Mark Todd may not have been at Riccarton on Saturday but he
"could not stop laughing" after watching a video of his horse
Kullu running his rivals ragged in the Metropolitan Handicap.
Todd, the champion New Zealand equestrian, suggested the
horse be sent south to Ngapuke trainers Matt and Mandy Brown
from Stephen McKee.
"Mark and Stephen held the horse in high regard and when Mark
went to England he sent the horse to us as we had trained
another couple for him.
"We took a share in the horse with other friends of Mark who
Todd received a text after the race and has watched a video
of the event.
"Mark just couldn't stop laughing after he saw the video. He
thought it was just great.""Mandy rang David [Walsh] after
Chris Johnson opted not to take the mount [Johnson was later
suspended]. David said he had only one ride [Macka's Back in
the Guineas] at the meeting but said he would accept the
Mandy thought Walsh would ride Kullu well in front and put
pressure on the others.
Kullu opened up a 15-length lead from the 700m. The 6yr-old
maintained a big advantage in the run home and although
running out over the closing stages as he began to tire, kept
on under the urgings of Walsh to win by eight lengths.
John and Mary Hutton, Hanlin and Kate Johnstone, Humphrey and
Debra Rolleston, all of Christchurch, are also in the
ownership of the Elvstroem gelding.
Elvstroem won 10 races from the Tony Vasil stable including
the 2003 Victoria Derby and the 2004 Caulfield Cup.
Matt said the Browns had seldom been as emotional, saying the
way in which the horse desptached a good field would be
He has the New Zealand Cup on his agenda.
"He has come through the race well and has not left an oat."
Walsh said he did not realise how far he was in front. He
said the horse did no work early and only had to sprint over
the concluding stages.
Miss Isle did her New Zealand Cup prospects no harm running
on well late for second.
It is seldom a feature race is won in such a runaway fashion
It recalls the effort of Foglia D'Oro, who in the hands of
Bill Skelton, opened up a huge lead in the 1959 New Zealand
Cup and held on to win by three and a-half lengths when 13-13
in a field of 21.
The Browns also won on Saturday with Veronica Hall, whose
dam, Greta Hall, numbered the Breeders Stakes at Wingatui in
1998 among her five wins.
Mandy rode Greta Hall in trackwork at Rangiora before the
Wingatui win and accompanied the Dave and Paul O'Sullivan
Princess Katie, racing in the blue and gold chequers made
famous by the great galloper, Copper Belt, held on
tenaciously fresh up to win the Pegasus Stakes.
Princess Katie is trained by Kevin Gray who prepared Copper
Belt. It was the only starter for Gray on the day.
The 5yr-old is raced by his son, Stephen, and his wife,
Bridget, who bred the mare.
Princess Katie was ridden by Lisa Allpress, who was
apprenticed to Gray for five years.
Princess Katie is set to back up in the group three Stewards
Handicap on Wednesday with Robert Hannam the rider.
Final Touch enhanced her prospects for the Canterbury
Breeders Stakes on Wednesday when she stormed home to be only
a head back second.
If you are going to win a maiden race then a $20,000 race is
the one to succeed in.
The Paul Richards-trained Our Santana did just that at
Riccarton on Saturday at his second start.
Settled handy to the pace by Leith Innes, the Coats Choice
3yr-old drew clear with Willow Park over the final stages and
held on to win by half a neck.
Our Santana is raced by Bill and Sandra Duell of Mosgiel.
They same connections have Natuzzi, a top prospect for the
rating 85 1400m on Wednesday.
Both horses are by Coats Choice and were purchased out of the
Riccarton stable of Ross Beckett.