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Rae chasing local spoils at Ruakaka

3 minute read

Ruakaka’s drier climate will play a key role in winter racing in the coming months, and local trainer Kenny Rae is looking forward to competing on his home turf at this Wednesday’s meeting.


"Most of our horses will be racing up here for the next three or four months, there's nothing better than racing on your home track. No travelling for the horses and saves costs for the owners," he said.

Rae, who trains in partnership with daughter Krystal Williams, operates the stable's northern base and among his mid-week contingent is a promising type in Bealey Valley.

The Shamexpress filly has produced a second and third-placed efforts from as many starts and will step out in the Windsor Park Stud silks when contesting the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series (1200m).

"She's been racing very well, her first start we used as a trial and she went well. She's a lovely filly, probably six months away from her peak, but very level-headed," Rae said.

"She'll be out the back with that draw (12) in the running and she probably needs 1400m, but she jars up, so we've taken it very quietly with her. At this stage we'll just leave her at 1200m."

Stablemate Surf Queen  is eligible for the lucrative Pearl Series bonus in the maiden fillies' and mares' event and will have Craig Grylls in the saddle.

"Surf Queen is a bit of an enigma, she won a trial at Ruakaka by about seven-and-a-half lengths and last-start I put down to the rock-hard track at Pukekohe. Her past two runs on wetter tracks were good," Rae said.

"The track's good at the moment and they are watering it, but we would like a bit of rain for her."

Mischief Managed, a placegetter behind Pennyweka in last season's Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), will strike her favoured course on Wednesday in the Rating 65 event over 2100m.

"She's at her peak now and was similar at this time of the year as a three-year-old where she ran third in the Oaks. To be fair though, aside from the winner it wasn't an overly strong field for a Group One," Rae said.

"But, on her work, she should win on Wednesday. She doesn't love a rock-hard track either, but the track is in lovely order, the track manager should be given a 10/10 for the way it's going."

Formerly the perennial bridesmaid,Dancing Dream was straight into the winner's circle in a fresh-state last-start and has finished in the first three at each of her eight starts at Ruakaka. Most notably was the Contributer filly's second placing behind subsequent Group One winner Crocetti in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m).

"She's been placed over 1400m, but she's been placed at just about any distance. She was just about the best maidener in the country until she won, she finished second behind Crocetti at Ruakaka. We just need more stakes races to be run here for her," Rae quipped.

"She's done very well since her win, I was going to run her at Te Rapa in the Cambridge Breeders' Stakes (Gr.3, 1200m) but Jasmine (Fawcett, jockey) and I decided to go to for the easier option in a 1400m with a home track advantage.

"Heart Of Alladin  will line-up in that race as well and he was disappointing last-start at Matamata, both times he's gone there he's hung and not finished off.

"He pulled up well and we've taken the gear off this time, he is a horse with ability and goes okay at Ruakaka. He's just created his own bad luck at the races."

Completing Rae's Ruakaka runners is Tide And Time in the other Rating 65 1400m event sponsored by Porthouse Bar & Eatery, who will have their filly Porthouse Lady running in the Listed Berkley Stud Champagne Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton Park on Saturday.

"Tide And Time has had about 10 days off and we've bought her back in, she's working well and looking good. She went no good on a wet track at Tauranga and Sam Weatherley (jockey) blamed himself the start before and told me he was too patient on her," Rae said.

"The 1400m may test her in a fresh state, and I'll blame myself if it does."

After his local meeting, Rae will travel to Christchurch where Williams handles the South Island-based runners, and juvenile Porthouse Lady is one of several engaged at Riccarton over the weekend, as well as jumping prospect Leitrim Lad (trained by Eamonn Green).

"We just sent Eamonn's horse Leitrim Lad down to Riccarton for some open handicap races, then he'll be getting ready for his jumping career. It's good down there too, once the horses are there, they don't have to go far to get to the races," Rae said.

Stable stalwart The Buffer will also feature in the Avon City Ford Easter Cup (1600m), after he collected an 11th career success at Timaru last Thursday.

"I can only take credit on paper for his win, but I shouldn't, he's Krystal's horse. He'll be in the open mile there on Saturday," Rae said. 

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