The $50,000 Te Whangai Romneys Hawke's Bay Hurdle at the end of this month is now the main immediate mission for talented Hastings jumper No Change.
The nine-year-old Shinko King gelding only won by a long neck in a 2500m restricted open hurdle at Hastings on Thursday of last week but the winning margin flattered his rivals.
Jockey Aaron Kuru settled No Change in third place and bided his time before lodging a challenge with three fences to jump.
The horse looked to be cruising when he ranged up outside the leaders rounding the home turn and jumped to the front with a magnificent leap at the second to last fence.
He then only had to negotiate the last obstacle safely and, once over that, Kuru only urged him with hands and heels in the run to the line to comfortably hold second placed Just Ishi at bay.
It was No Change's second hurdle success and he has also recorded three seconds from his six jumping starts. He has also been the winner of six races on the flat for Paul Nelson, who owns the horse with his wife Carol.
They bred him out of the Grosvenor mare Grosveness, who has now ceased breeding but has also left the winners Ho Down (8 wins), No Cash (7 wins) and No Governance (3 wins).
At this stage No Change is the only one Nelson has confirmed for the Hawke's Bay Hurdle (3100m) at Hastings on June 30 but he also has several others in mind for both that race and the $50,000 Animal Health Hawke's Bay Steeplechase (4800m) on the same day.
Amanood Lad, Kings Deep and Second Innings were all headed to Levin for a jumping trial this week and may have a run on the flat in the coming fortnight to measure their fitness.
"The Shackler, Zardetto, The Arabian Duke and Perry Mason are all going to Te Rapa this Sunday and we will see how they go up there," Nelson said.
Rippin shows real promise
Hawke's Bay-owned Rippin may have only won a lowly rated maiden race at Hawera last Sunday but the way she toughed it out at the finish suggests she could go on to better things in the future.
The three-year-old Rip Van Winkle filly was having her first start for the powerful Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable and it was her first race appearance since November last year.
She was sent out a hot favourite following an 800-metre trial win at Cambridge on May 8 and managed to win by three-quarters of a length, after looking beaten early in the home straight.
Jockey Matthew Cameron bounced the filly away quickly from the barrier and they disputed the early pace before taking a clear lead approaching the home turn.
The filly then looked under pressure when challenged but rallied again, under a vigorous ride from Cameron, to surge clear close to the line.
"She can handle some cut in the track and she just kept going strongly in it today," Murray Baker said after the race.
"We think she has a fair bit of ability and could get over more ground in the future as she looks like the type who will get a mile at least."
"She will probably have a couple more runs in this campaign and then we will put her aside."
It was Rippin's fourth career start, after she initially began her racing career from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.
The filly was bred by Havelock North couple Dave and Jenny Morison, who have retained a 40 per cent shareholding in the horse.
"We race her now with some good friends of ours, Dennis and Pip Glenn from Napier and Cheryl Leonard and Kathleen Wright from Havelock North," Dave Morison said.
"They wanted to buy into the horse and so they own 60 per cent between them."
Rippin is out of the Pins mare Snippins, who recorded two wins and seven minor placings when prepared from the Lowry/Cullen stable at Hastings.
"She was a good tough mare and probably would have won more but she got an eye injury," Morison added.
Rippin is the second d foal out of Snippins. The first is Pincanto, a 4-year-old by Per Incanto who is trained at Waipukurau by Penny and Tony Ebbett and finished third in a Rating 65 race over 1300m at Hastings on Thursday of last week.
Snippins has also produced an unraced 3-year-old gelding by Not A Single Doubt and a weanling filly by Charm Spirit and is back in foal to Charm Spirit again.
"The plan is to mate her with Iffraaj this year," Morison added.
Miss Wilson headed to Aussie
Top Hastings-trained mare Miss Wilson is still on target for the Group 1 A$500,000 Tattersall's Club Tiara in Queensland on June 23 despite not having raced since taking out the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha on April 7.
Trainer John Bary has been keeping the horse ticking over, giving her an exhibition gallop between races at Hastings on Thursday of last week and another searching solo gallop at Tuesday's Hastings track session.
The Stratum mare worked in from the 1000m peg, on her own, at last week's Hawke's Bay meeting and was timed to run home the last 800m in 49.4, the final 600 in 35.6.
Miss Wilson was one of several horses Bary brought in to the Hastings track for Tuesday's track work session, where she worked over 1200m on the plough in 1:16.1, the last 600 in 35.7. She was stretching out well at the finish.
Bary intends giving Miss Wilson a barrier trial at Taupo next Wednesday and she is then booked on a flight to Brisbane two days later. She will be only having the one race in Queensland and will then return home for a winter spell.
Collett bound for Japan
Samantha Collett will be following in family footsteps after accepting an invite to represent New Zealand in the Japan Racing Association's World Allstars Jockeys' Series in August.
The daughter of former successful jockeys Jim Collett and Trudy Thornton, who is still riding, has enjoyed an outstanding season and with more than 110 wins on the board this season she holds a commanding lead over Chris Johnson in the race for the jockeys' premiership.
"It looked pretty exciting to me and after talking it over with dad I was definitely happy to accept," Collett said.
"Dad rode in the series twice in the 1990s and he took my granddad with him on one trip. He'll be coming with me when we fly to Japan and the four-race series will take place on consecutive days at Saporro racecourse on August 25 and 26."
Richardson happy with results
Despite not managing to pick up a placing at Doomben last Saturday Matamata trainer Graham Richardson was delighted with the efforts of stablemates Wildflower and Volpe Veloce, who made their first appearance at the Queensland winter carnival.
(The) Wildflower made up good ground to finish midfield in the Group 3 Premier's Cup (2200m) while a slight blunder at the start cost Volpe Veloce a higher placing in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) later in the day.
Richardson, who prepares the pair with co-trainer Gavin Parker, was looking forward to the coming weeks with the horses.
"I thought on the whole they both went very well and I can't wait to see them line-up again," he said.
"Wildflower didn't have much luck as she got well back and was really only rounding in to her race in the last little bit.
"I thought she was very strong to the line and it took Jake (Bayliss) another 1000m to pull her up. She really needed that run and will strip a much fitter horse next time.
"We haven't really decided on a target for her as there are any number of options that include the Brisbane or Ipswich Cups."
Richardson was left ruing Volpe Veloce's powers of anticipation which cost her dearly at the start of her Group 1 assignment last Saturday.
"Jake said she just got her timing wrong as she charged the gate and clipped it as it opened," he said.
"That cost her half a length and she had to settle further back than was ideal. They didn't go that hard in front so it was only a sprint home which meant she wasn't really a winning chance from that far back.
"She got to the line nicely though and she will also take improvement out of the race.
"She goes best with her races spaced so the Tatts Tiara next month is where we will aim with her now."
The Group 1 Tattersall's Club Tiara (1350m) at Doomben is the feature event on the last day of the Brisbane winter carnival on June 23.