Magic Incanto's fresh-up win in a $50,000 race at Trentham last Saturday helped ease the discomfort her Hastings trainer, Fred Pratt, has had to endure in the past couple of weeks.
Pratt suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck and severe concussion when he took a heavy fall from a horse he was working on the plough training track at the Hastings racecourse two Tuesdays ago. He was admitted to hospital in Hastings but discharged a few days later.
Pratt has been in a neck brace since the fall and was having further X-rays this week to find out how longer he will have to continue wearing it.
"I'm not in any pain but it's just a nuisance having this thing around my neck all the time," Pratt said.
"But I suppose it could have been a lot worse. The thing that they were most worried about at the hospital was that I had two brain bleeds from the concussion.
"I wasn't seeing too good for a while but I'm a lot better now."
Pratt has returned to oversee the training of the 12 horses he has in work, lining up five of them at the Hastings jumpouts on Thursday of last week.
He won one of the nine heats that day with an Alamosa 3-year-old but now has to wait for a medical clearance before he can resume riding trackwork.
It was a great training feat by Pratt to produce Magic Incanto to win the US Navy Flag Autumn Sprint Championship Final (1200m) last Saturday in what was the mare's first race for nearly five months.
The 8-year-old Per Incanto mare, who has now won five races from 29 starts, was on the verge of being retired after finishing last of 12 runners over 1600m at Awapuni on January 9.
But her connections decided to give her one more preparation in the hope that she could show her best again and were rewarded when she led practically all the way to win last Saturday.
Rider Mereana Hudson bounced the mare out quickly from an outside draw and had her sharing the pace, wide out on the track, coming across the junction to join the course proper.
Horses down on the inside started to make their claims but Magic Incanto kept up a strong finish out wide to win by 2 and a half lengths.
The mare was overlooked by the punters, returning a dividend of $38.20 for a win and $9.40 for a place but Pratt wasn't surprised by the win.
"She is a mare that has always gone well fresh so I was pretty confident she would go well," Pratt said.
"She has strengthened up a lot since her last preparation and was 20kg heavier last Saturday than what she was last time in."
Pratt, who is a former successful jumps jockey turned trainer, said the Trentham track has been a good one for him as he trained his first winner there back in October 2019, when he prepared Shy Moon to win a maiden race over 1400m at odds of 40 to one.
Magic Incanto has been plagued by injuries throughout her career, which is why she has only had 29 starts for five wins, two seconds and three thirds.
She has a huge scar on her offside hind leg, the result of her going through a fence as a young horse which sidelined her for almost two years.
She also had to be late scratched from a Waipukurau meeting in 2019 when she injured herself during a float trip from Hastings to the races.
Magic Incanto was then troubled by tying up in the muscles and no sooner had Pratt got on top of that problem than the mare suddenly lashed out with her back legs when having a pick of grass and caught her offside leg on a fence which opened up an old wound.
Magic Incanto was bred by Woodville butcher John Shannon and Wellington's John Fokerd and is raced by Shannon's wife, Pat, along with several other butchers' wives from around the Central Districts, and some other family friends.
Pratt is undecided where Magic Incanto will start next but the mare should not be hard to place as she has won on tracks ranging from good to heavy.
No Rock No Pop now on top
Hastings-trained No Rock No Pop capped off a string of minor placings with a deserved success on her home track at last week's Hawke's Bay meeting.
The Rock 'N' Pop 3-year-old filly scored by a length in a Rating 65 race over 1400m, taking a clear lead after 200m and maintaining a strong run to the line in the hands of apprentice Ashvin Mudhoo
No Rock No Pop is prepared at Hastings by Lee Somervell and owned by Hawke's Bay regional councillor Neil Kirton.
The mare has now recorded two wins from 15 starts and went into last week's race on the back of two thirds over 1200m at Hastings, on April 17 and May 1, followed by a second on a very heavy track over 1400m at Rotorua on May 15.
"Her performance at Rotorua was a really good one because she wasn't happy in that very heavy ground but still tried her heart out," Somervell said.
"She has just got better with every start and is a consistent filly now."
No Rock No Pop showed she has trained on well since last week's victory by producing a good solo gallop at Tuesday's Hastings trackwork and will now line up in race five at today's Wanganui meeting, a $27,500 Rating 74 race over 1340m.
She has drawn the No 1 barrier and will be ridden by Mareana Hudson.
Carnaby an exciting jumper
Carnaby, raced by a syndicate that includes four Hawke's Bay people, looks to be the next rising jumping star for the highly successful Wanganui stable of Kevin Myers.
The 8-year-old Danroad gelding followed up a second and a third from his first two hurdle starts last month with a decisive 1 and a quarter length win at last week's Hawke's Bay meeting and shows tremendous potential as a jumper.
Carnaby is also the winner of seven races on the flat, the most recent being over 2000m at Greymouth in January of last year.
He was bred by well-known racing administrator Alan Fenwick, of Marton, and Feilding-based Michael Collinson and they initially raced him with Alan's wife, Sue, and Cam Arnott, from Palmerston North.
Hawke's Bay men Tony Lyndon, Peter Johnstone, Peter Unverricht and Greg Horton took up a racing share in the horse in 2017 and the horse's trainer, Kevin Myers, also has a racing share now.
Carnaby was ridden to victory last week by James Seivwright, who settled the horse in a trailing position in the early stages of the 2500m event before improving his position quickly to take the lead rounding the home turn.
Despite hitting the top of the last fence, Carnaby still had enough in reserve to surge clear of stablemate Bakela in the run to the line for a strong win.
The Queen is a racing fanatic
With this weekend regarded as the Queen's birthday, it is fitting that we acknowledge the great part she has played in the thoroughbred industry.
It all started with a Shetland pony named Peggy, gifted to Her Majesty by her father when she was 4 years old.
Queen Elizabeth II has loved horses ever since and, at 95, still enjoys going for leisure rides around Windsor.
The Queen has been actively involved in the sport of kings for most of her life and has enjoyed great success over the years.
She first became involved in racing after inheriting the breeding and racing stock of her father, King George VI, in 1952.
She is known for her near-religious attendance at Royal Ascot, even attending in 2017 while her husband, Prince Philip, was at home recovering from illness.
She has followed on from her father as a successful breeder of thoroughbreds and is the patron of the United Kingdom's Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, as well as the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.
With the advisers available to her, the Queen could very easily be a passive owner. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. She makes the trip to Sandringham every summer to visit the stud where her horses are foaled.
The Queen's racing adviser, John Warren, has revealed: "If the Queen wasn't the Queen, she would have made a wonderful trainer. She has such an affinity with horses."
It is estimated that the Queen has won close to £7 million in stakemoney over the past 30 years.
Her winning strike rate is also pretty impressive, at around 16 per cent.
Perhaps the Queen's greatest thrill in racing came in 2013, when her horse, Estimate, won the Royal Ascot Gold Cup, making her the first reigning monarch to win the prestigious race.
Even the Queen couldn't contain her excitement in the grandstand that day, with images quickly emerging of her celebrating the win with a beaming smile. There is no better feeling than owning a race winner.