The time-honoured Hawke's Bay Cup on April 13 will again be the major autumn goal for Hastings-trained Hunta Pence.
The No Excuse needed 6-year-old showed he is right on target for the Hastings feature with a game win over 1600m at Trentham last Saturday and is likely to have one more start before then.
Hunta Pence contested last year's Listed Royston Hospital Hawke's Bay Cup, finishing third behind Richie McHorse and Our Abbadean. He was a five race winner then and has since added another two victories and taken his stake earnings to more than $126,000.
Hastings trainer Patrick Campbell owns a 50 per cent shareholding in Hunta Pence with the other 50 per cent divided among six other people - Lindsay McIntosh, Dean Smith and Mike and Wendy Timmins from Hastings, Shane Govsky (Napier) and Ashburton-based Norm Stewart.
For Mike and Wendy Timmins and Shane Govsky it is their first venture into racehorse ownership while McIntosh and Stewart have had shares in several horses as has Smith, who also held a trainer's licence for several years.
Only four horses contested the $35,000 Open 1600m at Trentham last Saturday and Hunta Pence led practically all the way in the hands of apprentice jockey Danielle Hirini.
Race favourite and Group 1 place getter Hiflyer looked to have the measure of the Hastings galloper when he mounted a challenge in the final 300m but the latter fought back gamely to score by half a length.
Hirini was having her third race-ride on the chestnut, following a second in the Wanganui Cup last December and a fifth in the Manawatu Cup.
"He just jumped to the lead and I let him do what he wanted," a happy Hirini said.
Trainer Patrick Campbell said it helped that Hunta Pence was coming off a last start win over 1900m at Wairoa as it made him hard fit to run out a strong 1600m at Trentham.
Campbell said the horse is now likely to contest the Group 2 $100,000 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) on March 30 as a final lead up lead up to the Hawke's Bay Cup (2200m).
Campbell would dearly love to win his home town cup after three second placings in the past. In 1979 Tarlton, bred and part-owned by his father Felix Campbell and ridden by his then stable apprentice Jim Cassidy, went down by only a short head behind the Noel Eales-trained Lone Hand, ridden by Des Harris.
Nine years later Campbell again had to settle for a close second when his charge Lagerfeld, ridden by David Walsh, went down by a neck behind the Laurie Laxon-trained Finezza Belle, who was steered to victory by Tony Allan.
Campbell thought he finally had the horse to give him a Hawke's Bay Cup victory in 1993 when he saddled up the talented stayer Val d'Arno, with Phillip Mercer aboard.
But he was again denied success when the Dave and Paul O'Sullivan-trained Surfers Paradise, ridden by Jim Walker, got up to beat him by a length.
Campbell has tried to win the Hawke's Bay Cup seven times.
He also picked up a third with Royal Jazz in 2010, while Acraman finished 15th in 1980 and Claymore Boy ninth in 1984.
Andrew makes winning return on Trentham track
Palmerston North apprentice jockey Holly Andrew buried the demons that have haunted her for almost 12 months when she piloted Hastings-trained On Show to an all the way win in the 1000m 2-year-old race at Trentham last Saturday.
The 28-year-old's victory came one week short of a year from the day she was badly injured in a fall during the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) on the same track.
She suffered a broken and badly damaged shoulder as well as severe rib injuries when Bronsteel clipped heels and fell 400m from the finish of the 1600m feature.
Courage and determination are something Andrew has in spades and, after numerous operations and months of rehabilitation, she finally resumed race-riding a fortnight ago.
She recorded a third aboard Likageesix at Awapuni on March 1 and followed that up with minor placings on Tennessee Rose, Royal Inn and Lady Verawood at Otaki last Friday.
But to finally get another riding success aboard On Show last Saturday was like a dream come true for the hard working apprentice.
"It's good to be back," a beaming Andrew said after dismounting from On Show.
"There have definitely been some lows but today showed there are highs too.
"It's been hard work. I've had to work on my weight because I'm not a natural lightweight and just trying to get connections, and get rides back, has probably been the hardest part."
Andrew has suffered numerous broken bones in falls, but her most serious injuries were the result of a car accident in 2013.
She broke both femurs, smashed both knees, and her left ankle and right foot were broken.
The muscles and fat were pulled off her lower left calf and she had 20 stitches in a head wound.
On Show is prepared by Hastings trainer John Bary who has been one of Andrew's greatest supporters so she was delighted her comeback win was on one of his horses.
On Show was making her race debut in the 1000m event but had impressed when winning a 750m jumpout at Hastings in January and then finished second in an 850m Foxton trial on February 12.
Andrew bounced the Showcasing filly out quickly from the barrier to take an early lead and they were never headed, crossing the line a length clear of Curve, with third placed Regal Reward another 3 lengths back.
Bary said the stable has always had a lot of time for On Show, saying she had shown a lot of speed in jumpouts and in her barrier trial.
She was a $75,000 purchase from last November's Ready To Run sale and Bary and his racing manager, Mike Sanders, then set up a syndicate to race the filly.
"It's a big syndicate and most of them are here on track today," Bary said.
Sanders manages the Surf's Up Syndicate with the members being Doug Callaghan and Richard Koorey from Hastings, Ian McLean and Tony Clark (Havelock North), Dave Whittington (Napier), Neil and Rayleen Whitmore (Wairoa), Barry and Leith Wrenn (Dannevirke), Michael Phillips (Masterton), John and Thelma Glasgow (Rotorua), Craig Smith and Adrian Berry (Palmerston North), Aidin Dennis (Tauranga), John Knox, Paul Lamb and Tim Mitchell (Wellington), Mike Fitzgerald and Kevin Parker (Waikanae), Culham Hardy and Kristen Whittington (Petone), Mark Hardy (Lower Hutt) and Phillip Parker (Queensland).
Bary said On Show will now go out for a spell and be brought back for early 3-year-old races in the new season.
Cassidy injured in car smash
Hall of Fame Kiwi jockey Jim Cassidy has revealed how close he came to death after being involved in a horror head-on car accident in Australia.
Cassidy, 53, suffered bleeding on the brain and bruising to his body last Saturday after a car allegedly veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the retired hoop's trusted Nissan X-Trail while taking a corner in wet conditions.
The accident occurred not far from Lynwood Country Club in Sydney where Cassidy had that afternoon played golf and watched The Autumn Sun's dramatic win in the Randwick Guineas.
"I thought I was dead," Cassidy said this week.
"I don't know how I got out of it the way I did but I did.
"We were going around a corner. The other bloke came to the corner, I could see him, I was 50 metres away. All of a sudden, he went bang into my windscreen. He lost control on the wet road and just hit me head on. I had nowhere to go. If I went to the left, I would've hit a tree."
Cassidy was rushed by ambulance to hospital where he remained until he was discharged on Tuesday.
"I've got a sore head and a sore body but I'm blessed," he said.
"I had a little bit of bleeding on the brain but that's stopped, according to the neurosurgeons. My head is quite big. My head smashed into the driver's side window.
"I'm just very thankful that I had a seat belt on and the airbag worked. Very, very lucky boy."
One of the sport's greatest jockeys before retiring in 2015, Cassidy suffered numerous race falls and injuries throughout his illustrious riding career but said he would rather fall off a horse any day than experience what happened last Saturday.
Hastings pair headed for stakes races
The Hastings training partnership of Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen continued their good run in 2019 with a brace of wins at the Otaki meeting last Friday.
Mohaka capped off minor placings in stakes races with a dominant 2 length win in a 1200m maiden race while Atlanta Peach made it two wins from only five starts with another commanding 2-1/2 length victory in a Rating 65 race over 1600m.
The Lowry/Cullen partnership has now produced 17 winners this season and six of them have come since New Year's Day.
Mohaka's win will now see her head south in search of more black type.
The Nadeem filly finished third in two Listed stakes races earlier this season, the Wanganui Guineas (1340m) and Zacinto Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton and her connections now intend starting her in another two Listed races at Riccarton next month.
"She'll have a jumpout at Waipukurau on March 29 and then run in the $50,000 Air Freight Stakes over 1600 metres on April 6 and, a week later, in the $50,000 NZ Bloodstock Warstep Stakes over 2000 metres," co-trainer Guy Lowry said.
Atlantic Peach is also likely to tackle a stakes race within the next month.
Lowry said the Bullbars 4-year-old will now contest a Rating 72 race over 1600m at Tauherenikau on March 24 as a lead up to the Group 3 $70,000 Manawatu Breeders Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni on April 5.