Cuddle tilt sits high on agenda

Manawatu Racing Club president Graeme Martin believes he was robbed of a Cuddle Stakes victory at Trentham last year, and wants to put the record straight.

His mare Rumour Has It Now (Traditionally-Talk Talk) finished an unlucky fourth to She Rules and Royal Flight in the race last October, and the 2011 renewal next Labour weekend is high on the priority list.

"It's still a couple of months away, but that's a long-range target at this stage," Martin said yesterday.

Rumour Has It Now, trained at Awapuni by former jockey Tracy Collis, returned to winning form at Otaki (r80 mile) last Sunday in the hands of Jonathan Riddell.

It completed an afternoon double for Collis and Martin, who earlier combined with Al Akbar gelding The Last Al (Opie Bosson) to take out the maiden mile.

Martin, who bred both horses, races Rumour Has It Now on his own account, but The Last Al is raced on lease by the Grand Oaks Syndicate, which Martin manages. His fellow owners include Manawatu Racing Club vice-president Paul Humphries and committeeman Craig Sheridan.

Martin was delighted to see Rumour Has It Now back in the winners' circle, and rapt for Collis, who started out as his private trainer.

The Collis horses are on a roll because it was the stable's fourth winner in just over a month.

She was successful with Dorian (by Spartacus) at Awapuni on July 9, Kennys Chance (by Keeninsky) at Otaki on July 30 and has followed up with The Last Al and Rumour Has It Now last Sunday.

Rumour Has It Now has not been without her problems, biggest of which was a wind operation last year.

"She's had niggling foot problems, which have hindered her limited racing career (17 starts) as well, but let's hope that's all behind her," Martin said.

On her way to the Cuddle Stakes in October, Rumour Has It Now is likely to have a tilt at the Group 3 Merial Ancare Metric Mile at Awapuni on September 10.

"My old horse Top O The Straight (by Kinjite) won nine races, including the (Listed) Gallagher Group Marton 1600 in May, 2001, but was only third to Cheiron and The Blazer in the 1999 Merial Mile.

"It would be fantastic if this mare could go one better, but we've got to get into the field first," he said.

Rumour Has It Now is the fourth foal from Lord Ballina mare Talk Talk (2 wins), who was Group placed as a two-year-old in the 1992 Matamata Breeders' Stakes over 1200 metres, won by Our Tristalight.

The start before, Talk Talk finished third to My Marilyn and Lady Madonna in the Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at Trentham. Martin bought her at auction in foal to Prized.

That filly was sold and raced as She Surprized Me, paying a dividend twice in just three career starts.

Martin has high hopes for How Do You Do (by Howbaddouwantit), a half-sister to Rumour Has It Now, and also raced by the Grand Oaks Syndicate.

"She's been to the races just once, finishing fifth in May this year, but bowed a tendon, and will not race again until next year," Martin said.

He is also still breeding from The Last Al's dam Black Limoge (by Kaapstad) and has a Howbaddouwantit two-year-old out of the mare in work with Collis at Awapuni.

"I have a Bachelor Duke yearling out of her, and unfortunately she has slipped to the same sire."

Manawatu Standard