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Lord Spencer seeking Waikato Hurdle crown

3 minute read

Wanganui trainer JJ Rayner will head to Te Rapa on Saturday with exciting jumper Lord Spencer to tackle the highly competitive Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m).

LORD SPENCER winning the SPEIGHT'S SUMMIT ULTRA ON TAP 0-1 WIN HURDLES
LORD SPENCER winning the SPEIGHT'S SUMMIT ULTRA ON TAP 0-1 WIN HURDLES Picture: Race Images South

The six-year-old son of Zed has shown a lot of promise in his jumping career to date, winning one and placing in his six of his hurdle starts to date, but he will face his stiffest task this weekend.

He will be met by a small but select field, including last year's Grand National Hurdles (4200m) winner Berry The Cash and Great Northern Hurdle (4200m) victor Nedwin, who will be vying to defend his crown in the Waikato Hurdle.

"Even though it is a small field, it is a very good field," Rayner said. "We have got Stephen Karnicnik back on as Lemmy Douglas opted to ride at Trentham on the flat. Stephen rode him most of last season and knows him well.

"It is a nice field and he is just stepping up to that grade. We are hoping for a nice run.

"He went a really good race last time (runner-up in Manawatu Hurdle), I was really pleased. Hawera (two starts back) really his first go in open company. It is a big ask to step up, there are not too many intermediate hurdles around."

Rayner said Lord Spencer will likely follow the prestige hurdle circuit, with the ultimate aim being a trip to Riccarton in August.

"We will just get through the race and follow the main ones. Our main aim is the Grand National down south, he won there last year in the 0-1 win hurdle, so he obviously likes the track down there," she said.

Meanwhile, Rayner will be keeping a close eye on Trentham while she is in Hamilton with Lord Spencer, as Hacksaw Ridge aims to get his winter campaign back on track in the Baxters Catering 1600.

"I have got my cousin, Paul Belsham, going to Trentham with Hacksaw Ridge for me, so he is back on the job," she said.

"It is quite a tidy field for a 75 rating, but he is really well and is doing things right, and I am expecting a really nice run from him."

Hacksaw Ridge has had three unplaced runs this time in, including a fifth placing in the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m) at Wanganui last start.

"He got held up quite a bit," Rayner said. "He didn't get a lot of room in the straight and we couldn't ride him out. He was still wanting to finish on, so I was really happy with it."

The six-year-old gelding will be ridden by one-kilogram claiming apprentice Ashvin Mudhoo on Saturday from barrier six.

"He goes well for Ashvin and we are hoping his one kilogram claim will help a little bit," Rayner said.

Hacksaw Ridge is also on a path towards Riccarton in August.

"All going well, he will head to Christchurch for the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m)."


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