Many very tall people walk with a slightly stooped stance.

Rudy Liefting, well, tall enough so you wouldn't let him lead your yearling into the Karaka sale ring for fear of making it look small, walks along sometimes looking at the ground.

If you think he's away dreaming, you'd be wrong. The lanky Pukekohe trainer ticks over in the mind department better than most.

A decade back when Liefting first appeared on the scene with tiny mare Just A Tad he was considered by some as eccentric. When the little filly won the 1000 Guineas, New Zealand Oaks and finished second in the Oaks in Sydney that changed slightly.


After all, we could all get lucky with the one right horse, right.

Perhaps, but subsequent events have changed that dynamic totally in this case.

Liefting sent three horses to the races last weekend, winning a $25,000 race at Rotorua with A Tad Leica, a $30,000 event at New Plymouth with Joey Jonz and Karen Iris was narrowly beaten into second at Rotorua.

That's a strike rate from hell.

To show his versatility, Liefting takes a pair of horses to Te Rapa today. Both Glamour Boy (R5, maiden steeples) and Just Got Home are jumpers and he is a live chance to take the $50,000 Porritt Sand Waikato Hurdles. If the forecast rain for today arrives, Just Got Home poses a huge threat to the favourites.

Like all horses from the stable, he will be exceedingly fit and ready for the tough task.

Many of Liefting's horses are mud runners and Liefting shrugs his shoulders. "I guess that's the type of horse I am attracted to and to whom my owners are attracted to."

You won't get Liefting blowing his own trumpet. Any suggestion of previous success you mention is met with a shy smile and an indication it was just luck.

More like a tad of ability.

Te Rapa trainer Stephen Ralph believes a hard-fit Thenamesbond coming in at a favourable position in the weights is capable of winning today's Waikato Hurdles (3200m).

The seven-year-old gelding carried 71kg to finish second on a dead track in the restricted open hurdle leadup to the Waikato Hurdles at Te Rapa a fortnight ago and drops 3kg to 68kg for this weekend's prestige jumps race, a 4kg weight swing over winner San Pedro.

"He goes on top of the ground as well as he goes in a bog but 71kg on top of the ground is a bit easier to carry in testing ground," Ralph said.

"We were backing him up from Matamata three days earlier but that was mainly for mental reasons, to get him in the right head space. Michael [Mitchell] rode him really well and held him up till he really needed him to go and he did botch the last [fence] and with the extra weight he just couldn't pick up and sprint like the other horse.

"He's 4kg better off this weekend and while San Pedro goes well on wet ground too, it really should suit our horse.

"We think we've got him right where he needs to be and we've got the right jockey on him."

Mitchell, the reigning champion jumps jockey and current jumps jockey premiership leader, has ridden Thenamesbond four times previously for two wins and a placing, his wins coming in last year's KS Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie and the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Hunt Cup, when carrying 71kg.

Ralph said Thenamesbond, who goes by the stable name James, would again tackle the KS Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie on June 6 before preparing for a possible tilt at the Wellington Hurdles in July.

He rated last year's runner-up Just Got Home as the horse to beat in the Waikato Hurdles. "He looks the best horse in the race to me," Ralph said.

- Additional reporting NZ Racing Desk