Jason Rulz will now head to the Invercargill Cup after his scintillating win in the $30,000 Group III Central Otago Cup at Omakau yesterday.
It was a notable first visit to Omakau for his Woodend Beach co-trainer, Greg Hope and part-owner and breeder, Richard Dellaca, of Westport. They also won race nine at Omakau with Ranfurly Rulz, who collected a $3500 harness plus bonus.
''We will wait for the Invercargill Cup so that Ricky [May] can drive him [Jason Rulz)]'' said Hope who trains with his wife, Nina.
The $40,000 race is on January 25.
The $50,000 Northern Southland Cup on January 16 is also available for Jason Rulz but May is committed to Terror To Love.
''We don't underestimate the value of Ricky as a driver,'' Hope said.
He said Jason Rulz had been ''really knocked'' by a hard run in the New Zealand Cup in November. The 5-year-old hinted at a return to winning form when third in the Ashburton Cup on Boxing Day.
Jason Rulz settled sixth in seven-horse field yesterday and he unleashed a brilliant final 200m wide out after giving the leader, Franco Ledger a start of four lengths. Jason Rulz won by half a length from Jimmy Johnstone with three-quarters of a length to River Black and half a length to the favourite Franco Ledger, who settled last and went to the front at the 1200m.
Mr Dellaca races Jason Rulz with Hope and Jason Yang, of Westport. He races Ranfurly Rulz with Hope and the Ranfurly Inn syndicate, of 20 drinking mates.
Mr Dellaca bred both horses. Jason Rulz is a 5-year-old by Courage Under Fire and a half brother to Victoria Rulz, the dam of Ranfurly Rulz.
May had won the Central Otago Cup in 2001 with Flash Tactics.
Shak'n Cullen lowered a nine year old track record when posting his maiden win yesterday.
Shak'n Cullen overcame a second line draw and stormed home from back in the field to return 2.27.8 (1.58.9 mile rate) for 2000m (mobile). The previous open record was 2.28.3 set by Choir Boy in 2005.
The win of Shak'n Cullen at his 14th start followed a good second at Winton on Saturday.
''He has just started to settle and be a racehorse,'' said Gordon Lee, his Wyndham co-trainer.
The 4-year-old, a premier yearling sale buy, is raced by Lee's wife, Betty, Mary Gollan, of Maitland with Doug and Mark Atkinson, of Dunedin, uncle and cousin of Gordon.
Doug Gollan, Mary's husband, had a short lived jubilation after McCovey Cove was first past the post three races late. McCovey Cove who came from last at the 300m veered in towards the finish and checked Holm Three, who finished third. McCovey Cove was relegated to third, Jay Tee promoted to first and Holm Three to second. Holm Three, who tangled near the line was dealt with under the lapped on rule and retained her placing as she had been checked.
McCovey Cove was having his first start after being bought by Mr Gollan and Roddy Paddon, of Otapiri, two weeks ago. They bought the 3-year-old filly from Steven and Ken McRae on the advice of Makarewa trainer, Tony Barron.
The Judicial Control Authority representatives had to view the film of the race in the Trackside Television van as the feed was not available in the stipendiary stewards room.
The meeting was also marred when on-course commentaries were not available for two races.
The 3-year-old trotting filly Zhenya resumed on a winning note when she ran a smart 2.33.2 for 2000m (mobile).
The Phil Williamson-trained Zhenya, who had not raced since she won at Forbury Park in June, led over the last 1200m. Her Upper Hutt owner-breeder, Reg Caldow, was on his first visit to the Omakau course. He had won a race with Galeena on the West Coast circuit. Galeena is trained by his son-in-law, Jim Curtin, who produced Maximan to win a treble, including the Westport and Reefton Cups on the West Coast for Dunedin owner, Russel Neiper and land a $5000 bonus. Curtin had won the bonus with Highview Badlands in 2005.
Williamson produced Springbank Sam, Jag's Invasion and Monnay to fill the first three placings in the main race for trotters when the three horses were driven by his sons, Nathan, Matthew and Brad.
Springbank Sam has now won 14 races and $240,000 in stakes for Wendon owners, Alistair and Denise Smith.
Springbank Sam was having his first race for two and a half months. He was found to have a virus after disappointing at the New Zealand Cup meeting and underwent treatment.
Montecrengle was claimed for $5000 by Neville Cleaver and he will join the Ryal Bush stable of Nathan Williamson. Montecrengle did well for fourth to Rock Of Tara in the race for amateur drivers after receiving a severe check at the 1100m.
- The Southland Times