Hastings stables dominated their local meeting last Sunday, winning five of the eight races on the programme.
John Bary saddled up two winners while James Bridge, Fred Pratt and the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen each produced a win apiece.
One of the most popular wins on the day was that of the Fred Pratt-trained Magic Incanto in the 1400m maiden event.
Not only was it the 7-year-old mare's first victory but it was also the first success for her trainer since he saddled up Golan Express to win a 1000m maiden at Tauherenikau in June 2014.
The 61-year-old Pratt, a former successful jumps jockey, has dabbled at training for many years. He was based in Woodville for a start before crossing the Tasman where he spent 20 years training with success in Australia.
He decided to return to New Zealand about eight years ago, first spending time assisting Levin trainer Peter McKenzie before shifting to Hastings, where he is now employed at the local freezing works.
Racing has been in Pratt's blood since he was born, so there was always a desire to continue an involvement in the industry, while also trying to make a living elsewhere. He presently has three horses in work and is one of the first at the Hastings track in the morning to get his horses worked so he can go off to his main job.
"I'd love to get more horses and give up the freezing works but it is hard to get them and it is getting a lot harder," he said.
Magic Incanto was bred by Woodville butcher John Shannon and Wellington's John Fokerd and is raced by Shannon's wife along with several other butchers' wives from around the central districts and other family friends.
Although Magic Incanto is 7, she was having only her 15th start last Sunday and has been plagued by injuries. She had to be late scratched from a race at Waipukurau in March of this year after injuring herself during the float trip from Hastings to the races and also took plenty of skin off when she got tangled up in a fence at one stage.
The mare was having her first start since finishing sixth of eight over 1350m on a heavy track at Whanganui in July but had performed well in jumpouts and turned in an impressive trackwork gallop at Hastings a couple of weeks ago.
Magic Incanto and jockey Leah Hemi led all the way when winning at Hastings last Sunday but Pratt said that was not the plan.
"I thought she'd be a bit fresh and said to Leah to jump her out of the gates and go forward but I didn't expect her lead all the way," Pratt said.
"But she was always travelling well."
Magic Incanto bounced straight to the front and Hemi dictated terms, maintaining a good advantage over the field until the home turn before kicking clear at the top of the straight. The mare kept up a strong run to the line to win by 1-1/4 lengths from Vita Sicilia, with two lengths back to third-placed Unbroken.
Although it was only a maiden win Pratt is confident Magic Incanto will measure up in stronger company and has the $35,000 Open 1400m race at Awapuni on November 23 as a possible target for the mare.
"There is also a $22,500 Rating 65 race over 1600m at Awapuni that day and I've told the owners that could be an easier assignment," Pratt said.
Good training feat
James Bridge started the ball rolling for the five Hastings-trained winners at last Sunday's Hawke's Bay meeting when Resolution scored in the opening event, a 2100m maiden.
The Nom de Jeu 5-year-old was coming off a last start third over 1400m at Woodville on October 24 and it was a good training feat by Bridge to get the horse to step up 700m in distance and win.
Resolution got no favours in the running either. He drew the outside of a 10-horse field and was caught three-wide for the first 600m before rider Jonathan Riddell decided to push on and take up a trailling position behind pacemaker Border Leicester.
The latter tried to put a winning break on the field rounding the home bend and had a three-length advantage at the top of the straight. But Resolution was not to be denied and kept grinding away to get up and win and win by half a neck.
Resolution is owned by James Bridge in partnership with his parents, John and Jackie, and was bought in a private sale from the Fell family's Fairdale Stud in Palmerston North.
He is bred to be a good stayer, being out of the Alleged mare Miss Vita and a half-brother to the 2010 Auckland Cup winner Zavite.
"He definitely appreciated the step up in distance today," James Bridge said.
Motivation very impressive
The John Bary-trained Motivation was arguably the most impressive winner at last Sunday's Hawke's Bay meeting.
The Mastercraftsman 5-year-old came from two lengths last on the home turn to win by a decisive three-quarters of a length in a Rating 65 race over 1300m, stamping himself as a promising stayer in the making.
Motivation had not raced since disappointing when only eighth of 11 over 1600m on the third day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, on October 5, but had shown good ability on the first two days of that carnival, with a second and a fourth over 1400m.
The grey was turned out in prime condition by Bary for last Sunday's assignment and jockey Johnathan Parkes rode the gelding like he was the best horse in the field, dropping him back to last and biding his time until the home turn.
Once in the straight Parkes picked a path between horses and Motivation unleashed a devastating final sprint in the last 200m.
It was the horse's second win from 15 starts but his first since joining the Bary stable after he was formerly prepared by the then partnership of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards at Matamata.
He is owned by his Hunterville-based breeders Christopher and Susanna Grace and is out of the Zabeel mare Tenacity, who was the winner of five races in the South Island.
Bary's racing manager, Mike Sanders, said Motivation is now likely to head to the Wellington meeting on December 7, where he could start in either a Rating 72 race over 1400m or a Rating 82 sprint over 1200m.
Motivation was the second of two winners produced by the Bary stable at Hastings last Sunday. The first was Bucky, who scored an all the way win in a 1200m maiden.
The Power 5-year-old was having his first start since finishing an unlucky seventh over 1200m at Hastings in July but had indicated he was ready for a big fresh up performance when finishing a close second in a 1000m jumpout at Hastings a month ago.
The horse bounced straight to the front from the outset last Sunday and rider Johnathan Parkes was able to dictate the pace, maintaining a good advantage before kicking clear in the home straight.
Race favourite Holsty and Rakuten lodged a challenge to Bucky inside the last 100m but he was able to stave them off and win by a long head.
Bucky is bred to be good as he is out of the former speedy racemare The Lady, who won two Listed stakes races as a 2-year-old and was also placed at Group 3 level. He is owned by his Auckland breeders Ron and Nuala Saunders of Maroal Bloodstock Limited.
Deserved win for Tuigirl
Tuigirl made up for some unlucky runs this campaign with a deserved success in the final event at last Sunday's Hawke's Bay meeting, the Rating 65 race over 1600m.
The Niagara 4-year-old, trained on the Hastings track by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, should have finished a lot closer in each of her previous three starts this campaign. She was blocked for a run 250m from the finish when a fresh up fifth over 1400m at Hastings in August and then got caught wide in the running when eighth over 1800m at Taupō the following month. She then lined up on the last day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, on October 5, where she was again held up in the home straight and never really got clear running in the final stages, finishing sixth.
Jockey Craig Grylls gave Tuigirl every chance in the running last Sunday, positioning the mare in a trailling position behind the pacemaking Platinum Wild Card soon after the start.
Tuigirl was travelling easily coming to the home turn and hit the front soon after straightening. Grylls then kicked her clear and she maintained a strong run to the line to win by three-quarters of a length from The Midnight Shift, who was a head in front of third placed Kinshasa.
Tuigirl was recording her second win from 10 starts, the first coming in a 1600m maiden at Hastings in April this year. She is owned by her Taradale co-breeder Bruce Lumsden and is out of the Kaaptive Edition mare Miss Tui, who won five races in Australia from 800m to 1600m.
Bi-monthly award winner
Hastings woman Christel Jager is the recipient of the bi-monthly Kevin Wood Memorial Trophy for the months of September and October.
The trophy is sponsored by the Hawke's Bay Racehorse Owners Association and is presented to a Hawke's Bay-based owner who has achieved success on the racetrack.
Jager has a small 2.5 per cent share in Cool Aza Beel, who took out the first 2-year-old race of the season at Whanganui on September 7.
The Savabeel colt was turned out for a spell after that debut win but resumed with a trial win over 880m at Te Rapa last month.