Innovation gives Manning and Karreman another stake-race success
The Seachange crew was back in stakes-winning mode when Innovation graduated to Listed company with a tradesman-like win at Tauranga on Saturday.
Rick Williams, the racing manager for Queensland breeder-owner Dick Karreman, noted that Innovation's win was the first stakes success for Karreman's The Oaks Stud out of Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning's stable since seven-time Gr I winner Seachange.
Manning guided Cape Cross mare Seachange to all 14 of her wins, twice sealing horse of the year honours with her in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Innovation isn't in the same class as Seachange but she capped a rapid rise to stakes company with her fourth straight in Saturday's Listed Tauranga Classic.
"They don't win four in a row without having their share of ability,'' Williams said yesterday.
"We asked a fair bit of her yesterday. She was stepping up to stakes company for the first time, it was her first go at weight-for-age and it was a pretty testing heavy track.
"But she did it well in the end. She's got a fair bit of talent and that wasn't a bad field.''
Saturday's win has convinced Williams that Innovation is worthy of a tilt at the Gr III $100,000 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 4.
It's a race that usually attracts the cream of New Zealand's winter gallopers but Innovation is likely to be well placed in the weights, back in handicap company after Saturday's first venture in weight-for-age company.
"We wouldn't usually run her in weight-for-age company yet but she was in form and she deserved her chance, though we'd have been much happier running against those mares in a handicap,'' Williams said.
'She got the job done so now we maybe look at a race like the Winter Cup for her. It's $100,000 and should be a nice race for her, though we just hope we don't get punished to much in the ratings for winning a Listed race yesterday.''
Keeper three-year-old filly Innovation was slowly away and was forced to settle in the last three in running for jockey Jason Collett before she improved wide 650m from home, making her winning run down the outside fence.
She scored by a length from Rememba Howe, with Happyto Keepa a long head back in third, the same finishing position as her dam My Happiness in the same race in 2002.
"She took a little while to find her feet, which surprised me,'' Collett said.
"I felt I'd be just in behind midfield, but they went hard enough early and I got on the back of the right horses, Nicole Amy and Art Beat, and they dragged me into it. She's not the biggest filly but it's big of her to do this.''
Manning's initial brief was to prepare Innovation for the Gr I New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March, so to have his filly winning a weight-for-age Listed sprint three months later was a meritorious training feat.
"She's been a good filly right through,'' he said.
"She was getting ready for the Oaks earlier in the season and she hasn't had a break. We backed off her and freshened her, but she's tough and she's just kept going.
"Being owned by a stud, this is what you aim for, so it's huge. This race came up when she'd won those three mile [1600m] races in a row and we talked about it and thought even with the testing ground, being a filly it's worth having a crack.''
Meanwhile, Te Awamutu trainer Richard Otto is considering a tilt at the Listed $80,000 Taumarunui Cup (2100m) with Ourforeignminister, who returned to winning form at Tauranga on Saturday.
The Dubai Destination five-year-old gelding went into the race with five duck eggs in his formline but in the hands of apprentice jockey Chris Dell, he dominated his rivals to win the $30,000 Gartshore Construction 1600.
"I was pretty confident we had him right,'' Otto said afterwards.
"It's the old story - if you've got them right they can perform and hopefully he can carry on with it now. He won that Group race [Gr III Merial Mile] last year and hopefully we can get him back in that sort of form. He's a nice horse and he tries very hard.''
Otto said Ourforeignminister would have his next start in the $25,000 Te Awamutu Cup (1580m) on July 9 and if he ran out the distance strongly he could step up to middle distance racing in the Taumarunui Cup (2100m) at Te Rapa on July 28.
- © Fairfax NZ News