Hawke's Bay-owned Donardo scored an emphatic win on the flat at Wanganui on Thursday of last week but his future will be as a jumper, according to Waipukurau trainer Lucy de Lautour.
She now owns the five-year-old gelding with her husband Will after the horse initially started out in the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.
"We've had him about 18 months," de Lautour said this week.
"He'd had a couple if starts on the flat and hadn't shown much so we've given him a second chance.
"He'll have a few more runs on the flat but we actually got him to be a jumper so that's the plan at some stage. He's jumped a few things at home okay and he's only a five-year-old so there is still plenty of time for him."
Donardo was having only his ninth start when he lined up in a 2060m maiden highweight at Wanganui and scored a runaway six-and-three-quarter length win in the hands of jockey Will Gordon.
The Don Eduardo gelding settled fourth last in the early running before Gordon started to improve his position entering the last 1000m. He sprinted quickly to join the leaders, wide out, on the home turn and raced right away over the final stages.
The performance made up for a disappointing eighth by Donardo over 2040m on the same track at his previous start with de Lautour putting that failure down to conditions.
"It was late in the day and the track was a bit too cut up," she said.
Donardo has good bloodlines to back up his ability and was originally passed in for $50,000 at the 2014 Ready To Run Two-year-old sale. His sire Don Eduardo was a son of Zabeel while his dam Devil In Red is an unraced half-sister to Surpassing, who won six races.
Donardo's grandam is Superior Star, who won seven races and was crowned champion four-year-old in Singapore and Malaysia in 2004.
Lucy de Lautour only has a couple of horse in work, with the stable star being Kipkeino. The 10-year-old Sunray gelding is the winner of nine races, six on the flat and three over hurdles and was successful in last year's Hawke's Bay Hurdles.
Kipkeino only managed fifth in this year's Hawke's Bay feature, run two weeks ago, but de Lautour said the horse has improved a lot since and will line up in tomorrow's $75,000 Wellington Hurdles, where the extra distance and expected very heavy track conditions should suit him.
HB man joins James in training
Hawke's Bay-born Robert Wellwood will be promoted to a training partnership with Cambridge-based Roger James in the new racing season, which begins on August 1.
Wellwood, 23, has been working for the James stable for close to two years and is the current racing manager.
James, who has had the likes of Ross Taylor, Lance Noble and Leanne Bertling in successful training partnerships in the past, says Wellwood has a passion for the racing industry and is a very good people's person.
James, who has trained over 1000 winners and nearly 30 Group 1 winners across Australasia including Silent Achiever and Zonda, is keen to pass on his knowledge to the future generation.
"Rob's a very good horseman and I'm proud to bring him into partnership," he said. "It's not an easy game and I'm happy to give the younger people a chance."
Robert Wellwood is a son of Hawke's Bay lawyer Margaret Wellwood. He attended Twyford Primary School and then Lindisfarne College before going on to Waikato University where he completed a Bachelor of Business Analysis, majoring in finance.
He started riding horses when he was four years old and went on to be a successful equestrian competitor, first at pony club and then at Grand Prix level.
His interest in thoroughbreds was also sparked at an early age.
"My grandfather has been a member of the Hawke's Bay Racing Club for a long time and I used to watch the racing with him," Wellwood said.
"As a kid I had huge aspirations of being a top jockey, but my dream was shattered pretty early on when I passed the six-foot mark as an early teen."
Wellwood subsequently enjoyed stints at Windsor Park Stud and at Lime Country Thoroughbreds, then based in the Hawke's Bay. While at university he also rode trackwork for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike.
"After graduating, I struck it lucky with Roger," he said. "I started with him in December 2016 and he's willing to pass on his knowledge. Hopefully, it's going to be the start of a good career."
Wellwood has become a familiar figure at New Zealand race meetings and also gained overseas experience this season when he accompanied the James-trained pair of Von Tunzelman and Sherrif on their Australian campaigns.
Ishinktaatledo adds win
Ishinktaatledo, a mare co-bred by Hawke's Bay Racing chief executive officer Andrew Castles, brought up her third win and her first in the South Island with a dominant performance at Ashburton on Wednesday of last week.
The Shinko King five-year-old was having her third start since being transferred to the Riccarton stable of Les and Richard Didham and her one-and-a-half length victory in a 1200m Rating 65 race followed fourth placings at Timaru and Riccarton last month.
Ishinktaatledo was bred by Castles in partnership with New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock, Christchurch-based Dean McKenzie and Auckland men Gary Milne and Paul Baker.
The five raced the horse originally from Sharrock's stable and she won them two races in a row in the spring of 2016, the first being a maiden over 1400m at New Plymouth and the second over 1200m at Awapuni. They have now leased the mare out to a 13-member syndicate in the South Island.
Ishinktaatledo is out of the Faltaat mare Taatledoya, who was the winner of two races before an injury ended her career on the track. Her dam was the Defensive Play mare The Gifted Shifta, who won five races and recorded a second in the Listed Marton Cup (2200m) and third in the Group 1 Wellington Cup (3200m) in 2000.
Thatstheticket, another of Taatledoya's progeny, was a winner over 1600m at Trentham in April 2016 and was then transferred to Brett Scott's stable in Victoria. He has been renamed Hammerstein in Australia and has gone on to win another two races there.
Castles and his partners are still breeding from Taatledoya. They have an unraced three-old gelding by Zed out of the mare and a rising three-year-old filly by Road To Rock that is expected to come into work in the spring. The mare has also produced a weanling colt by The Bold One and is now back in foal to that stallion.
Hastings races Thursday
The last Hastings race meeting of the season is set down for next Thursday, July 19, and a friends and family day is planned, with free admission on course and free entry to the Members' Stand.
There will be packages available of food and beverages for groups of any size and patrons will also be allowed BYO beverages on the public lawn area and public grandstand. This will be limited to six bottles of beer or one bottle of wine per person.
The gates will open at 11am, with the first race timed for 12.27pm and the last at 3.57pm, although these times may change if additional races are programmed.
Horse of the Year finalists
The strength of New Zealand's two leading stables is illustrated by the first batch of finalists for the 2018 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for Jumper of the Year to be determined later this month.
Half of the 22 flat finalists are trained by either the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman or the Te Akau team of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.
All finalists are eligible for the Horse of the Year title, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday, August 26.
Baker and Forsman, who have established a record tally in the trainers' premiership this term, prepare all four finalists in the middle-distance category – reigning Horse of the Year Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L'Amour and Saint Emilion – and will also be represented by Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance and Sydney Cup placegetter Zacada.
The Group I-winning juveniles Avantage and Sword Of Osman give Autridge and Richards a strong presence in the two-year-old category and the stable will also be represented by Gingernuts and the three-year-olds Embellish and Age of Fire.
Gingernuts is a finalist in the sprinter-miler category, which has been reintroduced this year.
The finalists are:
Champion Two-Year-Old: Avantage, Melt, Spanish Whisper, Sword Of Osman.
Champion Three-Year-Old: Age Of Fire, Dijon Bleu, Embellish, Savvy Coup, Scott Base, Vin De Dance.
Sprinter-Miler (up to 1600m): Close Up, Gingernuts, Kawi, Start Wondering.
Champion Middle Distance (1601m-2200m): Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L'Amour, Saint Emilion.
0Champion stayer (2201m and further): Charles Road, Five To Midnight, Ladies First, Zacada.