Hawke's Bay owned and trained Group 1 winner Wait A Sec has run his last race.
The connections of the nine-year-old called an end to his racing career after he only managed to beat two horses home when resuming from a spell over 1600m at Wanganui on July 10.
"He just didn't want to do it any more," co-owner Iain Henderson said this week.
"He has been a great horse for us and given us an unbelievable ride and will be retired perfectly sound."
Wait A Sec was prepared by the Hastings-based training combination of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen and had a record of 13 wins, five seconds and six thirds from 51 starts. His stake earnings totalled more than $394,000, helped mainly from his win in the Group 1 $250,000 Livamol Classic (2100m) at Hastings in October 2017.
The Postponed gelding caused a minor upset in that year's feature event at the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, with the 26-to-one shot producing a powerful rails run to stave off the challenge of race favourite Gingernuts by a short head.
He also included the Group 3 $70,000 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham, the $40,000 Egmont Cup (2100m) at Hawera and $30,000 Wairoa Cup (2100m) among his victories.
It was during that Wairoa Cup win in February 2018 that Wait A Sec suffered a tendon injury that saw him sidelined for 18 months.
He resumed racing in August last year, on the first day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, where he finished last over 1600m. He has since been unplaced in a further four starts.
Iain Henderson bred Wait A Sec after purchasing the horse's dam, Security, from another Hawke's Bay thoroughbred breeder in Don Gordon. He raced the gelding in partnership with his Perth-based son Paul.
Security, by Grosvenor, only had five race starts for a second and a third but was out of the high-class race mare Secrecy, who won seven races from only 22 starts.
It is also the family of Mun Lee, who was the 1977-78 New Zealand Three-year-old Filly of the Year.
Henderson said Wait A Sec would spend the next few months on his lifestyle property, just out of Hastings, but there was a chance he might enter the equestrian arena in the future.
"I think he'd make a great dressage horse," he said.
Popular racing return at Hastings
Racing returned to the Hastings track on Wednesday after an absence of five months and was well received by trainers, jockeys and racegoers alike.
Twelve races were carded, the most run on the track for many years. The inside running rail was out 7.5 metres from the true position, meaning there was a restriction on starting limits for some races, but 141 horses competed.
The course proper was rated a slow-7 and most trainers spoken to were glad they were able to start their horses on reasonably good footing after having to put up with extremely heavy track conditions in the north and at other courses in the central districts.
Impressive winners on the day were Viking and Mandalorian in 1200m maidens, Red Beach in a Rating 65 race over 1650m, and Conor O'Ceirin and River Run in Rating 65 races over 1300m.
Viking is a three-year-old gelding by Savabeel out of the Group 1-winning mare Irish Fling and trained at Cambridge by Tony Pike. He was having his first start since February and had recorded a second over 1400m from three previous starts.
Mandalorian was a first starter from the Cambridge stable of Stephen Marsh and was following up a trial win over 1000m at Rotorua last month. He is a three-year-old by Darci Brahma out of the Pins mare La Grande Dame, who was the winner of only one race but was placed another eight times from 26 starts.
Red Beach was the second winner by Darci Brahma on the day and obviously appreciated the better footing after struggling on a heavy-10 track when beating only two home over 1400m at Ellerslie on July 11. She brought up her fourth win from only 12 starts with a decisive 1-1/4 length victory.
Conor O'Ceirin made it two wins from two starts in a new campaign with a strong win, carrying 60kg. The three-year-old Dial A Prayer gelding led all the way over 1200m on a heavy-11 track at Wanganui on July 10 and was just as dominant on better footing on Wednesday, scoring by three-quarters of a length.
Cambridge trainer Tony Pike produced his second winner of the day when River Run took out the final race on the programme and predicts a big future for the Pour Moi five-year-old, especially when he steps up over longer distances.
The five-year-old carried topweight of 61kg and came from well off the pace on the home turn to get up for a last stride victory over Matt Cain.
Lowry/Cullen top HB trainers
The training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have been crowned the leading Hawke's Bay-based trainers for the 2019-20 racing season.
In a year severely cut short by the Covid-19 crisis, Lowry and Cullen produced 12 winners - one more than John Bary.
The two stables have had an ongoing battle for the Hawke's Bay premiership, with just one or two wins separating them most years.
John Bary was the victor in the 2018-19 season with 26 wins, one more than Lowry and Cullen while in 2017-18 Bary also came out on top with 17 wins to 16 for Lowry and Cullen.
Both stables had runners at Wednesday's Hawke's Bay meeting but had to settle for second placings, with the Bary-trained Spydapus runner-up in race four and Red Sunday filling the same position in race 10 for Lowry and Cullen.
Hannam sidelined with broken leg
Popular central districts jockey Robert Hannam is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of six to eight weeks after breaking a femur at the Awapuni track on Thursday of last week.
Less than three years after an ankle injury out of action for eight months, Hannam has again broken a bone in his leg.
"I was just on my way back off the track after riding trackwork. It was quite early and quite windy," the 54-year-old said. "The horse just got a bit of a fright and ended up kicking me and breaking my femur."
Hannam was operated on at Palmerston North hospital later that day and was discharged the following day. He is now back at home recuperating.
Robert Hannam has ridden more than 1000 winners in New Zealand, including five at Group 1 level.
His 2018-19 season featured a new personal best with five Group or Listed victories: the Group 2 Wellington Guineas on Emily Margaret, Group 3 Manawatū Cup aboard Rock On, Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes on Residential, Listed NZB Insurance Stakes with Emily Margaret and Listed Rangitīkei Gold Cup aboard Hinerangi.
Hannam hopes to be back in the saddle towards the end of the year.
"Things are still a bit up in the air at the moment and we'll have to wait and see, but I'm picking that I'll be absolutely itching to get back into it by the end of that time.
"Racing's been so good to me for so many years, and the passion is definitely still there. I'd love to think I'll be getting back into it later in the year."