Two successful Hastings trainers, Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal, have joined forces in a partnership and will have their first runners together at Te Rapa this Saturday.
Nelson said the necessary paperwork was completed last weekend and the new partnership came into being from May 1.
Nelson has been one of Hawke's Bay's top trainers for many years, concentrating mainly on jumpers but also achieving great success with flat performers and has posted 24 wins in Group or Listed events. He has produced more than 210 winners since he started training in the mid-1970s, with his first major success being the 1987 Wellington Steeplechase with Storm.
He has since won most of the feature jumping races on the New Zealand racing calendar, many of them several times, and recently brought up a first when No Change dead-heated for a win in a Jumpers' Highweight at Whanganui. He had never before been involved in a dead-heat decision.
McDougal has worked, off and on, for Nelson for the past 20 years and has been a regular employee at his Air Hill Station property for the past four. She has also been a licensed trainer for 15 years and has produced 17 winners in her own right.
Her first win was when Kipling was third past the post in a maiden highweight over 1600m at Hastings in April, 2007, but later promoted to first after suffering interference from the first two horses in the final stages. Her biggest training feat to date was when she recorded a winning double, with Noess and Our Destiny, at Foxton in May 2011.
McDougal has only trained one or two horses in recent years as she has battled debilitating health issues. She has undergone a kidney transplant and has had to endure regular dialysis treatment.
However it has not stopped her from fulfilling her life-long ambition to be involved with thoroughbreds, whether she be training them or just riding work.
Her last win was with Tavijazz in a 1200m maiden race at Woodville in January last year and she broke new ground that day as it was the first time she had trained a horse to win at a distance less than 1600m.
Paul Nelson said this week he was looking forward to training in partnership with McDougal, whom he says is a great worker and a very competent horsewoman.
"Corrina has worked for me for a long time and it is probably time she was given a bit more responsibility," Nelson said.
"She certainly deserves it after all she has been through."
The Nelson/McDougal partnership will have four starters at Saturday's Waikato meeting at Te Rapa.
No Change will have another run on the flat before he resumes over fences when he lines up in the Rating 82 race over 2200m, with talented apprentice Ryan Elliot booked to ride him.
The well performed jumper Perry Mason will have his first jumping race since finishing second in last year's Great Northern Steeplechase (6300m) at Te Aroha when he lines up in the Restricted Open Hurdle over 2800m while Zardetto will contest the Restricted Open Steeplechase over 3900m. Aaron Kuru has been booked to ride both horses.
Look Out, who is the winner of three races from 15 starts, will have his second start back from a lengthy spell in the Rating 72 1600.
Tuigirl looks headed for bigger things
Hastings trainer Guy Lowry has high hopes for Tuigirl, a 3-year-old who scored an impressive maiden win over 1600m at Hastings last Saturday.
Lowry, who trains in partnership with Grant Cullen, thought the Niagara filly would perform well but was worried the track might have been a bit too firm for her and she had also drawn the extreme outside barrier.
"I was a bit worried that the track wasn't wet enough her and the wide draw was going to make it difficult," Lowry said.
"She was always going to go back from the draw but then she was going to need some luck."
Jockey Rosie Myers produced the ride of the day in getting Tuigirl home first. She took a hold of the horse at the jump and brought her across from the wide draw to settle second last in the early stages and saved every inch of ground.
As the runners in front of her started to move away from the fence coming to the home turn Myers stuck to the fence on Tuigirl and made up many lengths to be just behind the leaders on straightening up.
Tuigirl still had plenty of work to do but once Myers angled her to the outside to give her clear running she finished strongly to get up and win by a long neck.
The race resulted in a Hastings quinella with the Lee Somervell-trained Sheer Elegance finishing second, 1-1/2 lengths ahead of third placed Choulee.
Tuigirl is owned by her Taradale breeder Bruce Lumsden and is out of the Kaaptive Edition mare Miss Tui, who won five races in Australia from 800m to 1600m.
Miss Tui is now deceased but Lumsden and close friend John Best have bred two other 2-year-olds by Niagara who are now in work with Lowry and Cullen. One is out of the Volksraad mare Belfast Babe and the other is out of the Black Minnaloushe mare Little Hazel. Both had their first serious assignments when they contested a 750m jumpout at Hastings last Monday.
Tuigirl may now be stepped up to 1800m in a Rating 65 race at New Plymouth on May 11.
Dee kicks home $A1million race winner
Former Hastings-based jockey Michael Dee brought up the biggest prizemoney win of his career when he steered Prince Of Sussex to a decisive 1-3/4 length win in the $A1million "The Showdown", feature race at last Saturday's Caulfield meeting.
Dee, 23, began his apprenticeship from the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen before a stint with Whanganui trainer Kevin Myers.
He then left for Australia where he completed his apprenticeship with Caulfield trainer Mick Price and has now ridden more than 300 winners, three of them at Group 1 level.
Saturday's 1200m race, restricted to the 2-year-old progeny of Victorian-based stallions nominated for the VOBIS Sires annual race series, attracted a maximum field of 16 runners but was touted as a two-horse race between the Matt Laurie-trained Prince Of Sussex and Sartorial Splendor from the John Sadler stable.
The result was especially significant for Michael Dee, who had the option of riding either Prince Of Sussex or Sartorial Splendor having partnered both juveniles to victory last time out. But his decision was handsomely vindicated by the winner, who weaved his way towards the inside rail turning for home and quickened up smartly before being eased close to the line.
I Am Invincible fee A$247,500
Yarraman Park Stud sire I Am Invincible will stand for an increased fee of A$247,500 (inc GST) in 2019, making him the most expensive advertised sire in Australia.
The son of Invincible Spirit looks poised to break all records with over three months left of the current campaign, while he also sits top of the leading sires' table by winners, with 152 successes to his name.
The remarkable rise of Yarraman's flagship sire is no better illustrated than through a look at his fee history, with the now 14-year-old standing his first four seasons for a fee of $11,000 (inc GST).
His is currently enjoying a red-letter year with his progeny, having recently equalled the record set by Danehill (Danzig) and his grandson Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) for the most stakes winners (26) in a single season.
Two-pronged attack on Queensland Derby
Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are likely to have a small, but select team at the Queensland winter carnival, with progressive 3-year-olds Lord Arthur and Bobby Dee on a path towards the Group 1 $A600,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
The pair were last seen in the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie a fortnight ago, where Lord Arthur stormed home from the rear of the field to land the spoils, while Bobby Dee finished a game third.
Baker said Lord Arthur will run in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) on May 25 at Eagle Farm, the traditional lead-up to the Queensland Derby.
"It was a good win in the Championship Stakes and I think he really appreciated the good tempo of the race. He came from a long way back," he said.
"He will probably run in the Grand Prix. It is good to have these races back at Eagle Farm, they all get a chance there on what is a roomy track."
Travelling companion Bobby Dee is another 3-year-old that Baker has a good opinion of and he will have one more hit-out before joining Lord Arthur on the flight to Queensland on May 12.
The son of Zed was fourth in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) before finishing a solid sixth in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at the beginning of March.
"He will be on the same path but he is running at Te Rapa this weekend," Baker said.
Bobby Dee will take on the older horses when contesting the Rating 82 BCD Group 2200 at tomorrow's Waikato meeting with Craig Grylls to ride him from barrier 12.