Win keeps Gervasio's career alive
Plans to sack Gervasio after he raced at Riverton yesterday were quickly canned when he won the Euan Shearing Contracting Handicap.
The 5-year-old gelding had been racing below expectations and it appeared the time had come for him to leave Michael Pitman's Christchurch stable. He is part-owned by Palmerston North jockey Hayden Tinsley.
''We had a girl ready to take him [as a hack],'' Pitman said.
Gervasio produced his best form yesterday winning from his stablemates Killa Question and Wiseguy. The Pitman trifecta revived memories of the horseman training the first three home in the 2012 Riverton Cup - Chase The Sun, Sun Valley and Eleanor Coup.
Pitman's apprentice, Parvesh Shaikh, rode Gervasio and picked up another win on stablemate No Emotion in the D T King Transport Southern Champion Hack Handicap.
No Emotion's success meant a lot to Shaikh and Pitman because the gelding is owned by the trainer and the estate of his son Jonny.
''That's special to me because he's the only horse Jonny and I bought together,'' Pitman said.
''It's sad he's not here to see him race.''
Meanwhile, the good news Michael Pitman received at 6:02am yesterday led to Coffee winning nearly six hours later.
The national racing bureau contacted Pitman to tell him Coffee had gained a start after being second emergency for the Forde Auto Services Maiden.
Coffee, a brother to well-performed galloper Milo, finished fourth at Riverton on Saturday. Jockey David Walsh said yesterday's distance of 1200m suited Coffee.
''He didn't see out the 7 [furlongs, 1400m] on Saturday. Back to 1200 was perfect,'' Walsh said.
Ten of Pitman's horses are staying at the Riverton racecourse for southern meetings in the next month.
Sureasyouwereborn, bought as a weanling by Tapanui trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch, broke through for her first win in the Des Branks Barber Shop Maiden. The Blatches were offered the Lucky Unicorn filly by Cambridge breeder Jen Campin, who sends a lot of her stock to the Karaka sales.
''Jen didn't think she was a sales ring type,'' Nikki said of Sureasyouwereborn.
Sureasyouwereborn ran eighth of 13 in the Warstep Stakes at Riccarton on April 12 at her previous starts.
Paddock training is agreeing with Riccarton mare Nolawood, winner of the Riverton Supervalue Handicap.
Nolawood used to be in a loose box at night but since being trained out of the paddock, she has become more competitive.
Before the change, she went close to being finished in Peter Rudkin's stable. He thought she had reached her mark and decided to race her and Dickens at a New Plymouth meeting in February and then she could return to her Matamata owners Dennis and Joy Hopson.
Nolawood gained a reprieve with an eye-catching sixth in a $20,000 rating 65 and jumpers' 2000m at New Plymouth's Pukekura Raceway.
''She came from last, flew home,'' Rudkin said of Nolawood, who won her next start at Omakau on February 28.
Ex-North Islander Areuforreel won the Otautau Tractors Handicap by 12 lengths - the biggest winning margin at the two-day Riverton Easter meeting.
Riverton trainer Kelvin Tyler returned from West Coast meetings in January with an extra horse, Areuforreel.
''She was a giveaway,'' Tyler said.
Wanganui horseman Kevin Myers didn't want to take her back north. Tyler found owners for the Shinko King mare - Allan McIntosh, of Wallacetown, his daughter, Emma, of Otautau, West Otago farmer Frank Petch, Tyler's son, Michael, of Otautau, and the six member Weareforreel Syndicate, of the West Coast.
- The Southland Times