvey. She gets her name from a song produced by the late Leonard Cohen.
Last Sunday's win came as a welcome change of luck for Somervell. It was his fourth win for the season but his first for several weeks and he is now down to only eight horses in work after the owners of two of his better performed ones, Stradivarius and Yossarian, decided to lease them out and they have gone to other trainers.
Brothers are on a winning roll
After a long absence of success as racehorse owners, Waipukurau brothers Bill and Murray Rose have now celebrated three wins in three weeks.
When Happy Tav took out a Rating 65 race over 1400m at Tauherenikau last Sunday it was her second win in a row, following a similar performance at Awapuni on February 28.
And between those two wins, the familiar Rose family colours were also carried to victory by Sola Power in a 1400m maiden race at Woodville on March 15.
The Rose brothers have bred and raced thoroughbreds for over 30 years and have had some very good performers in that time, including Black Ace, Rough Planet and Kiora Star.
Black Ace won 18 races, 12 of them on the flat, three over hurdles and three over steeples. Rough Planet won 12 times and was also a very versatile performer, with four of his wins being over steeples and three in hurdle events. Kiora Star won eight races on the flat and, in his last start, he finished second behind Vegas in the 1998 Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham.
Happy Tav and Sola Power are both out of A'Guin Ace, an O'Reilly mare that the Rose brothers are still breeding from.
"We've got a 2-year-old filly by Burgundy out of the mare which is also due to start racing soon and we've got a weanling colt by Telperion," Bill Rose said this week.
"The mare didn't get in foal last year, so she is empty at the moment."
The Rose brothers have built up a close association with Palmerston North trainer Kevin Gray, who prepares both Happy Tav and Sola Power and looks after their other horses on his property.
Apprentice jockey Temyia Taiaroa, a recent addition to the Gray stable, had the mount on Happy Tav at Tauherenikau last Sunday and her 3kg allowance proved a telling factor in the finish.
The key to Happy Tav's recent success is that she has been ridden on the speed and Taiaroa bounced the Tavistock mare out quickly from the barrier before settling her third, behind the two leaders.
She improved the mare up to second just before the home turn and then challenged the leader Platinum Wild Card early in the home straight. They were joined by Princess Ani and the three horses fought it out to the line, with Happy Tav putting in a lunge right on the line to win by a nose from Platinum Wild Card, with Princess Ani only a long head back in third.
Aussie guineas win for HB-bred
Chuck A Luck, bred and part-owned by a Waipukurau syndicate, recorded a notable victory in last Saturday's A$135,000 Mornington Guineas in Australia.
The Niagara 3-year-old, prepared by the former New Zealand-based partnership of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, managed to get in the deciding stride over Power Scheme in a close two-horse finish to the 1600m feature.
It was the gelding's second Australian start and followed a good third over 1400m at Sandown on February 19.
Before heading across the Tasman, Chuck A Luck had eight New Zealand starts from the Riccarton stable of Michael and Matthew Pitman for a win, two seconds and a third.
He took out a 1400m maiden at Riccarton in October last year and followed that up with a second behind subsequent New Zealand Derby winner Sherwood Forest in the Group 3 $80,000 War Decree Stakes (1600m) on the same track.
He then contested the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November where he finished sixth but had his chances extinguished when he suffered a severe check soon after the start.
Chuck A Luck is now raced by a large group of people including the Waipukurau-based Chuck A Luck Syndicate, whose members are Ali Baldwin, Paul Beachen, Phil King, David Giblin, Bruce Hooper-Smith and Chris and Rae Walker.
Most of the Chuck A Luck syndicate also share in the ownership of Thunder Bay, a 4-year-old full sister to Chuck A Luck who has recorded two wins and three seconds from 15 New Zealand starts.
That mare is now in the care of Matamata trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander but is presently spelling after undergoing a knee operation. It is hoped that she will campaign again in the spring.
Chuck A Luck and Thunder Bay are both out of the Catbird mare Boomchuckalucka, who only raced eight times for a win, a second and two thirds.
Stables allowed to stay open
In light of the government's announcement to move the country into Covid-19 alert level 4 from midnight on Wednesday only essential services are permitted to operate.
Advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that training centres, training stables, agistment properties and stud farms where horses are in containment are businesses that may register as an essential service under animal welfare considerations.
Businesses with more than five people (including the owner) working at each business site, or who cannot achieve social distancing between staff, are required to register.
The businesses will need to answer 11 questions to provide assurance they have a plan and process to manage infection risks. Much of this will be covered in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing protocols.
In addition to this NZTR, the NZ Trainers' Association and the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Association will be providing a template to assist with completing the paperwork.
MPI has requested that all businesses which need to register do so by 5pm today, Friday March 27. Businesses will be able to continue operating while going through the registration process.
Sydney campaigns scrapped
The New Zealand government's recent announcements regarding further travel restrictions and New Zealand border closures due to Covid-19 has resulted in the suspension of all international equine flights until further notice.
The decision made by airlines to cease the uplift of cabin occupants means that professional grooms are no longer able to safely accompany the shipment of horses travelling overseas.
Among those hoping to travel across the Tasman to contest feature races in Sydney were quality fillies Jennifer Eccles and Two Illicit in addition to the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained True Enough, a weight-for-age Group 1 winner over 2000m.
The restrictions are currently in place for the four-week period that mirrors New Zealand's lockdown.