NZ Briefs for 22nd October 2020

Polly Grey on Gold hunt; Heavenly Dancer looking to maintain winning run; Hong Kong heroes become Welfare Ambassadors; NZCIS Wellington Cup Country Cup Bonus

Polly Grey on Gold hunt

The Chris Waller-trained Polly Grey  is yet to chalk up a win in Australia since crossing the Tasman earlier this year but will look to set that right in Saturday's Gr.2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).

The former Kylie Fawcett-trained charge has performed well this preparation, finishing in the top five of all but one of her seven starts including a runner-up finish in the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) in July.

Waller indicated the predicted showers would enhance the chances of Polly Grey at Moonee Valley, with the track currently rated a Good4.

"Polly Grey will appreciate a bit of rain, if it does come," he said. "She is fit and ready to run well at the distance and has had the experience around the track previously."

The daughter of Azamour will jump from gate 10 with Jye McNeil to take the ride as the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m) winner looks to add more Australian black-type to her CV.

Heavenly Dancer looking to maintain winning run

Heavenly Dancer will be out to keep his unbeaten record intact when he steps out at Kranji in a Class 4 event on Sunday.

The four-year-old son of Echoes of Heaven won on debut in March and returned in September to make it two wins from two starts.

Trainer Stephen Gray has been mindful not to rush the promising gelding and has freshened him up since his last start.

 "Heavenly Dancer is a nice horse going forward," he said. "I thought of running him in Class 3 but it is not easy and he may not get in.

"So I decided to leave him in Class 4 and I can then get the leading rider (Vlad Duric) That means he will have to carry a big weight (58kgs), which could be an obstacle.

"We'll see how we He has plenty of upside and will be the one to beat, but the weight can also beat him."

A half-brother to Heavenly Dancer will be offered at the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale. The Sweynesse gelding is catalogued as lot 269 and is consigned by CH Bloodstock Ltd.

Hong Kong heroes become Welfare Ambassadors

Dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther and Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Ping Hai Star will add another feather to their cap this season.

The pair, who are living out their retirement at Highden Park near Palmerston North, have become New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Welfare Ambassadors and will start to visit New Zealand race tracks from next Sunday to promote horse welfare post-racing.

"It is a new concept through NZTR," said Libby Bleakley, who owns Highden Park with husband Sam.

"Welfare has become such a big issue and we all need to put it to the forefront when we are breeding and racing these animals."

"They will just be called upon when needed. They will head to their first event next Sunday at the Wanganui racecourse."

Bleakley is excited about the new concept and said it will give the two former stars of the track the opportunity to help grow the profile of the sport.

"It's such a privilege and it wasn't something we were anticipating when we rehomed the boys," Bleakley said.

"These horses love having something to they love having a job. They look after weanlings for us and they go on the truck to keep mares company, and I think they will thrive with this next step."

NZCIS Wellington Cup Country Cup Bonus

With the Gr.3 NZCIS Wellington Cup (3200m) running on January the Wellington Racing Club wishes to embrace other Clubs in what is the biggest event in the Wellington Summer Calendar.

The WRC Committee believe the NZCIS Wellington Cup is an important part of New Zealand racing life and to support this proposition the Committee have decided that each year they will nominate up to three Country Cups within New Zealand to enable the winner to have automatic entry to the $250,000 event.

Criteria will be:

  • 2,200 meters+
  • Country Cup
  • Last winner calibre
  • Likely calibre of qualifying event

For the 2020/2021 season it is proposed to extend automatic entry and no Nominations or Withdrawal fees to the winners of:

  • The Waverley Cup to be run 15 November 2020
  • The Waikouaiti Cup to be run 16 January 2021

 "The NZCIS Wellington Cup is an important iconic race on the NZ Racing Calendar," WRC President Wayne Guppy said.

"We want all New Zealand to continue to enjoy and participate in this great race. This is another way the WRC can make it possible. The move to 30 January also puts the event back where it belongs and opens the door to initiatives of this nature."

Sign up for our free newsletter.

© 2020 Sky Racing World. All rights reserved.