"He got one for good attendance," Hastings trainer John Bary quipped after Hugo The Boss led all the way for a dominant length victory in a Rating 65 race over 1200m at Waipukurau on Sunday.
Hugo The Boss was recording his fourth success but his first since he took out a Rating 65 event over 1000m at Tauherenikau last January. In the interim he had nine starts for a second, a third and two fourths.
"He's been pretty honest but just needed to get another win to get his confidence back and he got that today," Bary said.
"Hopefully that will be a start of better things."
Apprentice jockey Madan Singh took the Stratum 5-year-old straight to the front from the number one barrier and the gelding maintained a strong gallop to the line to win by a length.
The race resulted in a Hawke's Bay-trained quinella with Pep Torque, prepared by Waipukurau's Kirsty Lawrence, finishing second.
Bary's racing manager Mike Sanders said on Tuesday that Hugo The Boss has come through the win in tremendous order and he and Bary were now mulling over where the horse will start next.
"He could go to Awapuni on December 22 for a Rating 72 1200 or we might wait until Hawke's Bay on New Year's Day and line him up in the Open 1200 that day as it usually gets a weak field," Sanders said.
Hugo The Boss was a $100,000 purchase by John Bary from the 2015 Karaka yearling sales.
The horse is now raced by the Best Dressed Syndicate of which Bary is a shareholder.
The other members are his Hastings-based mother Ann, Alan and Paula Keall and Laurie Parker from Taradale, Innes Nesbitt (Hastings), Narendra Balia and Blair and Denise Martin (Auckland), Gavin Dunnett (Christchurch), Lawrie Bolton (Tauranga) and Heath Newton, who lives in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Hugo The Boss is out of the Zabeel mare Dressed that was a winner over 1600m in Australia.
He also comes from the family of Virage De Fortune, who won eight races including the Group 1 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes in Sydney.
Akela Belle kicks a goal for HB owners
A Hawke's Bay syndicate that kicked many goals as individuals on the soccer field has been quietly achieving the same success as a united group on the racetrack.
The Hawke's Bay Footy Boys Syndicate, a group of guys who are former-players and members of the Napier City Rovers Football Club, are shareholders in last Sunday's Waipukurau winner Akela Belle and were also involved in the good performer Our Gazza.
Akela Belle broke through for a maiden victory in a 2200m maiden event at Waipukurau in what was her second run over a middle distance.
The Mastercraftsman mare, trained at Awapuni by Lisa Latta, was assisted in her success by a perfect ride from top woman jockey Lisa Allpress.
She settled the mare back third last in the early stages of the race and bided her time before starting to improve starting the last 700m.
Akela Belle gathered momentum coming down the hill to quickly join the leaders swinging into the home straight. She then set down for a tussle with Cape Ceilidh over the final 300m before getting her head in front on the line.
Akela Belle was having her fifth start, with her previous best placing being a last start fifth over 2100m at Hastings last month.
She is out of the Al Akbar mare Akela, who was the winner of six races up to 1400m and finished second in the Group 3 Fayette Park Stakes (1400m) at Hawera.
The mare is raced on lease by a large group of people with the 16-member Hawke's Bay Footy Boys Syndicate having a 25 per cent share.
The syndicate is managed by Napier-based Heath Caldwell with the other members being Dave Caldwell, Leon Birnie, Perry Cotton, Stuart James, Ian Gearey, David Gearey, Richard Gearey, Mike Daly, Stu Wilson, Russell Booth, David Winson, Steve Clark, Simon Pain, Robbie Parker and Dean Johnston.
The Hawke's Bay Footy Boys Syndicate also had a shareholding in Our Gazza, that recorded 10 wins from the Lisa Latta stable including one over hurdles.
Akela Belle is expected to start next in a Rating 65 race over 2100m at Hastings on New Year's Day.
Trainers' bonus to Auret
Marton-based trainer Fraser Auret left the Waipukurau racecourse last Sunday $7500 richer.
The club put up a $7500 prize for any trainer who could produce three winners over the eight race programme and Auret managed to snare the prize when Dashper led all the way for a dominant victory in the final event.
Auret had also taken out race three with Not Santa and the feature race at the meeting, the Leopard Hotel Xmas Cup, with Commanding Prince.
Melody Belle pleases in trial
Triple Group 1 winner Melody Belle pleased her connections when winning a 1000m trial at Te Aroha on Tuesday.
It was the second trial this preparation for the 4-year-old daughter of Commands that was freshened after an undefeated spring campaign, where she won the Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) fresh-up at Te Rapa, followed by Group 1 successes in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings.
"We were pleased with how she trialled at Matamata, and she'd trained on well since then," trainer Jamie Richards said.
"She's trialled well again and everything is on track. She did a bit in the trial, and they ran time, but she had a blow and that will tighten her up nicely."
Melody Belle will be set for more elite level targets this season, with the Group 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's day the first on her hit-list.
"She's a bigger, stronger mare now and handling her work really well," Richards said.
Mh2>Magnum primed for return
Former Singapore galloper Magnum had his spring campaign cut short through injury, but will make a return to racing in the Group 3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa tomorrow.
The Lauren Brennan-trained gelding, part-owned by Havelock North's Jason Fleming, was in fine form during the early spring recording a fresh-up win at Ruakaka in September before running third behind Te Akau Shark in the Group 3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings in October.
However he punctured the sole of his hoof during that last-start effort and his connections had to cut short the rest of their spring racing plans with the six-year-old.
"He won his first start at Ruakaka over 1200m then going into the Red Badge Sprint, we were just as happy with him going into that," Brennan said.
"It was just unfortunate that he stood on something in that race and punctured his sole."
Magnum has made a pleasing return for Brennan, winning a 1000m trial at Matamata two weeks ago.
"I was very happy with the trial, it was his first run in nearly two months," Brennan said.
The son of Per Incanto could be in for a lucrative summer, with the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day and the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 19 on his radar.
Media Sensation eyes more riches
Group 1-winning filly Media Sensation will head to Ellerslie on Sunday for an exhibition gallop ahead of her next black-type assignment at the same venue on Boxing Day.
The Peter and Dawn Williams-trained runner has pleased her connections since her victory in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) win last month and is set to line-up in the Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on December 26.
"I couldn't be more happier with her. She has come through her last race perfectly. She hasn't missed a beat since she has been back home," Peter Williams said.
Waller nominated for Halberg Award
Expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller has been nominated for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year at February's 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards in Auckland.
The Hall of Fame trainer, who is among 14 nominees for the award, has won the last seven trainers' premierships in his adopted home of New South Wales and has risen to prominence of late through the deeds of wonder mare, Winx.
The darling of Australian turf has won 29 consecutive races, 22 of those at Group 1 level, including four Cox Plates (2040m).
Waller was honoured by his compatriots earlier this year when he was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.
The nominations for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year include: Allan Bunting (rugby), Chris Waller (horse racing), Clark Laidlaw (rugby), Dale Stevenson (athletics), Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts), Jason Pocock (surf life saving), Jeremy McColl (athletics), Joe Schmidt (rugby), Kiwi Campbell (waka ama), Leon Birnie (football), Marcelo Lopes (mixed martial arts), Raylene Bates MNZM (para athletics) and Roly Crichton (para swimming).