Hastings-trained Louboutin showed she has a penchant for extremely heavy track conditions when recording back-to-back wins at Wanganui on Thursday of last week.
The Jimmy Choux 3-year-old cleared maiden ranks with a 14 length victory over 1600m on a heavy-11 track at Wanganui on June 13 and was almost as dominant, on similar footing, when stepping up to Rating 65 grade over 1350m there last week.
This season's leading jockey Lisa Allpress has been aboard Louboutin in both wins and adopted similar tactics each time. She let the filly settle down towards the tail of the field in the early stages of last week's race before starting a forward move around the field from about the 1000m peg.
Louboutin ranged up to the leaders, very wide out, rounding the home turn and Allpress kept her to the outside of the track in the home straight as she forged clear of the opposition to win by 5-1/4 lengths.
Sophia Magia was the best of those who chased Louboutin in vain, finishing 4 lengths in front of third placed Destiny One who was a further 3-1/2 lengths clear of the rest.
Louboutin is trained at Hastings by John Bary and has now had 11 starts for two wins, two seconds and two thirds.
She is owned by prominent thoroughbred owner-breeder Kevin Hickman and was a $50,000 purchase from the premier session of the 2017 Karaka yearling sales.
She is certainly bred to be good as her dam is the Pentire mare Say No More, whose six wins included two at Group 1 level, the Thorndon Mile at Trentham and New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha.
Louboutin's win took trainer John Bary's tally of wins for the season to 25 and he is once again locked in battle with the partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen for the title of leading Hawke's Bay trainer.
The Lowry/Cullen stable has also produced 25 wins, with their last success being Shez Ekstra winning a Rating 65 race over 2040m at Wanganui on June 1.
Bary has been the top Hawke's Bay trainer for the past two seasons, posting 18 wins in 2016-17 and 17 wins last season. But the Lowry/Cullen stable beat him by one when they chalked up 15 wins in 2015-16.
There are just two and a half weeks of the season remaining, with the last meeting being at Tauranga on July 31.
HB Racing employee wins award
Matthew Halford, a valued employee at the Hastings racecourse when he is not attending Napier Boys' High School, was part of a winning two-member team that has won the national secondary school Young Farmer Of The Year title.
Halford, 17, and close friend Finn Beamish, was presented with the prize last Friday and went one better than last year when the combination finished runner-up in the same competition.
Halford, a son of Hawke's Bay rugby representative Simon Halford, has been a school holiday employee at Hawke's Bay Racing for the past 2-1/2 years, mainly helping out with racecourse and track maintenance.
This is his last year at school and he has ambitions of either going to Lincoln or Canterbury university next year to study for a degree in Ag Commerce.
In the meantime, Halford is likely to take up a position later this year to help with the yearling preparations at Waikato Stud, working on horses being readied for the annual Karaka yearling sales in January.
"I've been offered a job there and I'm pretty keen to go for it," Halford said.
Strong Trentham attack by HB stable
The Hastings stable of Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal will be lining up a strong team at tomorrow's Wellington meeting at Trentham.
Heading the attack will be Perry Mason, who will be looking to score back-to-back wins in the $75,000 Grant Plumbing Wellington Steeplechase (5500m) after an impressive last start victory in the AHD Hawke's Bay Steeples (4800m) at Hastings a fortnight ago.
He will be joined by stablemate Zardetto in tomorrow's feature.
The Nelson/McDougal stable will also saddle up No Tip for the $75,000 Anuka Smoker Wellington Hurdle (3400m) and he looks a definite lightweight chance after winning a maiden hurdle in good style at Trentham two starts back.
Look Out is a promising winter flat performer who will be looking to complete a hat-trick of wins when he contests the $40,000 Parliamentary Handicap while the former northern-trained No Need will be having his fist start for the stable in the maiden hurdle.
Hastings races next Thursday
Hawke's Bay Racing will stage it's final race day of the season at the Hastings track next Thursday.
It is the annual "Stockies Day" race meeting, which is always well supported by stock agents from both Hawke's Bay and surrounding areas.
There will be a nine race programme, with the first timed for 11.52am and the last at 4.22pm and the gates will be open from 11am.
There will be free admission and free access to the Members Stand.
Aussie targets for Avantage
Trainer Jamie Richards is pleased with the way Avantage, part-owned by Waipukurau's Michael Ormsby, has returned after her spell at Te Akau Stud and is excited about her prospects for the spring.
"She's coming up really well," Richards said. "She spelled well at Te Akau Stud after Sydney. She is not quite as forward as Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark, but she will trial at the end of July. She will have a couple of trials and then we will work it out from there.
"Whether she has a run in New Zealand as a lead-in to going to Melbourne or Sydney, we'll just see how she trials."
Richards admitted the $7.5 million prize-money on offer for the inaugural Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2 is a big incentive to head to Sydney.
"There are a lot of nice fillies and mares races for her in Melbourne and there is also a very big carrot in Sydney now with the Golden Eagle," he added.
"I certainly believe she can be competitive in whatever she steps out in."
Helena Baby headed to Hong Kong
Helena Baby, the latest winter star on the New Zealand racing scene, is expected to have just one more race in this country before continuing his career in Hong Kong.
The Guillotine 4-year-old completed four straight wins when taking out a $30,000 Rating 82 race over 1400m at Te Rapa last Saturday and has not finished further back than second from six starts.
"This is a group one horse, I have no doubts about that," says his Cambridge trainer John Bell. "But we won't get to see that here."
"He'll go to the Opunake Cup now but then he has to go to Hong Kong unfortunately.
"His owner wants him up there to replace another horse and, while I would love to keep him here, it is hard to argue with his logic."
The Listed $65,000 Opunake Cup (1400m) is run at New Plymouth on July 20 and is a handicap event so Helena Baby should get into that race on a reasonably light weight.
Helena Baby was bought out of the paddock from Windsor Park Stud and is owned by two Hong Kong-based men, C Y Lee and Tang Hoi Lun. He only started racing, as a 4-year-old, in March this year.
"He's needed time and if you give them time, they will reward you," Bell added.
After recording consecutive second placings over 1200m at Matamata in his first two starts he broke through for a maiden victory over 1400m at Rotorua in April. He then won again over 1400m at Rotorua in May before taking out a Rating 72 race over 1400m at Ellerslie last month.
Australian campaign for Volpe Veloce
A potential spring campaign in Sydney awaits class mare Volpe Veloce as she eases her way back to racing trim for the new season.
The 2018 Group 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) winner is currently in pre-training before returning to the stable of Matamata trainer Graham Richardson for her 6-year-old season.
Richardson, who is back to training on his own after his partnership with former Hawke's Bay Racing employee Gavin Parker ended on amicable terms, is looking forward to having his star back in the fold as he prepares a mainly young team for 2019/20.
"Volpe Veloce is doing well in pre-training and I'm expecting she will be back with me in a fortnight or so," Richardson said.
"We are currently looking at the options we have for her and at present we are leaning to taking her to Sydney for the spring.
"There are so many options available for her over there, particularly in fillies and mares races, that I think that is where she will be best placed."